TWN Info Service on Climate Change (May11/03)
New technology transfer mechanism raises many issues
Geneva, 9 May (Meena Raman*) – Several key issues related to technology development and transfer will be considered at the next round of climate negotiations on 6 – 17 June in Bonn, Germany under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
A two-day Expert Workshop on the Technology Mechanism (4-5 April 2011) was held prior to the official meeting of the AWG-LCA that met after Cancun, in which 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.
In this second article, highlights of the presentations by several UNFCCC Parties and experts from South Centre, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) are reported. In addition to the institutional and functional issues of the TM, intellectual property rights as obstacles to technology transfer and development as well as technology assessment featured in a number of the presentations.
[Please see TWN Climate Info Service May11/02
dated 9 May 2011 for the first article: “Country-driven approach key
in technology transfer mechanism” on the overview of the workshop discussions
and the presentations by
In terms of structure,
On the issue of IPRs,
It said that strong IP protection means that the IP holder can control the use of his technology, and decide when, where and how to use it and whether to transfer it and the ways in which the technology can be utilized, if at all, in those countries where protection has been obtained.
It said that the CTC must support in the development of proposals for national legislation that allowed more flexibilities in IPRs, initiatives to promote and fully benefit from innovations that are in the public domain and analyze and propose initiatives to deal with other patent issues.
Dr. Al Binger spoke for the Alliance Of Small Island States (AOSIS) and said that the function of the TM and its key aspects should focus on creating the environment for more technology development and transfer. It should increase the availability of green technologies for development including social development. The TEC must be Party driven and the financial mechanism provides resources for development of projects. This must be an integrated approach.
On the issue of governance of the TM, AOSIS supported a distinct Board of Directors with regional representation, including from SIDs and LDCs (Least Developed Countries). The TOR should be decided by the COP, including fiduciary responsibility, and have oversight of the business plan, developed in response to the needs of Parties liaising with the TEC. There should also be operational oversight and reporting to the COP.
AOSIS presented two options for the appointment of the Board of Directors, which could either be appointed by the COP or the TEC.
In terms of the day-to-day functions, the TM must respond to the needs of developing countries. The funding should come from the financial mechanism under the UNFCCC and should be coordinated with the work of the TEC. Other functions include the preparation of reports and proposals for mobilizing financial resources, identify technologies to meet members' needs; develop strategies for further development testing/criteria for new technologies; facilitate collaborative agreements between the private sector and research institutes and facilitate training to help develop capacity.
On the staffing, it said that the key administrative officer should be an executive director with two deputy directors (one each for adaptation and mitigation); and sector specialists, with regional distribution mainly from developing countries. It should be located preferably within host institutions with technology development experience and international accounting standards and credible international status.
On the composition of the Network, AOSIS wanted the establishment of regional and national centres of excellence, with criteria set by the TEC. It said that initial members of the Network should be identified by the TEC and the membership be open to all who meet the criteria. There is need also to have memoranda of agreement between the CTC and institutions.
Apart from an effective and efficient technology transfer mechanism, AOSIS also called for capacity building support and a loss and damage mechanism to help SIDs recover from adverse climatic impacts.
Dr. Ainun Nishat of Bangladesh said that the major task of CTC will be, but not limited to, supporting the establishment of regional Centers and its networks; the selection of best available technologies; the diffusion of new technology; resolve issues related to IPRs; support R&D for hard and soft technologies as well as enable capacity building including skills training programs to its Network.
Bangladesh also envisioned the governance structure of the CTC to comprise of an Expert Group that will provide strategic guidelines to the CTC for technology selection, review, assessment, evaluation, and monitoring of technology innovation, development, deployment and diffusion as requested by its Networks. It also advocated the need for a secretariat that will be responsible for day-to-day management and in supporting the Expert Group.
It also proposed the creation of Regional Climate Technology Centers (RCTCs) to be set up in all the UN Regions as Networks of the CTC, with mandates of the RCTCs being similar to that of the CTC.
Japan’s Mr. Jun Arima said that the main tasks of the CTC is to provide advice to developing country governments on technology needs assessment, low carbon development strategies and nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) through its Regional Centers. It would also support developing countries to identify technology options and conduct capacity building/training programs and facilitate communications among “networks” of national, regional, sectoral and international technology centers, networks, organization and initiatives.
