Info Service on Climate Change (Jul13/06)
Sixth TEC meeting addresses wide range of issues
Kuala Lumpur, July 9 (Hilary Chiew) – The UNFCCC’s Technology Executive Committee (TEC) held its sixth meeting in Bonn from 26 to 28 June, 2013.
It discussed many issues in addition to that of intellectual property rights and technology transfer. (See TWN Climate Info dated 9 July on ‘UNFCCC Technology Committee debates IPR issue’).
The other matters addressed at the meeting were the following: Technology needs assessments (TNAs); technology roadmaps; technology briefs; collaboration with other relevant institutional arrangements under and outside the UNFCCC; thematic dialogue on ‘research, development and demonstration of environmentally-sound technologies (ESTs)’.
Members were also was given an update on the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The Chair of the TEC for 2013 is Antonio Plfuger (Germany), while Gabriel Blanco (Argentina) is the Vice-Chair.
Technology Needs Assessments (TNAs)
Zitouni Ould-Dada of UNEP presented an update on current support and implementation of TNAs. He said phase one of the TNAs process covered a wide range of countries with good geographical distribution. On the mitigation side, almost half of the TNAs are on energy (40%) followed by transport (15%), agriculture (12%), industry (12%) and others (21%). For adaptation, countries focused on water (35%), agriculture (31%), coastal zone (9%) and others 25%).
He said there is a diversity of needs from the countries and the design needs to take into account the diversities. In total, 32 TNAs, 30 technology action plans (TAPs), 30 reports on barriers and enabling frameworks and 30 project ideas were completed. (The work on TNAs under the Poznan Strategic Programme is supported by the Global Environment Facility, and implemented by UNEP).
Other project outputs included 9 guidebooks with the latest four on – financing adaptation, financing mitigation, mitigation in the building sector and mitigation in the agriculture sector – launched in September 2012. Among the application of the outcomes of the TNAs and TAPs were: preparation of national climate change strategies, specifying mitigation and adaptation targets and defining regulatory framework and policies.
He said many countries found the TNA process useful and is linked to policy objectives of the country like its national sustainable development plan. He said the new GEF TNA project covering 24 countries for phase two has been cleared in April 2013 and the first draft of the full project document is being finalised.
The UNEP presentation was followed by the UNFCCC secretariat presentation on the preparation of the 3rd synthesis report of the TNAs which had covered 21 TNAs and 21 TAPs reports respectively, with a further 11 TNAs and 9 TAPs to be uploaded onto the project website at http://tech-action.org It said new TNAs often include TAPs, barrier analysis and project proposal reports, separately for mitigation and adaptation areas. The report is scheduled for completion by August and will be submitted for consideration at the 39th Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 39).
Krzysztof Klincewicz (Poland) said the secretariat synthesis report is important and showed that there is still a lot of work to be done. The TAP, which is a major qualitative report, can be taken to donors. On barriers and enabling environment, he said it might be difficult to have specific conclusions based on general information in the document.
Vice-Chair Blanco informed that by the next TEC meeting in September, the advanced version of the TNA brief and the third synthesis report on TNAs will be ready. TEC will have enough information to advance our work and hear from other organisations outside. He suggested a workshop to present the 3rd synthesis report and receive inputs which would be timely before COP19.
Nagmeldin ElHassan (Sudan) supported this and said it might be time to promote the financing of technology development in developing countries with the workshop as a starting point to get some views. Klincewicz (Poland) is supportive of focusing on making TNAs operational and securing funding.
Griffin Thompson (US) endorsed the workshop idea, saying this is a good transition in turning rhetoric of TNA into reality. This is part of the message to the COP that we have feasible and tangible projects.
Wang Can (China) welcomed the follow-up actions on TNAs, adding that the workshop should be well-defined and not just sharing information as there are already a number of workshops on TNAs. It should draw lessons to enhance implementation of TNAs and suggestions to address parallel issues in both TEC and CTCN.
Seyed Mohammad Sadeghzadeh (Iran) said with clear output from TNAs, the TEC can approach the Green Climate Fund (GCF)to fund research and development for different region.
