Developing countries double down on technology at Havana summit

By Marc, Frank and Nelson Acosta

HAVANA (Reuters) - Developing nations on Saturday declared Sept. 16 the annual "Day of Science, Technology and Innovation in the South" as they prepared to wrap up a two-day summit on the subject.

"We note with deep concern the existing disparities between developed and developing countries in terms of conditions, possibilities and capacities to produce new scientific and technological knowledge," the final declaration of the G77 group of developing nations and China said.

"We call upon the international community, the United Nations System and the International Financial Institutions to support the efforts of the countries of the South to develop and strengthen their national science, technology and innovation systems," the organization, which now counts 134 countries, stated.

The statement cited the pandemic and unequal distribution of vaccines as an example, pointing out that all but Cuba's were developed outside the block and rich nations were disproportionately vaccinated.

China maintains that it is not a G77 member, despite being listed as one by the bloc, but Beijing says it has supported the group's legitimate claims and maintained cooperative relations.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, whose country holds the organization's presidency this year, said on Friday that U.N. data shows that 10 countries account for 90% of patents and 70% of exports of advanced digital production technologies.

"Creation and dissemination of advanced digital production technologies worldwide remain concentrated, with minor activity in most of the emerging economies," he said.

The G77, which is the largest within the United Nations by population and number of members, called for a special meeting to tackle the issues raised at the summit.

The 46-point final declaration reiterates long-standing demands for a more equitable international economic and social order which it states is impossible without ending developed country technological domination.

At the same time, it calls for more cooperation between member nations in science, technology and innovation as strategies for their development.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told the gathering Saturday the group should promote sustainable industrialization, investment in renewable energy, in the bioeconomy and low-carbon agriculture "without forgetting that we do not have the same historical debt as rich countries for global warming."

While more than 100 member delegations participated in the summit, only Brazil and a few dozen others were led by heads of state.

(Reporting by Marc Frank and Nelson Acosta; Editing by David Gregorio)