The CTC is also to provide support and advice to CTC&N members/network organizations to develop and implement projects related to technology transfer.
Mr. Can Wang of
On the linkage between the TM and the financial
Dr. Carola Borja of
As regards the policy functions of the TEC,
On the enabling functions, Ecuador said that the TEC should provide the means to facilitate the establishment of technology transfer sharing arrangements between providers and users; find enough resources to transfer technology; build institutional arrangements so that developing countries can have easy access to technology providers; encourage developing countries to conduct their technology needs assessments; facilitate the mapping of technologies available from developed countries; foster the exchange of experiences and technological solutions and once a technology is developed, it becomes part of the public domain for easy and fast transfer to countries who are in need of it.
It said that the TEC should recommend actions to address the barriers to technology transfer through policies and enabling functions and deal with the necessity of applying a flexible system of IPRs with respect to clean technologies.
Mr. Aziwimpheleli Makwarela of South Africa proposed some additional functions of the TEC which included examining the draft work programme and the budget of the CTC and making recommendations to the governing body of the TM (represented by the Parties); reviewing the implementation of the approved work programme and reporting back to the governing body; elaborating on the medium and long-term potential of the CTC’s programmes and planning, including specialized and new fields of research, and making recommendations to the governing body and assisting the heads of the CTC&N on all substantive, scientific and technical matters concerning the activities of the CTC, including co-operation with other centres and networks.
Mr. Martin Khor of the South Centre was one of the experts invited to share perspectives on the form and content of the TM. He said that the big challenge was to combine the big policy issues relating to technology transfer, while seeking to stimulate a bottom-up approach.
He said that the functions of the TM must include helping developing countries identify technology needs in the different sectors; help to assess which technologies are suitable (environmentally-sound, socially appropriate and efficient economically) and identify the policy and other barriers for access to technologies at affordable prices.
Khor said that there were three kinds of technologies relevant to this discussion viz. technologies in the public domain which needed to be expanded; technologies with proprietary rights, where there is scope to exploit the flexibilities under the WTO’s TRIPS (Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement, including compulsory licensing; and future technologies that require international cooperation in R&D and for this to be in the public domain and that could be funded by the TM.
Khor said that adaptation of technology relates to transfer skills, equipment and climbing up the technology chain. The role of the public and private sector such as SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) need to be supported as well as public sector investment especially in energy and water.
He highlighted that in technology needs assessments (TNAs), the issue of greenhouse gases was only one aspect. Other aspects that are critical to the TNA process include sustainable development aspects such as jobs creation, poverty, health and social and economic cost factors.
He stressed the need for a bottom-up process that helps build technological capacity at the base in developing countries. He said that while the Network can be dense with bases at the country level, the global structure of the CTC should be quite light. He cautioned against a big top heavy global CTC structure.
In this context, Khor gave two examples of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and the Montreal Protocol Fund (related to ozone depletion) models. In the case of the Montreal Fund, he pointed out that it works because they established ozone national focal points in various countries. The CTC could function in a similar fashion as the IPCC or the Montreal Protocol Fund with a light secretariat, voluntary technical committees plus networks utilizing an implementing agency such as the UNDP (UN Development Programme).
Mr. Emile Frison from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) shared some lessons. He said that it was important to keep the TM simple and avoid complexity so that there could be creativity without a bureaucratic organization. There is need to build trust and the principles must be agreed to before legal experts write agreements.
Mr. Mark Radka from UNEP said that from its case studies, attributes of successful centres and networks showed that there must be shared interests among partners, with strong incentives for collaboration; stable and long-term funding and political support; clearly defined missions and metrics; open and efficient information sharing; commitment from senior managers; participation of both public and private sectors; flexibility to respond to evolving conditions and opportunities; integrated approaches to R&D, demonstration and deployment; appropriately sized networks for effective cooperation and provision for capacity building of members where needed.
Many of these issues raised in the April workshop
are expected to be considered at the June meeting of the AWG-LCA in
(* With inputs from Majorie Williams)