A Thai woman engineer checks the valve regulator of a hydrogen tank.

UNCTAD and Thailand partner to strengthen women’s capacity to use technology

The two organizations will train women researchers and entrepreneurs on how to harness the power of science, technology and innovation to drive more sustainable and inclusive growth.

UNCTAD and Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) have joined forces to train women entrepreneurs and researchers on the country’s Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) economy model.

The Thai government put the model in place as part of a post-pandemic recovery strategy that aims to capitalize on the country’s biological diversity and cultural richness while promoting more sustainable and inclusive opportunities.

Using technology and innovation and providing legal and financial supportive, the model is helping companies boost their competitiveness in four industries: agriculture and food; medical and wellness; bioenergy, biomaterial and biochemical; tourism and the creative economy.

Over the next five years, the government expects the model to help boost by almost 30% the four industries’ combined GDP, from 3.4 trillion THB (about $99.5 billion) to 4.4 trillion THB (about $128.7 billion).

Through the partnership, UNCTAD and TSRI will train women researchers and entrepreneurs in developing countries on how to adapt and implement in their countries the concepts of the BCG model.

The two organizations formalized on 29 March the agreement during the 26th session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD).

“The Bio-Circular-Green economy model has potential to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development, and we are grateful that Thailand is ready to share their experience on this,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics, during the signing ceremony.

“There is a lot of interest from other developing countries to learn about this innovative model,” Ms. Sirimanne said, adding that the agreement is a follow-up to discussions that started in 2022 during the 25th session of the CSTD.

The potential of women researchers and entrepreneurs to drive sustainability

As part of the first phase of the partnership, the two organizations will train 15 women researchers and entrepreneurs from developing countries on the BCG model. The training workshop is set to take place take place in Bangkok, Thailand in August 2023.

UNCTAD and TSRI will invite potential candidates from CSTD member states in Asia and Africa, working closely with countries’ permanent missions in Geneva, Switzerland.

Participants will receive training on best practices in using science, technology and innovation in the four target industries. Successful women entrepreneurs, policymakers and well-known experts from universities and research institutions in Thailand will provide insight and share their experiences on applying technology and innovation in a way that aligns with the model.

“As we look to the future, it is time to focus on approaches to well-being, equality and productivity that can work for developing countries. Female entrepreneurs and researchers have high potential that has not been tapped,” said Patamawadee Pochanukul, TSRI’s president.

South-South cooperation to empower developing countries

The programme harnesses the power of a South-South cooperation.

Ambassador Supathra Srimaitreephithak, Thailand’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said this is important “to ensure cohesion of policies and complementarities of practices” and to promote alternative development strategies that empower developing countries.

“This type of cooperation encourages alternative development strategies that link knowledge on STI to biodiversity and cultural diversity to enhance the internal strength of developing countries toward sustainability,” Ms. Srimaitreephithak said.

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