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Ministers of Science and Technology Convened by OAS Will Seek to Establish Goals to Improve Countries’ Competitiveness

  November 14, 2011

The use of applied science, technology and innovation to improve competitiveness and achieve prosperity in the countries of the region will be one of the main focal points of the Third Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Science and Technology from the Americas, to be held this Thursday and Friday, November 17 and 18, 2011, in Panama City, with the support of the Organization of American States (OAS).

The meeting has as its objective to make progress in science and technology in the region, by defining a series of goals to be fulfilled by the year 2025. Among them are: to develop in the Americas a culture of innovation based on technology that fosters integration, entrepreneurship and creative thinking; to increase, by at least 50 percent, the number of men and women that graduate from programs in science, technology, engineering and technical education. Furthermore, to substantially improve the study programs in different disciplines; to ensure that all Member States of the OAS have access to infrastructure services of internationally renowned quality; and to strengthen inter-American cooperation in the sector to achieve a more effective and fast-paced technological development in the region.

These goals are the four pillars of the “20/25 Vision,” a proposal prepared by the Government of Panama, host of the meeting, and the OAS Office of Science, Technology and Innovation. The Ministers and High Authorities also are expected to approve the “Draft Plan of Action of Panama,” which facilitates the creation of working groups to achieve progress on the agreed-upon tasks, as well as to establish clear initiatives and cooperation mechanisms that ensure the fulfillment of the already mentioned objectives.

The inaugural session of the Third Ministerial Meeting will be held Thursday the 17th at 9:00 local time (14:00 GMT) with the participation of the Minister in Charge of Foreign Affairs of Panama, Francisco Álvarez de Soto, and the interim OAS Executive Secretary for Integral Development, Jorge Saggiante. Among the participants who have already confirmed their attendance are Ministers and High Authorities from Argentina, Barbados, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, the United States, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Titled, “Translational Science, Technology and Innovation: Knowledge for Competitiveness and Prosperity,” the meeting also will be an opportunity to discuss the progress achieved since the last ministerial meeting in Mexico City in 2008, and to formulate recommendations to the Heads of State and Government for the Sixth Summit of the Americas, to be held in April 2012 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, under the banner of “Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity.”

The document titled, “Towards a Vision 20/25 in Science, Technology and Innovation for the Americas: Hemispheric Cooperation for Competitiveness and Prosperity in a Knowledge Economy,” is a response to a recommendation from the Inter-American Committee on Science and Technology (COMCYT), which during its VI Regular Meeting in September 2010 recognized the importance of focusing on the application of these resources as fundamental factors to promote innovation, competitiveness, growth and prosperity. Since the First Ministerial meeting on Science and Technology in Lima in 2004, the COMCYT has constituted a forum for political dialogue and follow-up to the mandates adopted at these gatherings.

The Office of Science, Technology and Innovation of the OAS is part of the Department of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism in the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development, and its mission is to support the Member States in formulating national development policies and strategies to promote science, technology, engineering, and innovation with the goal of improving competitiveness in the private sector and generating sources of decent work, reducing poverty, and strengthening democratic governance.

More information on this event is available here.

WHAT: Third Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities on Science and Technology

WHEN: Thursday and Friday, November 17 and 18, 2011

WHERE: Hotel Riu Plaza

Panama City, Panama

Reference: E-954/11