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• ORGANISATION FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE FOR THE DEVELOPING WORLD • SOUTH AFRICA CHAPTER •
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Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is critical in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it lays the foundation for new approaches and technologies to identify and tackle global challenges affecting sustainable development (United Nations, 2016). Evidence based data is important for policy formulation, implementation, evaluation and monitoring in addressing various challenges of basic needs and climate resilience. As a result, the collection of STI data and statistics is critical for analysing progress in meeting the SDG targets and informing policy. The UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), established for data capturing and development through partnerships with other statistical organizations, such as Eurostat shows very little data on trends in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for Africa, with the recently launched UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030 reflecting the same situation. 

To highlight the need to urgently address gaps in STI data collection, the recent SADC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Education, Science and Technology held on 30th June 2016 at the SADC Headquarters in Botswana, acknowledged and emphasised the need for data collection, analysis and reporting as an integral to efforts in informing policy and addressing issues such as gender equality in science for Africa. With regards to science data development, UNESCO ROSA organized a GenderInSITE- Africa training session in July 2015 which catalysed discussions on the development of a set of indicators for progress monitoring and evaluation of gender responsiveness of national STI policies and governance strategies by experts, academics and policy makers from 9 African countries. One of the recommendations from the GenderInSITE workshop called for up scaling the training to include science data development.

 UNESCO in partnership with South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), GenderInSITE/ASSAf and the SADC Secretariat is organizing a Regional Training on Science Data and Statistics from the 4th to the 6th of October 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The overall objective of the workshop is to enhance capacity of African Statistician and STI Policy makers in effective data collection, analysis and reporting to inform policies and strategies for mobilising STI for attaining the SDG targets with the following specific objectives:

•     Create the platform for regional action plan on strategies for mobilising science for promoting STEM education, research and innovation infrastructure development and to build effective synergy for private–public partnership for STI proliferation; 

•     Build capacity of national/regional statisticians, policy makers and development partners in STI Policy indicator frameworks and review existing classifications to enhance M&E of the SDGs targets;

•     Equip the participants with UIS data collection instruments, cross-national comparability of data and data analysis tools, techniques in UIS R& D Indicator development and emerging gender statistical issues;

•     Provide guidelines for developing national/regional capacity building training of trainers in respective countries/sub-regions