TWN Info Service on Climate Change (May11/02)
9 May 2011
Third World Network

Country-driven approach key in technology transfer mechanism

Geneva, 9 May (Meena Raman*) – As the next round of climate negotiations takes place from 6 to 17 June in Bonn, Germany under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a key issue on the agenda for consideration of Parties is that of technology development and transfer.

In Cancun, at the 16th meeting of the Conference Parties (COP), a decision was adopted to establish a Technology Mechanism comprising a Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and Network. This was the outcome of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC (AWG-LCA).

In Bangkok, at a two-day expert workshop (4-5 April 2011) held prior to the official meeting of the AWG-LCA, many critical issues were raised on how to operationalise the Technology Mechanism (TM) with a view to achieving a fully operational and effective mechanism in 2012.

Many issues were identified during the workshop and are expected to be discussed further at the next session of the AWG-LCA in Bonn

One area of convergence among participants was for the TM to be a country-driven process with developing countries setting out their own needs. 

In Bangkok, Parties from developing and developed countries as well as experts that included presenters from South Centre, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) exchanged views.

The workshop was facilitated by Jukka Uosukainen of Finland who asked Parties to address:

(i) the relationship between the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTC&N); 
(ii)  the governance structure and terms of reference for the CTC&N and how the CTC will relate to the Network;
(iii) the procedure for calls for proposals and criteria to be used to evaluate and select the host of the CTC&N;
(iv) the potential links between the TM and the financial mechanism; and
(v) consideration of additional functions for the TEC and CTC&N.

Uosukainen, in his report to the AWG-LCA on the outcomes of the workshop, (which was displayed at the UNFCCC website as he was not present at the plenary session of the AWG-LCA on 8 April), said that the workshop was very practical and dynamic with participants presenting their ideas and exchanging views on how to achieve a fully operational Technology Mechanism by 2012.

He said this meant that Parties will need to work hard this year to define the following: 

(i) the terms of reference and governance structure for the CTC&N;
(ii) the criteria and selection procedure for the host of the CTC&N;
(iii) the relationship between the TEC and the CTC&N to ensure coherence, and the reporting lines of these two bodies within the Convention;
(iv) how Parties are going to finance the TM; and
(v) how the TM is going to interact with other parts of the international climate change architecture in the most efficient and effective way.  

He said that there was  a  high  level  of  convergence  among Parties  on  many  aspects  of  the  design  of  the  CTC&N.  According to Uosukainen, many participants emphasised the need for a prompt start to the TM and suggested that the CTC&N could start small and be flexible so that it can grow over time in response to the needs from developing countries.

All participants emphasised that the TM must engage the private sector at many levels, and leverage its expertise and resources to accelerate and scale up technology development and transfer, he further said. 

On the governance and Terms of Reference (TOR) of the CTC&N, Uosukainen said that participants generated many ideas on how to achieve both accountability and a flexible and innovative CTC&N that is responsive to the needs of Parties and is responsible to the Convention.  From the discussion, many possible elements of the TOR were identified, he added. 

Another key point he noted was the role of national institutions in relation to the CTC&N to ensure a country-driven approach and to build in-country capacity over the long term. 

On the procedures for the selection process for the host of the CTC&N, he said that participants emphasised the need for transparency and for a well defined set of criteria. He added that participants suggested specific ideas for a list of criteria that will be useful to discussions in the more formal setting of the AWG-LCA.

On the relationship between the TEC and the CTC&N, Uosukainen said that there were different views on the role of the TEC in guiding or governing the CTC&N.  He said that participants emphasised the importance of achieving a coherent TM. 

On the issue of financing the TM, he said that all participants emphasised the need to ensure adequate and stable financial support for the operations of the TM, including for the services that would be provided by the CTC&N. 

There was a need to identify sources of finance in the short term for the prompt start of the TM, as well as long-term sources that will allow it to grow and develop in response to the needs of Parties, he said further. The question of whether there should be a specific funding window for technology development and transfer was also discussed, he said.

On the links between the TM and other parts of the UNFCCC climate change architecture, Uosukainen said that participants were of the view that the TM would be an important part of the international climate change architecture that would need to interact with all other components, particularly the bodies supporting adaptation, mitigation and finance. The focus should be on efficient and direct linkages that do not create additional layers of complexity.

