Innovative technologies have a central role to play in the effort to alleviate poverty in this world. Innovative technology also means appropriate technology in the sense that the stakeholders must accept it locally, culturally, environmentally and economically. What key factors will determine whether or not a technology succeeds in its intended role of reducing poverty are elements development sector participants grapple with on a daily basis. The 3rd UNESCO Conference on Technologies for Development which took place from 4-6 June 2014 at the SwissTech Convention Center in Lausanne, Switzerland focused on essential technologies.
The conference gathered around 360 attendees from 58 countries: researchers, decision-makers, NGO representatives, international organizations and the private sector – all eager to generate knowledge by focusing on state-of-the-art technologies and their potential for the global South. Participants attended the presentation of 125 scientific papers from the fields of energy, habitat, medical, ICT and disaster risk reduction. “Technologies for Development: What is Essential?” (Springer International, 221 pages) brings together the 15 best papers from the Conference exploring innovative technologies in the Global South.
The book presents case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America addressing global development issues in the fields of health, energy, ICT and urbanism in an interdisciplinary way. The book illustrates key issues at the interface of technology, human, social, and economic development. Bringing together the best papers of the 2014 EPFL-UNESCO Conference on Technologies for Development, this book explores innovative technologies in the global South. It will be a valuable reference for researchers from engineering, natural sciences, information management, quantitative social sciences, and business faculties, as well as for development practitioners and policy makers.
It shows the development potential of technologies, and discusses successful processes to develop and deploy them, as well how to evaluate their impact. The introduction to the book begins with a reflection on key issues regarding technologies for development. The following four sections focus on; (i) Innovative Technologies for Development, (ii) Open Source-Open Access-Open Innovation, (iii) Medical Technologies for the Global South, and (iv) Impact Assessment of Technologies for Development. Individual chapters explore issues such as a need for solid standards for newly developed technologies, how to successfully up-scale technology to a larger region, and how to involve private industry in the development of a technology.
The contribution from David Garrity CFA of GVA Research, “Mobile Financial Services in Disaster Relief: Modeling Sustainability” (Chapter 5, pp 45-54 – please click “Look inside” to preview), concentrates on how innovative technologies (e.g. mobile money, data analytics, microinsurance) are being employed to mitigate risks for and thereby increase production from agricultural small-holders who produce 80% of the food consumed in developing countries and represent a sector employing one in three workers globally. The indicated gains to agricultural small-holders are significant – a 19% increase in investment and a 16% increase in earnings – marking an improvement that should be considered for broader application. The chapter was initially presented at the Conference panel chaired by Charles Martin-Shields and Paula Franklin Lytle on “Politics, Society, and Technology Integration: How Does Policy Making Affect Governmental and Local use of ICTs for Disaster Risk Reduction?”