UNECE is assisting Belarus to better align its innovation policies with national development objectives, with a particular focus on promoting innovation as a way to implement the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda. A Team of experts under the guidance of UNECE undertook a fact-finding mission in Minsk on 14-18 March 2016. Its findings will inform the publication of an Innovation for Sustainable Development Review of this country.
The study, which will benchmark Belarus’ national innovation infrastructure, institutions and policies against international good practice, will build on the findings of an earlier Innovation Performance Review (2011).
Certain firms in Belarus have an impressive record of innovation, which has built on the country’s highly educated labour force and good scientific infrastructure since the time of its independence. However, during recent years productivity has lagged and the economy has faltered as a result of external shocks. Overall, the national innovation system of Belarus has failed to generate sustained broad-based innovative activities in the private sector.
Alexander Shumilin, Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology of the Republic of Belarus, emphasized that “the existing innovation system in Belarus still does not provide incentives to businesses to invest in research and development; and there is a deficit in the commercialization of innovative products. Thus, reforms are in order for the country to benefit from integration into global value chains. Belarus has the advantage that the top leadership of the country has committed to the development of strategies and activities in the innovation sphere.”
The review will identify options to further advance Belarus’ sustainable development priorities, in particular with regards to innovative policies for the diffusion of green technologies. It will also assess progress made since 2011 with regards to reforms in the legal and institutional framework for innovation, transfer of technologies, access to finance, and the role of SMEs in innovation.
This article was first published here.