In response, Kunihiko Shimada (Japan) and Pfluger (Germany) said the GCF has no money to support this idea and the former said such projects should be carried out by the CTCN.
Vice-Chair Blanco said the joint workshop is a process that flows nicely from now to the COP, culminating in a side-event during the COP to present the development of TNAs under the TEC.
Several Annex 1 members raised their concerns on the inconsistency in the terminology used in the draft briefs which were circulated earlier, referring to the document TEC/2013/6/4 titled ‘draft technology policy brief’.
Japan, United States and Ireland disagreed with the term ‘policy’ and preferred to revert back to the original terminology which is ‘technology brief’.
Vice-chair Blanco then explained that the taskforce decided to combine the two original briefs – a technology brief on the results of the TNAs and a technology brief on the integration of TNAs with other nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).
The brief was prepared to inform national level decision makers on the results of the TNA process and on inter-linkages and possible integration between currently individual process of TNA, NAMAs and NAPs with a view to avoid duplication of efforts of countries in the planning process and to enhance the implementation of mitigation and adaptation actions.
Klincewicz (Poland) presented the first draft of a technology brief on TRMs. He said based on the analyses there is no perfect roadmap that complies with all the criteria and nobody expects the TEC to produce the perfect roadmap; hence the title of the report did not mention roadmap but best practices for implementation of technologies for mitigation and adaptation.
Jukka Uosukainen (Finland) liked the paper especially the point on how the roadmap is related to the TAPs and TNAs and perhaps this is the part to be shown to the outside world and cautioned against starting NAMAs and NAPAs (National Adaptation Programmes of Action) before assessing the technology challenge.
Members discussed about striving for consistency, coherence and clear messages to the COP, financiers and industry in presenting the briefs, including the engaging of a technical writer.
Thompson (US) said a roadmap is just a means but the broader end is technology transfer so each of the brief needs messages to contribute to the end goal as the Parties intended. Blanco said members need to find the added value of these briefs and need to make some recommendations. Uosukainen (Finland) agreed that members could give some operative recommendations based on the brief.
ElHassan (Sudan) supported Shimada’s (Japan) suggestion to discuss the role of brief. He proposed that the secretariat develop a concept paper on this matter.
Based on comments collected from members on the draft technology brief on TRMs Klincewicz (Poland) informed that the amended brief has been forwarded to the secretariat.
Chair Pfulger asked members to submit further comments to the secretariat which would be put forward to the taskforce before finalising the paper for the next TEC meeting.
Matthew Kennedy (Ireland) requested the secretariat to formulate a communication plan to disseminate technology brief, targeting particularly policy makers, to be presented at the next meeting. ElHassan (Sudan) wanted the TEC to develop a promotional guidance on how to prepare and use TRM.
Technology brief on adaptation
Chair Pfluger (Germany) reported that two possible topics for technology briefs on adaptation were chosen based on the secretariat’s 2nd synthesis report on technology needs identified by non-Annex 1 Parties. To ensure coherence and collaboration with other bodies under the Convention, the Adaptation Committee (AC) was consulted to seek its views on possible topics for the brief.
Pfluger said according to the 2nd synthesis report, the three adaptation technologies mostly identified by non-annex 1 Parties in their TNAs were crop management, land management and systematic observation. The taskforce would like to propose the first two technologies for adaptation as possible topics for the technology briefs on adaptation to be developed by the TEC in the course of this year. This has been communicated to the AC.
Several Annex 1 members preferred to wait for concrete responses from the AC for further collaboration while non-Annex 1 members felt that the TEC can lead in a pro-active manner.
Thompson (US) said members have two options: decide on the topics ourselves or wait for the AC to response on the topics for collaboration, adding that he would recommend the latter to show respect to the synergies between organisations. It is foolish to ignore the AC and go ahead with the brief. He preferred to wait for the AC to catch up as there was no passionate response from them to jointly draft the way forward.
Uosukainen (Finland) also believed that the TEC should wait before going ahead. He said this is a typical push and pull issue, adding that we need to wait for the pull. He said the adaptation community been working for quite many years (referring to other processes that deal with adaptation) and if they cannot tell us to who we should provide the technology, then this is a matter of concern.
