Publications, opinions, and speeches

Caledon

Sustainable Development Framework for Science and Technology: Social and Cultural Dimensions For the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology (PMACST)

Published on 21/02/2005

This paper describes the core elements of a sustainable development research framework for science and technology.  While the framework is concerned generally with sustainability, it seeks to identify more specifically the indicators of the social impact of any given research initiative.  This framework has been developed with a focus on research in science and technology.  However, its application has been tested for relevance to social areas such as poverty reduction and social economy initiatives.

The challenge was to identify the social indicators that appeared to be most appropriate to this sustainable development framework.  After examining the broad scope of possible social indicators identified in the relevant literature, a decision was made to create a limited set of indicators for the purposes of this framework.  It sets out six key social objectives − each of which has associated indicators and illustrative targets.  The appropriate objectives from this list of six must then be selected according to the intended purpose of the initiative.  The framework also incorporates a qualitative dimension by encouraging the application of a sustainable development screen in which questions are asked about the potential economic, social, cultural and environmental impact of a proposed project.

Recent literature and reports on sustainable development incorporate culture as a fourth dimension of an integrated decision-making lens.  This component recognizes the important role and unique impact of culture upon any initiative, whether in the economic, social or environmental domain.  The paper does not attempt to define the cultural dimension of sustainable development so much as point to its interface with the other components of this concept.

ISBN – 1-55382-124-6

Summary

This paper describes the core elements of a sustainable development research framework for science and technology. 

Topic(s)

Evidence-based policy