India, in reflecting on the various presentations from Parties said that it saw convergence emerging on the following matters: (i) the need for a country-driven process with developing countries setting out their own needs; (ii) the CTC being an enabling centre which receives requests from Parties and is in touch with a team of experts, and be located in an existing institution and there is a group who will be in it, with a CEO; (iv) when services are provided, these are provided by teams of service providers in the Network who can be drawn from a certain number of organizations which can put together a team.

India said that there was a good discussion on some issues although there was no convergence and identified 3 such issues: (i) the size of the CTC; (ii) governance of the CTC and attention is needed on the issue of transparency of the governance process and its responsibility to the COP; and  (iii) the vexed issue of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and how to address this. It said that there was need to establish a process to on how to move on the IPR issue. 

Following calls by some developing countries for the TEC to address the issue of IPRs, the United States said that it was agreed in Cancun that IPRs are not a hurdle to technology transfer.

Following is an account of the presentations by various Parties and experts.

Dr. Jonathan Pershing spoke for the United States said that there was need to elaborate on the specifics to move rapidly to operationalise the CTC&N, including enabling the issuance of request of proposals in Durban (South Africa, where the next COP meeting will be held in December 2011) to host it.

For this purpose, it was useful to discuss the objective, core responsibilities, tasks, governance, relationship between the Centre and Network. It said that the CTC&N could help developing countries identify and implement technology projects strategies to enhance low emission climate-resilient development. It was not to do basic research or provide money or allocate intellectual property but to draw from others.

On how the CTC&N could deliver results, the US said that it could be a significant new avenue for technical assistance in identifying and securing appropriate technologies. In this regard, it could be the first stop for technology information, analysis tools, best practices and ideas on financing options. 

It can help in identifying technology needs and options as well as policy barriers based on country requests. It could also provide access to a global network of regional and sector experts for knowledge sharing to build capacity and knowledge.

On the tools to deliver results, the US said that there could be expert team responders drawn from the Network of institutions both in developed and developing countries and support in-country visits and provide capacity building for project or policy proposals for example on feed-in tariffs or solar panels.

There could be trainings which could be country, region or issue specific. There could also be identification of funding through the use of the CTC&N financial and business planning expertise to advise on how to structure project finance or programmes. The eventual goal is for the CTC&N “stamp” to enable funders to know that the project/programme has been vetted.

It said that they were many models for the structure to work but it should be results-oriented, cost-effective and efficient. Among the considerations could be: (i) for the centre to play a coordinating role, matching requests to right parts of the Network; (ii) a single centre or regional but should not be too many; (iii) for the Network to undertake most of the substantive work; (iv) the Network is arranged in sectoral areas such as in renewable (energy), efficiency, water, agriculture etc. and (v) the private sector and academia could have an important role in the Network.

The US gave an example of the CTC&N in action. A country contacts the CTC with request for assistance in securing a type of project or policy. If accepted, a case manager is assigned to help ensure transparency and responsiveness.  The CTC works with the country to develop a work-plan and timeline; define the project scope; identify the Network team and consult with stakeholders.

The US also raised questions about the budget for the CTC&N as to how much goes to the Centre versus the Network. On the structural issues to be resolved, it identified the following: responsibilities of the Centre versus the Network; Network membership; collaboration with the private sector and academia; accountability, oversight and reporting including the governance system for e.g. if the CTC&N should be run by a Board of Governors.

Dr. Ajay Mathur spoke for India said that the CTC has 3 functions viz. to stimulate technical development and transfer; provide technical assistance and facilitate and establish networks. A developing country makes a request to the CTC for e.g. to develop a project for installation of renewable energy. This could involve project preparation, capacity building or innovation or encompass all 3 aspects.

The Centre will ask a group of experts to respond to the request which is a Network to provide services. The Network is self-organised and could be at the country, regional or international level. The Network needs a hub or a coordinator which draws on various experts including regional experts, sectoral experts, industry experts and financial experts.

Initially, no networks exist. The CTC will need to facilitate the establishment of networks that respond to country requests. The developing country partners need to provide early intimation of the kinds of requests and of the volume of requests. The CTC may assess the feasibility of the requests and prioritise requests. The CTC may, through a transparent process, invite, evaluate and select a consortia/network that meets the requests. Future requests may be directed to the appropriate network.