Kennedy (Ireland) said the AC is new and welcomed the positive development with AC. He said it is prudent to wait a little as there is a huge risk without the AC engagement. That does not mean the TEC cannot be proactive as we can help them to shape what they want us to deliver by attending their meeting but we need them onboard to move forward, he added.
Blanco (Argentina) believed that TEC is in the position to lead in preparing the brief to inform the Parties and the broader audience. Although he agreed that TEC can look for more collaboration as indicated by the AC, he was concerned that TEC is waiting for the AC to act. Noting that the AC is agreeable to the topics proposed, he said he is not sure if the waiting mode is good, stressing that the TEC is in a position to deliver and collaborate at the same time.
Thompson (US) in response, urged members not to put too much weight on the word ‘wait’. Agreeing with Kennedy (Ireland) on that it is a huge risk to go ahead unilaterally, he said the TEC can keep pushing forward to engage and report this process to the COP but it absolutely cannot risk having a product on adaptation where the AC is not a core partner.
Klincewicz (Poland) said the TEC can be pro-active by suggesting something, express its intent and maybe pushing the AC for their opinion and suggested creating basic terms of reference for the brief.
ElHassan (Sudan) said the TEC should not just wait for the AC and has a task to do. Referring to the two topics selected by the taskforce for the brief, he said crop management and land management are broad areas and we should try to understand exactly what are the technologies required in these two areas and urged members to elaborate further on them.
Wang (China) said although topics were identified, the TEC needs to know the key elements for further discussion within the committee and need not wait for confirmation from the AC. And if the key areas of the topics are identified, we have to think of scaling up technologies for the topics in terms of technology cooperation, development and transfer.
Regarding the brief, he said the TEC has different mandate (from the AC) so it need not wait for further signal. The TEC can prepare the brief and can work based on contributions from members, which defines the linkage where information flows from the TEC to the AC. He said another type of linkage is that for some other topics, the AC can request the TEC for contributions or views. Therefore, he sees value and importance for the TEC to keep going and identify the key elements.
Shimada (Japan) said the AC is a new institution that is still in the middle of its work and not ready yet for calls from the TEC. He said this taskforce, unlike the others, is supposed to work with those appointed by the AC and may have to wait for their response. On systematic observation, he said it is important for the TEC to incorporate expertise from external organisations in order to produce a good technology brief on it.
Sadeghzadeh (Iran) said TEC needs to collaborate with the AC as this is a linkage and that TEC has to be responsible to the COP, adding that fortunately, the response from the AC was positive and the TEC should be pro-active. In his opinion, systematic observation is not a topic but a tool.In reply, Pfulger (Germany) said systematic observation is a prerequisite for adaptation actions.
Amel Zouaoui (Algeria) supported the need for the TEC to keep pushing for more collaboration with the AC. As the TEC, there is need to think about best ways to improve collaboration with the AC and suggested a joint meeting and workshop with the AC and also invite other institutions dealing with adaptation topic.
Thompson (US) said the TEC has not heard from the AC about what are their priorities. In practical terms, he said, the TEC needs expertise to write the brief but the expertise lies in the AC.
Blanco (Argentina) disagreed that the AC has the expertise. TEC is the one supposed to have the expertise or get it from somewhere. He believed it is the TEC that should lead the brief on technology for adaptation and feed the negotiations regarding technologies. He found it strange that suddenly the TEC is depending on others to do the work. He proposed to have a deeper discussion on the technologies and invite the AC to participate in the next TEC meeting. He stressed that the TEC is the technology expert and people are waiting for it to deliver on technologies.
The secretariat noted that Albert Binger (Jamaica) is the adaptation expert in the TEC and assured members that the secretariat is ready to support the TEC and the AC. In response, Kennedy (Ireland) agreed with Thompson that TEC may not have the right expertise although may have adaptation expertise in the committee, reiterating the risks involved.
Uosukainen reiterated his concerns that the same people in the adaptation process have been doing this for a long time and yet do not seem to know what they want. He wanted the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) and the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) to be involved when the TEC talks about crop management.
