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Discussion topic

• Acknowledge the theme, Good Governance and Development in the Knowledge-based Society, and note that all the elements of the statement, knowledge, development and governance, lie along the same continuum and are linked to the growth and stability of any strong society.

• The need to broaden the definitions of knowledge beyond equipment and hardware, megabytes and frequencies, related to technology but foremost, to pay greater attention to applications, services and innovations.

• Recognise that any discussion must take into account the dynamics of presenting and transfer of knowledge, a coalescing of the forces and institutions that will monitor and manage the conversion process of knowledge to development to the point where it impacts on people and the societies of which they are a part.

• In this context, knowledge-sharing becomes increasingly important as we seek to promote greater access to expertise and recorded information to assist in achieving our development goals.

• We must recognise that strong and productive societies will soon become the only bulwark against all the elements which are inimical to human prosperity.

Linkages between the major elements

• We accept the premise that all of the greatest developments and advances made by man have been knowledge-based.

• At some point, a single formula or series of formulae and their application have enabled us to build bridges that can withstand flood waters of a certain magnitude, hold teleconferences with participants from across the world, create and test antiretroviral drugs, design newer and improved MRI machines and laser technologies for surgery and so many other wonderful inventions.

• In fact, for the number of recent inventions and ongoing developments in science, technology, education, engineering, we could spend an entire day merely arguing about which ones have had the more far-reaching effects for our populations and their daily lives. Yet, we must be fair in measuring the extent to which these improvements in our daily lives contribute to the quality of life indices which make societies cohesive and receptive to issues related to good governance and accountability.

Use of knowledge in our societies

• All available resources and information must be targeted at the expansion and development of the services provided in the society, its infrastructure and the innovation of services offered to consumers.

• Development and expansion of productive capacity must not be allowed to destroy the environment but should, through the use of available information and scientific knowledge, be preserved and enhanced for generations to come. Application of appropriate methodologies for maintenance of the watersheds, reefs and protected areas should become a standard operating procedure for countries in the hemisphere.

• In the region, we have been plagued by the setbacks that are experienced annually by natural disasters and we must now seek to share and use the available knowledge towards preparation, mitigation and recovery, searching for the methods and applications we can use to our advantage.

• In other areas, we have to begin to use knowledge, in all its forms and permutations, be it scientific applications, technologies, news and information, to teach and motivate the citizens and those who lead, how best to harness that energy for the greater good of mankind.

The Jamaican experience

• In the face of the rapid global developments, we in Jamaica have long recognised the significant role of science, technology and innovation in creating a knowledge-based society towards increasing global competitiveness and advancing economic and social development.

• One of the greatest challenges facing Jamaica and other countries, is how to keep abreast of new developments while at the same time sustaining the country’s present capacity in science and technology, to deal with critical development issues such as food security, finding alternative sources of energy, climate change and disaster management and mitigation.

• At the sub-regional level, Jamaica participates in the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) established by CARICOM, with the support of organizations such as the World Bank, the OAS, the UNDP and CIDA, aimed at enhancing the region’s competitiveness by connecting the Caribbean to the global pool of knowledge and facilitating greater regional integration.

• The Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) will harness state of the art satellite and internet technologies to provide a virtual learning network, between Caribbean institutions of tertiary education.

Protection of the vulnerable

• We must seek to ensure that our legal systems and regulatory mechanisms are able to provide the vulnerable members of our society, particularly our children, with the requisite protection from those who may not share our value systems and ideals.

• Let us not be mistaken as we move forward in this effort of creating knowledge-based societies, to believe, that these societies are going to be devoid of personal control and responsibility.

• However, we believe, that as the states provide the tools and mechanisms to enhance the lives of the citizens, they must not seek to endanger others through the abdication of important responsibilities such as those of caring and nurturing for the next generation. We must afford them knowledge and access we never had, but with a greater sense of the importance of assuming the attendant responsibility.

• Knowledge in today’s world of global complexities, must cover all the elements, not be confined to facts and figures, but encompass behaviour, attitudes and awareness.

• These will ultimately contribute to making citizens respond to leadership, accept responsibilities associated with being contributors to a greater good, the maintenance of order and the pursuit of peace.


The main lesson which leaders can draw from the discussion of the theme” Good Governance and Development in the Knowledge-based Society” , is that there is no stable civil society in which knowledge does not play its role.

Leaders of the countries in the Organization of American States (OAS) will therefore, have to take the responsibility for our own actions and make the best use of the resources at our disposal, to spur development and facilitate governance, accountability and progress for our citizens.

It is important to remember that safer societies rely on the ability of the leaders in the various sectors to use knowledge to create advantages and bring benefits and enhance welfare and well-being. Therefore, we must all remain committed to bringing about the positive changes we need in the very near future.