In the selection of the CTC, India said that there was need to ensure experience in technology development and transfer, innovation in technology and business models, collaborative actions and project management. It must have the capability to host the CTC in terms of office space, expatriate staff and logistic support and provide access to technical, human and financial resources. There must be willingness for long-term commitment as well as financial, infrastructural and human resource support. There must be ease of travel and connectivity and should preferably be in a developing country.

On the activities of the CTC, India said that it should receive developing country requests for technology development and transfer, and identify the appropriate network to respond to the requests. It must stimulate collaboration with a range of institutions for technology development and transfer. It must enable learning and transfer of experience and knowledge as well as manage the request-response process and facilitate the necessary funding to enable timely implementation by the appropriate network.

On the governance structure, the CTC should have a governing body of senior technical experts drawn from various countries (both developed and developing), elected by Parties. The governing body will provide policy on issues such as prioritization, operational criteria and guidelines, human resource policies, response to requests, timelines and appropriateness of response and budget, resources, audit etc.

The TEC could be the governing body of the CTC.

In relation to the financing of the CTC&N activities, the core funding could come from the Green Climate Fund, the host country/institution and other donors. The activity funding could also come from the Climate Fund as well as from donors, host country and the private sector.

Tomasz Chruszczow for the European Union said that it envisioned the CTC as being light with a small team with a clear and effective structure and is cost efficient and able to undertake administrative support. CTC is to be small compared to the Network and should only play the facilitator role, with a country-driven approach being assured.

The Network should be as flexible as possible, facilitating a project/country driven approach based on ‘national circumstances and priorities’.

For the EU, the terms of reference of the CTC should focus on how to facilitate the Network and manage information; collect and maintain information on the Network members; collect and receive nominations; set up and maintain database, web-based networking and registration tools; seek memberships amongst relevant existing organizations; promote and stimulate cooperation between the members of the Network; information and reporting on activities: engagement with Network members and disseminate information on Network members.

The key role of the Network is to advice and provide support for identifying technology needs and implementing technologies on the ground; support networking and capacity building for developing countries; stimulate technology development and transfer e.g. through public and private collaboration at all levels; disseminate good policies and best practices for technology planning and diffusion. The Network should be open to applications and draw from existing public and private institutions; help improve the quality of projects to make them more fundable; and make information available for the identification of potential funding sources, as appropriate. 

The EU stressed the need for a country-driven action based on national circumstances and priorities. It said that the CTC catalyzes action in developing countries by facilitating information and access to a network of organizations and initiatives; connects institutions and makes information available on them with the purpose to facilitate/enhance action on technology development and transfer in support of action on mitigation and adaptation, stimulate North-South, South-South cooperation; provide information on the organisations and initiatives but Parties will have the final decision on the partnerships for collaboration.

On the selection process of a host for the CTC, the EU said that the process should be open, transparent, fair and neutral and the host should inter alia demonstrate expertise and knowledge of technological processes. The EU expressed the preference of the CTC as an intergovernmental institution within the UN system.

As regards the link between the TEC and the CTC, the EU said that both these institutions are to promote coherence and synergies in relation to technology transfer. The CTC facilitates access to a Network and shall operate independently within its TOR and take into account the strategic guidance provided by the TEC. The CTC and the TEC will report on an interim basis to the subsidiary bodies of the UNFCCC and the TEC recommendations are to be provided directly to the COP, which decides which recommendations it will take into account.

In reference to some developing countries calling for the CTC to be under the TEC, the EU said that the TEC and CTC are in “different worlds” and there is no hierarchy between them.

In relation to the TEC’s relationship with other institutional arrangements, the EU said that there should be a clear separation between the strategic policy level advice from the TEC and operational aspects related to the work of the entities entrusted with the financial mechanism.

There was need to ensure that the Technology Mechanism is not a stand-alone arrangement but should enhance synergies with other institutional arrangements.

[Part 2 of the article follows. Please see TWN Climate Info Service May11/03 dated 9 May 2011: “New technology transfer mechanism raises many issues” that also highlights substantive issues raised by some Parties and experts related to IPRs and technology assessment.)

(* With inputs from Majorie Williams)