UNESCO relaunches STEPAN – The Science Technology Engineering Innovation Policy Asia and the Pacific Network
10 years after STEPAN’s last meeting, more than 50 experts in Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI) from across Asia and the Pacific took part in a two-day revival discussion, driven by the increasing demand for exchange and interaction in emerging areas such as Open Science.
This special meeting of the STEPAN network was held with four key objectives:
- identify the status on SETI policy at the national level relating to key issues such as Open Science, technologies for the Sustainable Development Goals, and SETI culture,
- develop a new action plan on SETI policy at the country level – to enable implementation of these key issues,
- develop regional programmes and plans to share good practices and to strengthen capacity in fostering SETI policy in areas such as Open Science,
- integrate the above in a new strategy to revive STEPAN as the umbrella network for regional support and steering mechanism for SETI policy implementation and evaluation in the region.
The meeting was held as a follow-up action to the implementation of the regional SETI Strategy for Asia and the Pacific endorsed by the Regional Experts consultation held on 1 September 2020.
Sixteen member states represented by officially nominated national STEPAN Focal Point Representatives took part in the discussion, joined by observers from National Commissions for UNESCO, UNESCO field offices, and from the regional network of Category 2 centres and UNESCO chairs. Interventions included a keynote address on STEPAN’s future potential by Dr Mahesha Nadugala, representing Sri Lanka, on the topic “Science policy and capacity building contributions to 2030 Agenda through the evolving role of STEPAN”. Representatives from UNESCO Centres in Malaysia and China discussed Open Science perspectives, while a contribution from Singapore examined the promotion of science culture through education and science centres. These thematic contributions were followed by detailed presentations from each participating national focal point.
On the second day, the STEPAN Board, comprising the 16 national focal points, focused on the sustainability and function of STEPAN, reviewing and updating the network’s statutes and developing a new action plan to be circulated to members for final approval.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to renew STEPAN as a regional support and steering mechanism for SETI implementation and evaluation in the region – as well as to update the network’s name to the Science Technology Engineering Innovation Policy Asia and the Pacific Network.
The revival of STEPAN makes a targeted contribution to the acceleration of 2030 Agenda implementation in Asia and the Pacific, especially on SDG 9 and SDG 17.