Science, technology and innovation are recognized in Quito as fundamental axes of CRES 2018

The Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM) on the thematic axis related to science, technology and innovation of the III Regional Conference of Higher Education 2018 (CRES 2018 in Spanish) proclaimed in Ecuador, on November 17th the Declaration of Quito on Science , Knowledge, Technologies and the Arts under the following principle: "knowledge is a universal human right, a public and social common good to achieve sovereignty, good living and emancipation of our peoples, and for the construction of Latin American and Caribbean citizenship ", emphasizing the need for free access to knowledge and the importance of scientific investment as a duty of each State.

From November 15th to 17th at the headquarters of the Centro Internacional de Estudios Superiores de Comunicación para América Latina (CIESPAL), the preparatory event for the Regional Conference on Higher Education (CRES 2018), entitled The New Emancipatory Knowledge from the South. Rethinking the Centennial of the Córdoba Reform and the Fiftieth Anniversary of May 68, the meeting called for nearly 300 attendees to participate in the program's discussions.

The meeting was organized by the International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO-IESALC), CRES 2018, the Red Interinstitucional de Ciencia, Tecnología, Innovación y Educación superior del Sur Global(CTIES-South Network), the Universidad de Guayaquil(Ecuador), the Cátedra Unesco-Ciespal de Libertad de Expresión y Sociedades del Conocimiento, the Observatorio de Ciencia, Tecnología, Innovación y Educación superior del Sur Global (Observasur), the Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales(CLACSO), Núcleo de Estudos Estratégicos em Democracia, Desenvolvimento e Sustentabilidade  (NEEDDS-UFABC, Brazil) and the Centro de Estudios del Desarrollo(CENDES-UCV).

An Open and Participatory Agenda

The invitation to get involved and contribute with the construction of a discussion agenda in science and technology, both from the academic and scientific spheres and from social and political movements, had five thematic lines that defined participation:

1.      The crisis of civilization and the role of knowledge / information in the world context: the tragedy of the common and the anti-common in scientific production, technology and productive innovation.

2.      Unsustainability of the global techno-productive system. The strategic role of  Science, Technology and Innovation in the process of overcoming it, and the challenges for Latin America (scale, plural economies, primary-exporter, secondary-importer, etc.).

3.      University autonomy and 100-year knowledge of Córdoba: what science, what technology and what innovation for a new global social contract for emancipatory knowledge?

4.      The geopolitics of knowledge seen from the South: cognitive, technological and epistemological dependence. From the importation of styles to the brain drain.

5.      New forms of knowledge management and intellectual property for the strengthening of democracy.


He added that prior to this meeting, an open call was made regarding scientific evaluation and knowledge dialogue, inputs that will be integrated into the discussions and debates of the working groups that will reflect on the issues raised during the meeting’s 3 days.

Elizabeth Sosa, UNESCO-IESALC academic consultant, spoke of the CRES as a strategic project of UNESCO-IESALC that allows reflecting on realities and understanding trends in higher education, as well as projecting lines of work with sustainability. "The background of the CRES 2018 developed trends in the field of higher education that allowed progress in public policies in Latin America and the Caribbean (...) we are convinced that science, technology and research (STR) will be the mediators and the basis of university, educational and social transformation; the CRES 2018 agenda -in its pre-conference stage- will have discussion activities such as technical meetings, virtual forums and this RPM. The organization of this event delights us and therefore we recognize the effort and we predict a total success in the production of documents that will serve as inputs for the normative texts of CRES 2018”, she said at the opening ceremony.

Alexis Mercado, Claudia Ballas, Eduardo Rinesi, Hernan Núñez, María Carlotto and Verena Hitner, academic consultants in charge of the thematic axis coordinated by the Ecuadorian researcher René Ramírez, led table 3 of the axis Scientific, Technological research and Innovation as the engine for human, social and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During the closing of the event, academic consultants from the science, technology and innovation axis of CRES 2018 shared their opinions and study topics. Alexis Mercado talked about the global socio-environmental crisis in terms of society and knowledge economy, stating that the productive structure, from the exploitation of natural resources to the disposal of waste, continues to be unsustainable, which motivates the analysis of the role research plays within that paradigm. Claudia Ballas will study the perceptions and aspirations regarding science, technology and innovation, and the role of universities in their development, from the perspective of researchers, students, experts and authorities from Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Ecuador. María Carlotto and Verena Hitner announced the advance in the subject of the geopolitics of knowledge, with emphasis on international disputes over intellectual property and the circulation of State knowledge.

Download  the Declaration of Quito on science, knowledge, technology and the arts