Statement by Turkey at the Ambassadorial Meeting of the LDCs and Friends of LDCs held on the occasion of the Handover Ceremony for The Managing Director of the Technology Bank

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 04.12.2018
Madam Under-Secretary General,
Mr. Managing-Director,
Distinguished Colleagues,

I am pleased to participate in this meeting on the occasion of the handover ceremony for the Managing Director of the Technology Bank.

I warmly congratulate Mr. Joshua Setipa on his appointment. I believe that his vast experience in trade and economic development will greatly contribute to the advancement of the LDC’s objectives. We look forward to working with him closely and he can count on our continued support to the Technology Bank during his time in Gebze.

I also want to thank Ms. Schroderus-Fox, who played a crucial role as Acting Managing Director of the Bank in the establishment of the Technology Bank and its inauguration on June 4th this year.

Operationalization of the Bank was one of the key elements of the Istanbul Programme of Action. It also marked the fulfillment of the first SDG target (17.8) since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. Science, technology and innovation are key to improving economic performance and social well-being of LDCs.

Frontier technologies present developing countries with leapfrogging opportunities to achieve the SDGs. We have witnessed this in the cases of mobile phones and renewable energy: millions of people in developing countries who had no access to landline telephones or grid electricity until recently, are now using mobile phones and off-grid solar electricity, leaping directly to the most advanced technologies.

However, in spite of these potentials, many developing countries, particularly LDCs face formidable barriers to leapfrogging to frontier technologies. Enabling physical infrastructures is necessary, yet not sufficient. In order to bridge the technology and development divides, fostering development strategies that target both basic infrastructure development and human capital accumulation is crucial. While infrastructure and human capital are necessary preconditions for technological catch-up, their quality and efficacy are largely determined by national innovation systems.

The Technology Bank will promote development and implementation of national and regional STI strategies, strengthen partnerships among STI-related public entities, private sector and other stakeholders.

The Bank will aim to strengthen the capacity of LDCs to develop, integrate and scale-up deployment of technologies and innovations, as well as capacity to manage intellectual property rights issues. Generating homegrown R&D and innovation is key to systematically addressing LDCs’ technology gap in a sustainable manner.

Since its inauguration, the Bank has been focusing on improving access for scientists and researchers to data, publications and STI initiatives in 12 LDCs. In this framework, numerous “Digital Access to Research” workshops have been conducted in these LDCs. These workshops aim to enable researchers, policymakers, educators, documentary information professionals, graduate students, extension specialists and other information professionals to access quality, relevant and timely information from internet. These workshops are organized for the benefit of librarians, lecturers, researchers and students.

Another area the Bank will focus on will be initiating baseline STI reviews and Technology Needs Assessments in Guinea, Haiti, Sudan, Timor-Leste and Uganda.

Distinguished Colleagues,
The Bank will require around 40 million USD per year to finance its activities. In addition to providing a modern and fully equipped office space for the Bank, Turkey has pledged a total of 10 million USD for 5 years and assumed its running costs.

We thank Norway, India, Sudan, Bangladesh and the Philippines for their pledges and contributions. However, the current resources fall dramatically short of what is needed to ensure proper functioning of the Bank.

We call on all friends of LDCs and partners to support the Bank’s activities, not only through financial means, but also by forging partnerships. The Technology Bank is a UN institution. We have a collective and imminent responsibility to make it an effective tool. We hope to see concrete steps in this regard.

Thank you.