Investing just 3.5 per cent of a nation’s GDP into science, technology and innovation could be a ‘game changer’, an international expert panel has advised the UN.
The 26-member Scientific Advisory Board said that without increasing innovation support, nations would never be able to address painful 21st century problems including poverty, social inequality and poor health.
"If countries wish to break the poverty cycle and achieve post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, they will have to set up ambitious national minimum target investments for STI (science, technology and innovation)," the Board said.
"While a target of one per cent of GDP for research and development is perceived high by many governments, countries with strong and effective science, technology and innovation systems invest up to 3.5 percent of their GDP."
Such investment is crucial, especially for developing countries if they wish to close the gap with the developed world.
A better informed and educated society would help establish policies that help long-term well-being over decisions that favour short-term economic and political interests, said the board in a statement released on Thursday.
Only by investing in research and development of alternative technology solutions, water filtering technology and biology can nations solve problems including energy security, food and water shortages, as well as biodiversity loss and climate change.
World leaders are due to adopt a set of development objectives - known as the Sustainable Development Goals - in September, which include ending poverty, reducing child mortality and tackling climate change. These will replace the eight expiring UN Millennium Development Goals.