‘Korea seeks key role in tackling global challenges’

‘Korea seeks key role in tackling global challenges’

South Korea has made economic strides in just around six decades since the 1950-53 Korean War, which left the nation in tatters, thanks largely to the concerted efforts of the government, researchers and businesses to grow the science and technology sectors.

Science and technology ministers, policymakers and officials from international organizations will discuss how to overcome the lingering global economic woes and other global issues including climate change and poverty during the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development Ministerial Meeting Daejeon 2015 and World Science and Technology Forum to be held from Monday to Friday in the city, often referred to as a science and technology hub in Korea.

Lee Suk-joon, the first vice minister of science, ICT and future planning, said Korea, which has risen up as a global economic and information technology powerhouse, would be able to play a key role in finding solutions to global economic difficulties through science and technology.

“Korea will share its experience of overcoming adversity to achieve stunning economic growth through science and technology and lead the discussion on inclusive growth, which allows all countries to benefit from the world’s economic growth,” said Lee in an interview with The Korea Herald last week before the beginning of the five-day event.

Science ministers will examine successful government-led science and technology projects, and find ways to make effective investments and utilize big data for open science. They will also talk about collaborative efforts to develop advanced biotechnology, and sustainable future technology for the environment and the world’s manufacturing sector.

The information and communications technology vice minister said the government-led creative economy policy, which he said is in line with the global trend to achieve innovation via science and technology, would be introduced to the participants.

The Korean government allotted 1.3 trillion won ($1.15 billion) for basic research projects, up 3.5 percent on-year, and plans to increase the investment portion for basic research among the nation’s total research and development budget to 40 percent by 2017.

The ministry has also pledged to expand its support for basic scientific research.

Through the Daejeon Declaration, a joint statement among the ministers to be issued on the last day of the meeting, the global science and technology ministers are expected to vow to work together to help advance the science and technology capabilities of developing nations and set directions for the global science and tech policies for the next decade.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn delivers a speech during the World Science and Technology Forum that opened in Daejeon on Monday. (Yonhap)

This year’s meeting will be the largest in size since not only the OECD members, but also OECD partners and the members of the Association for Southeast Asian Nation will participate in the Daejeon meeting.

What makes the ministerial meeting more meaningful and historical is it being held outside Paris, home to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development headquarters, for the first time in the organization’s history. The meeting has not been held since 2004 due to the global financial crisis.

Among an estimated 3,000 participants from 60 nations to attend the main and side events are Nobel laureates, CEOs of global tech firms and officials from international organizations.

Some of the speakers at the meetings and conferences include Jeremy Rifikin, an economist and author of “Entropy” and “The Zero Marginal Cost Society”; Aaron Ciechanover, 2004 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry; and Jim Newton, chief executive of TechShop, a membership-based workshop that provides members tools and equipment.


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