Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi, has said that it was time Nigeria engaged the use of scientific collaborations to address common problems and build constructive international partnership.
He noted that many (if not all) of the problems relating to the nexus between science diplomacy and sustainable development in the country could be addressed by scientific and technological advancement.
Mohammed, who spoke at a national workshop on science diplomacy organised by National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), said there is an increasing need in the global economy for partnerships between science and policy.
He added the current knowledge era makes it pertinent for all economic and political facets to incorporate knowledge outputs from science and technology.
The Minister said in the current global village where every nation is bound to operate, knowledge is the greatest capital and it is driven by science, technology and innovation (STI).
He said every nation that is serious and focused on developing this capital must invest in science, technology and innovation at home.
He said: “Science provides a solid foundation upon which cross-country relationships are built. A nation’s ability to leverage on cross-country knowledge and innovations depends on its diplomatic strengths. Governance and diplomatic relations are now being driven by technological advancements. Besides, governments now see the need to incorporate science and technology in their foreign policies.
“Connecting home-grown advancements in STI to opportunities offered by global partnerships must also be driven by strategic international diplomatic relations. Joining these dots is most essential for sustainable development in the current era.”
The Director-General, NACETEM, Prof. Okechukwu Ukwuoma, emphasised the need for the country to use science and diplomacy to achieve sustainable development, particularly during the new normal occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the disruption necessitated by the outbreak of COVID-19 has made it apparent that nations of the world need not just to cooperate but to deploy science to pragmatically address global challenges.
“No doubt, the world is changing with new challenges ranging from climate change, outbreak of new diseases, etc. and we cannot afford to fold our arms. Cutting edge knowledge in science, technology and innovation needs to be constantly deployed, with political gladiators, diplomats and scientists from across the globe coming together to mitigate the ever increasing and constantly occurring challenges in the world.
“This is a starting point for the next phase, which is to have a Science Diplomacy Network. This is considered a shift in thinking to underscore the importance of better integrating the communities of science and diplomacy in novel ways.”
He added that it was time to adjust to a world in which developments in science and technology move rapidly and affect relationships and interactions at bilateral, regional and global scales.