Thompson then made the following suggestions: Chair Pfulger to draft a reply to the AC’s Chair, the taskforce to have a conversation with the group in the AC and a workshop with experts, industry and observers to ensure buy-in from these communications and the outcome from these stakeholders will form the brief. He also contemplated a side event under SBSTA in June, 2014. To a question from Blanco on the outcome of the workshop, Thompson said the final step is the least thought out but foresees that after the workshop, the drafting of the brief will proceed and by next June, we either have a final or draft version of the technology brief on adaptation.
Omedi Moses Jura (Kenya) noted that developing countries are always responding to emergencies and before they have a chance to adapt. He said that is why we have loss and damage in the negotiations. He hoped the proposed workshop will bring out the complexity of the problems.
ElHassan (Sudan) said if the idea of workshop is agreeable to everyone, then we may have to define its scope to help us to get information around technology transfer and barriers involved. Wang (China) asked if there should be a new taskforce to take over this new task.
Thompson replied that for the next stage, it will benefit the TEC and the AC if we have a reconfiguration of the taskforce without prejudging who will be on the new taskforce.
Pfluger (Germany) said the taskforce will continue to play a role. He asked for volunteers for the new taskforce to which Kennedy asked if it is not premature to decide on the taskforce before deciding on the specific idea. Pfluger replied that the starting point is the workshop which will structure the brief.
Collaboration with other relevant institutional arrangements under the Convention
Chair Pfluger, who is also a member of the linkage taskforce, reported that the secretariat had undertaken a mapping exercise and identified the AC and the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) as institutions that the TEC can collaborate by providing inputs and attending workshops or expert meetings on means of implementation as well as providing views of the TEC on long-term finance as an input to the work programme on long-term finance.
Regarding priority areas and specific topics for collaboration, Wang (China) said financial support for technology transfer is very crucial and should be discussed.
Uosukainen (Finland) asked why the TEC has not mentioned that it is ready for engagement with the GEF which is funding the Poznan Strategic Programme on technology. He also highlighted that one of the issues that emerged from the Ad-hoc Working Group on Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) session in June was that of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Notwithstanding that the discussion on the matter has been political, he said there is insufficient information on the technology. TEC needs more discussion on this so that it can inform Parties, noting that there are Parties that strongly wanted the issue to be handled by the UNFCCC (instead of moving this greenhouse gas to the Montreal Protocol as it is not an ozone depleting substance). He requested the TEC to invite the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) of the Montreal Protocol to give a status report on what they had done and why it is a problem. He lamented that the Montreal Protocol has been financing the use of HFCs and giving the UNFFCC the problem, referring to the increase of emissions from this GHG.
On GEF, Thompson (US) responded that the CTCN is working with the GEF Council to provide financial support via its sixth replenishment.
Recalling decision 3/CP.17 that requested the board of the GCF to collaborate with the TEC, Vice-Chair Gabriel Blanco said it is either the GCF takes the lead or the TEC can remind it and provide modalities to do that. He said it is an important linkage to be established. He suggested for the Chair and Vice-Chair of the TEC to send letters of invitation for collaboration to the GCF, LEG (Least Developed Countries Expert Group) and CGE (Consultative Group of Experts).
Pfluger raised concerns that there is not enough time to establish all linkages as so far there are requests for linkages to the Montreal Protocol, the GEF and now the GCF. Klincewicz (Poland) said on HFCs, there is a lot of missing information and supported Finland’s idea to invite the TEAP of the Montreal Protocol.
Shimada (Japan) said on writing to the GCF, it was premature and preferred to wait for the outcome of the GCF board meeting (which took place from 26-28 June in Songdo, South Korea.) Thompson (US) and Ousukainen (Finland) shared the same view.
On HFCs, although it is important, Shimada said TEC has a packed agenda and wanted it to be discussed at the next meeting or next year.
Eduardo Naboa (Ecuador) said it is important to start a dialogue with entities specialised in intellectual property rights (IPRs) and that IPRs is an issue to be put on the table and analysed. A first approach could be a joint study between the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and TEC about the role that IPRs as as enabling elements and barriers in technology development and transfer.
Wang (China) supported making linkages with bodies that work on trade and IPRs to enhance the work of TEC. On HFCs, he agreed that it is more political than technical.
