UNCTAD, Thailand boost women’s tech savvy to drive growth

UNCTAD, Thailand boost women’s tech savvy to drive growth

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UNCTAD, Thailand boost women’s tech savvy to drive growth
Image by Robert Owen-Wahl from Pixabay
  • UNCTAD and Thailand Science Research and Innovation will train women researchers and entrepreneurs to harness science, technology and innovation for development
  • Thailand set up the model as part of its post-pandemic recovery strategy capitalizing on its biological diversity and cultural richness while promoting sustainable and inclusive growth opportunities
  • The government expects the model to help boost its agriculture and food; medical and wellness; bioenergy, biomaterial and biochemical; tourism and the creative economy industries and boost their combined GDP by 30% in the next five years to 4.4 trillion baht (about US$128.7 billion) 
  • UNCTAD and TSRI will use the partnership to train women researchers and entrepreneurs in developing countries on how to adapt and implement the model in their countries 

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says it has joined forces with Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) to train women entrepreneurs and researchers on the country’s Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) economy model.

Under the partnership, the Thai government put the model in place as part of a post-pandemic recovery strategy to capitalize on Thailand’s biological diversity and cultural richness while promoting more sustainable and inclusive opportunities, UNCTAD said in a press release on March 31.

Using technology and innovation and providing legal and financial support, the model is helping companies boost their competitiveness in four industries: agriculture and food; medical and wellness; bioenergy, biomaterial and biochemical; tourism and the creative economy, the UN agency said.

Over the next five years, the government expects the model to help boost by almost 30% the four industries’ combined GDP, from 3.4 trillion baht (about US$99.5 billion) to 4.4 trillion baht (about $128.7 billion).

Through the partnership, UNCTAD and TSRI will train women researchers and entrepreneurs in developing countries on how to adapt and implement in their countries the concepts of the BCG model.

The two organizations formalized the agreement at the 26th session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) on March 29.

“The Bio-Circular-Green economy model has potential to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development, and we are grateful that Thailand is ready to share their experience on this,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics, during the signing ceremony.

“There is a lot of interest from other developing countries to learn about this innovative model,” Ms. Sirimanne said, adding that the agreement is a follow-up to talks that started in 2022 during the 25th session of the CSTD.

Potential of women to drive sustainability

As part of the first phase of the partnership, the two organizations will train 15 women researchers and entrepreneurs from developing countries on the BCG model. The training workshop is set to take place take place in Bangkok in August 2023, UNCTAD said.

UNCTAD and TSRI will invite potential candidates from CSTD member states in Asia and Africa, working closely with the countries’ permanent missions in Geneva, Switzerland.

Participants will train on best practices in using science, technology and innovation in the four target industries. UNCTAD said successful women entrepreneurs, policymakers and well-known experts from universities and research institutions in Thailand will provide insight and share their experiences on applying technology and innovation in a way that aligns with the model.

“As we look to the future, it is time to focus on approaches to well-being, equality and productivity that can work for developing countries. Female entrepreneurs and researchers have high potential that has not been tapped,” said Patamawadee Pochanukul, TSRI’s president.

South-South cooperation to empower developing countries

The program harnesses the power of South-South cooperation.

Ambassador Supathra Srimaitreephithak, Thailand’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said this is important “to ensure cohesion of policies and complementarities of practices” and to promote alternative development strategies that empower developing countries.

“This type of cooperation encourages alternative development strategies that link knowledge on STI to biodiversity and cultural diversity to enhance the internal strength of developing countries toward sustainability,” Srimaitreephithak said.

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