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Editors foreword.

Innovation has been the catalyst for some of the most significant advances in human development. The advent of the wheel revolutionized transportation systems and laid the foundation for modern trade; the development of heat-resilient, high yield agricultural crops spurred the Green Revolution and increased food security and incomes in many developing countries; and the discovery of vaccines has virtually eliminated some diseases, contributing to vital improvements in global public health. Today, innovation continues to play a central role in the achievement of development goals. From the creation of a $100 laptop to the use of nuclear power to meet sustainable energy needs, fast-paced technological innovation has created new promise and posed complex challenges for the developing world. Innovation and technology transfer have the potential to bridge development gaps in areas as diverse as education, gender, health and the environment. At the same time, technology can be a double-edged sword. The expansion of fossil fuel-based transportation, for instance, has increased the mobility of people and goods while threatening the durability of resources and exacerbating climate change. Nuclear power offers sustainable energy but poses new threats to global security. Moreover, access to modern technologies is unevenly distributed, as technology transfer is constrained by rigid intellectual property regimes, limited resources and weak absorptive capacity in developing countries. The Fall/Winter 2010 issue of the Journal of International Affairs explores the myriad ways in which technology is changing the development agenda.

David M. Driesen and David Popp start by discussing the role of technology transfer in addressing climate change. They compare the effectiveness of market measures such as the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol with direct aid programs as a means of reducing global carbon emissions, arguing for meaningful technology transfer that enhances the capacity of developing countries to address climate change in the long term without hindering economic growth. Bertrand Tessa and Pradeep Kurukulasuriya similarly emphasize the importance of technology transfer, but shift the focus from mitigation efforts to technologies that help developing countries adapt to the harmful impacts of climate change. They also discuss the effect of the WTO's agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights on adaptive technology transfer. The authors describe how the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is attempting to address deficiencies in the transfer of climate-smart technologies needed for adaptation in developing countries.

Mark Warschauer and Morgan Ames touch on recent debates about whether technology alone can catapult low-income countries into later stages of development and question the wisdom of investing narrowly in technological interventions without a holistic understanding of the local social and economic context. The authors critique the premise of the One Laptop per Child program, arguing that support for basic educational reforms, such as construction of schools, teacher training and curriculum development, is more pressing in resource-limited settings than the distribution of laptops to individual children.

Walter G. Park explores the interdependence of innovation, copyright regimes and economic development, lust as patent laws are a driver of technological innovation, creative industries such as art, music, film, literature and media are more likely to flourish when protected by copyrights. Park argues that copyright protections can spur economic growth in developing countries through human capital accumulation and the creation of creative industries. At the same time, growth and development may be impaired if developing countries lack adequate mechanisms to enforce copyrights. Bhaven N. Sampat looks at intellectual property laws from the perspective of patents. Specifically, he investigates the role of American universities in safeguarding access to affordable medicines. Recommending changes to existing patenting and licensing policies to ensure that university-developed drugs are licensed at low cost to the developing world, Sampat highlights the potential for academic institutions to play an important role in promoting global public health. William E. Bertrand delves further into the role of universities in promoting development, but finds that universities have lagged in their understanding and adoption of new technologies--a phenomenon he calls "techno-sclerosis." Bertrand proposes a unique solution to this problem, advocating for the creation of a worldwide educational network modeled after land grant colleges in the United States and devoted to evaluating and rapidly disseminating information about the impacts of new technologies.

Henry Etzkowitz, Namrata Gupta and Carol Kemelgor explore the gender divide in science and technology, and discuss how the gender and information technology revolutions are creating new opportunities for women scientists. With a focus on India, where technology has brought large macroeconomic gains, the authors describe how information and communication technologies can empower women by upgrading their skills, generating income and creating jobs.

The use of green chemistry to mitigate environmental degradation has gained traction in recent years as policymakers, industry and civil society seek to reduce the negative effects of commercial manufacturing. Kira J. M. Matus articulates the challenges that policymakers face in implementing innovations for sustainable development, and recommends several strategies to help bring these innovations into mainstream use. H.-Holger Rogner of the International Atomic Energy Agency tackles in depth the debate about the sustainable use of nuclear power in the face of enduring concerns about the longevity of radioactive wastes, operating safety and weapons proliferation. He makes the case for an

expansion of nuclear power as a means of broadening the natural resource base to meet global energy demand, and maintains that nuclear power, in the right hands, poses no more danger to human health and natural ecosystems than alternative sources of energy.

For an official perspective on the evolving development landscape, we speak with Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, who elucidates how technology is creating novel possibilities, but distinct challenges, for development and diplomacy. Randi Zuckerberg of Facebook, Michael T. Jones of Google and David Kobia of Ushahidi shed light on the dynamic ways in which private entities are innovating for development.

This year's Andrew Wellington Cordier essayist, Nima Veiseh, attempts to reconcile two well-known theories of economic growth: that associated with Jeffrey Sachs, which stresses the importance of geography as a determinant of growth, and that of Daron Acemoglu, which emphasizes the dominant role of institutions. Veiseh proposes that the geographic landscape of a country determines the ease with which it can assimilate foreign technologies and establish institutions favorable to development. He concludes that, after a certain technological threshold, growth shifts from being geographically to institutionally driven.

This issue of the Journal of International Affairs focuses not only on how innovation is being deployed for development, but also on the underlying policies, structures and incentives that facilitate the acquisition, transfer and diffusion of technology to the developing world.

The world has at its disposal an ever-increasing arsenal of tools for the attainment of a wide range of development goals. These tools are changing the possibilities for development in far-reaching ways. The challenge is ensuring that innovation is used to solve pressing development problems, while at the same time enhancing the capacity of developing countries to address these problems more effectively in the future.

--The Editors
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Publication:Journal of International Affairs
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Sep 22, 2010
Words:1161
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