The technological upgrading of service institutions
- lessons from Asia


What is the development effect of modern technology? In some cases, the answer is obvious, such as the value of a satellite-based weather forecast system to the paddy farmer, or the value of a new health scheme to a rural village. In other cases, the effect is more indirect. An advanced computer model for analysis of coastal erosion can indirectly contribute to a proper allocation of sparse resources of a poor country, and an efficient environmental planning can improve the life of the inhabitants of a metropolis (or can at least reduce the rate of continued degradation). 

Accordingly, the UNCED Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 stated that the international community 'should cooperate to strengthen endogenous capacity-building for sustainable development ... by enhancing the development, adaption, diffusion and transfer of technologies, including new and innovative technologies'.


River Survey Project, Bangladesh: Mrs. Rumi, mr. Haque, mrs. YasminBased on examples from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, and The Philippines, the book deals with national technological development channelled via public or private service institutions. The examples have been taken from international collaboration projects, funded by foreign development agencies, and typically with a social, rather than an urgent commercial demand. The technologies in question were intended as a support for national management, for example of natural resources.

The book describes the orientation of the participants and their interaction, and the various factors that influence the development process. Advice is given on appropriate process design and project planning. Also, suggestions are made on how to identify, understand and handle the unforeseen course deviations that inevitably occur underway, given a set of options and constraints that to some extent are beyond control.