February 1, 2004
Publication:
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

The aim of this Report of the Millennium Project Task Force on Science, Technology and Innovation is to outline approaches for the effective application of science, technology and innovation (STI) to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by the 2000 United Nations Millennium Summit. The MDGs have become the international standard of reference for measuring and tracking improvements in the human condition in developing countries. The welfare of these countries is also intricately intertwined with the security of the industrialized countries, making development a truly global venture.

Indeed, countries such as the United States have started to classify human development challenges that are prevalent in developing countries, such as HIV/AIDS, as national security issues. This step is the beginning of a process that recognizes the emergence of a globalized world that requires collective action to deal with issues that would otherwise be considered as strictly national. The MDGs have the advantage of (1) a political mandate agreed by the leaders of all United Nations member states, (2) offering a comprehensive and multidimensional development framework, and (3) setting clear quantifiable targets to be achieved in all countries by 2015. This report builds on the view that meeting the MDGs will require a substantial reorientation of development policies to focus on key sources of economic growth, especially those associated with the use of new scientific and technological knowledge, and related institutional adjustments. The MDGs cover almost every field of human endeavor and include targets on issues such as poverty, hunger, primary education, gender equality, child and maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis (TB), and other major diseases, as well as access to essential medicines. In addition, the goals stress sustainable development, safe water, upgrading slums, open rule-based trading systems, and global partnerships (including technology transfers). The Task Force has identified a number of options for action, suggesting ways in which science, technology and innovation could contribute to the implementation of the MDGs.

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