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Entries tagged with ‘technology’


The STEPS Centre ran a special session at the 9th Globelics Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 17 November, entitled Innovation for Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development.

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‘Geoengineering the Climate – Science, Governance & Uncertainty’

‘Geoengineering the Climate – Science, Governance & Uncertainty’ is a report published by the Royal Society in September 2009 providing an assessment of the main geoengineering options for addressing climate change as well as a discussion of geoengineering governance issues such as those related to research and development and the potential deployment of geoengineering measures.

This was the first major publication addressing the potential of geoengineering solutions to address climate change. The report is important because it reviews technological fixes to the climate change problem that do not involve reducing carbon emissions. It also legitimises further research into the controversial geoengineering field. Given the slow political progress of climate change talks and the accelerating growth of emissions it is highly likely that this publication will influence science and technology
policy in the context of climate change in the coming decades.

The report was premised on a recognition of the widespread, diverse and significant impacts and costs of climate change, for which global efforts towards mitigation and adaptation are yet insufficient, specifically attention towards the reduction of emissions sufficient to avoid large-scale impacts.

The result has been interest in geoengineering, defined by the Royal Society’s report “as the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change.”

Acknowledging a lack of “accessible, high quality information on proposed geoengineering techniques which remain unproven and potentially dangerous”, the study aims to assess the various methods, their potential effectiveness and also possible risks posed.

In particular, it examines two types of geoengineering techniques: Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) (to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere) and Solar Radiation Management (SRM) techniques (to reflect some of the sun’s light and heat away from Earth back into space)

The report recommends that parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should increase efforts toward mitigation and adaptation; that “CDR and SRM geoengineering methods should only be considered as part of a wider package of options for addressing climate change” and that “CDR methods should be regarded as preferable to SRM methods.” The report also recommends that the UK government fund a ten year research programme into geoengineering, and with regard to governance that “The Royal Society, in collaboration with international science partners, should develop a code of practice for geoengineering research and provide recommendations to the international scientific community for a voluntary research governance framework.”

Timeline entry contributed by Matthew Gross and Joe Bull

International Space Station (ISS)

The International Space Station (ISS) project is the first project involving international cooperation to construct a space station, and involving 15 countries, including the US, Russia, members of the EU, Japan and Canada. Astronauts from a number of countries have visited the space station, for example, Marcos Pontes from Brazil and Yi So-yeon from South Korea were the first astronauts to go into space from their respective countries. Construction of the ISS was started at the end of the 1990s and still continues.

This was an epoch marking event for space development in the world, because for the first time the US and Russia cooperated in space development. It can be said that the event was the opening of a new era of space development not for military use.

Although the station is still under construction, it has already been used for various purposes. It is expected that activities in the space station, such as research concerning health and environment, and observation of the earth yield valuable findings for our sustainable development. Success in this project also means the enhancement of our biosphere.

The ISS project and space technology represented by this project can be one of the key technologies for sustainable development in future. At the same time, it can cause controversial arguments from various points of view such as practically or ethically, for example: do the benefits derived from the ISS correspond to the huge investment?; or should we live apart from ‘Mother Earth’ even if it is technologically possible?

Space technology is vital for thinking about sustainability, monitoring, and information, both positively and negatively.

Timeline entry contributed by Hiroko Takuma

STEPS Centre Symposium ’09: Multimedia

The STEPS Centre’s Annual Symposium focussed on our New Manifesto project. We attempted to capture a flavour of the discussions by recording video interviews, taking photos, by bloggers  contributing  thier thoughts and by making speaker presentations available.

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ILO Kenya Employment Mission: Technical Change, Dualism and Employment

In the late 60s and early 70s there was greater attention to the links between technical change and employment. This was evidenced in several reports in which Hans Singer was involved, especially the later 1972 Mission Report to Kenya for the International Labour Organisation, conducted by Hans Singer, Richard Jolly, and Charles Cooper, which highlighted technical change and the application of ‘modern’ capital intensive technology as an important factor in unemployment and underemployment, and from whence came the ‘distribution with growth’ theory. This was embraced in a speech by World Bank president Robert MacNamara to the Bank’s Governors in Nairobi. The speech was followed by the Bank’s landmark change in policy, “Redistribution with Growth”.

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Background paper / The Global Redistribution of Innovation: Lessons from China and India

By Adrian Ely and Ian Scoones

In the 40 years since the original “Sussex Manifesto”, the global landscape of science, technology and innovation has altered radically. The emergence of new centres of innovation in many of what were in 1970 grouped as “developing countries” has important implications not only for those interested in maintaining the competitiveness of the more established economic powers, but more importantly for addressing global challenges of poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability.

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