Finland, US, Ireland, Japan and Australia wanted more concrete details on how the TEC can collaborate with the long-term finance work-programme. Shimada (Japan) suggested drawing the experience of work from the Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT). He agreed with Thompson (US) that either the Chair or vice-Chair of TEC to attend the next long-term finance meeting in the Philippines. Kennedy (Ireland) supported the attendance of the TEC representatives but wanted a stronger message than just reiterating that TEC is ready to engage.
Wang (China) shared the views on referring to the EGTT’s reports to contribute to the long-term finance work programme adding that the TEC contribution could focus on several aspects where it has the mandate such as on technological activities.
China, Ireland, Argentina and Australia volunteered for the taskforce mandated to review and review existing technology-related work on long-term finance.
Chair Pfluger said there was no consensus yet on HFCs and the letter to WIPO. The matters will be included in the agenda item of the 7th TEC meeting.
Thematic dialogue on research, development and demonstration of environmentally-sound technologies (RD&D of ESTs)
He shared two success stories – the deployment of photovoltaic (PV) in China and solar home system in Kenya. He said China had long experience with PV since its usage in the rural areas in the 1970s and soaring demand for PV from Japan and Germany spurred the birth of private company Suntech and China being the leading producer of PV from 2007. Relationship with foreign expertise has led to collaborative R&D.
To a question from Wang (China) on the lessons to be learnt from the bankruptcy of Suntech, Dr Byrne said he did not know why Suntech became bankrupt.
Second presenter, Emile Frison of Bioversity International said temperature rise, changes in growing conditions, new pests and diseases, water scarcity and desertification impact agriculture deeply. Risks are increasing for small farmers and we need to adapt with agricultural systems that produce more and better food under harsher conditions while protecting the environment. He noted that stability of production system increases with diversity of the system. In Africa, it was observed that where rainfall pattern is lowest, farmers tend to have greater diversity which is part of traditional knowledge that has been ignored by modern science. He said participatory breeding is necessary with farmers’ management of genetic diversity for adaptation. Genetic resources collections in gene banks are not enough and must be complemented by farmers’ varieties which adapt faster. Wild relatives of crops are important for adaptation to climate change while it is also under threat from climate change making it critical for in situ conservation.
To a question from Uosukainen (Finland) on the role of TEC with regards to the work of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), Frison emphasised that adaptation technologies already exists and TEC can play an important role in addressing issues like crop management in a multi-sectoral approach and any collaboration will be welcomed.
A panel discussion ensued with the following speakers – James Wilde of Carbon Trust; Arturo Martinez of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research of Argentina; Linus Mofor of the International Renewable Energy Agency; Allison Mages of General Electric; Jonathan Coony of World Bank, Carrie Pottinger of International Energy Agency (via skype) together with Dr Byrne and Frison. The panellists shared their views on three questions: 1. Which cooperative RD&D structures (bilateral, multilateral) currently exist in which areas and what good practices and lessons can be learned from them? 2. What role do the public and private sectors play in cooperative RD&D and what is the impact? How can the effectiveness be improved? How can cooperation be enhanced? 3. What could be the role of the Technology Mechanism in enhancing and improving cooperative RD&D under north-south, south-south and other schemes?
Speakers touched on the opportunities and challenges, need for sound government policies, incentives and risk management.
Chair Pfulger in summing up the thematic dialogue said the TEC learnt of numerous existing collaborations existing and are doing important work and that it takes years to build up the expertise in dealing with new technologies and innovation on specific technology at the local level plays a key role in technology diffusion. The TEC is expected to bring issues up at the level of policy-making and facilitate exchanges of joint RD&D in universities, north-south and south-south cooperation schemes. Multilateral arrangements can play strong role in promoting best practices and avoid mistakes.
Matters relating to CTCN
Chair Antonio Plfuger in updated members on the first meeting of the Advisory Board (AB) of the CTCN. He said 36 countries had nominated their respective national designated entity (NDE) including one NDE which represented 10 countries. (The first AB meeting was held between 14 and 15 May in Copenhagen, Denmark.)
Griffin Thompson (United States) who is also the Chair of the AB of the CTCN, said, noting the poor response from developing countries in setting up of the NDE, UNEP has been tasked to draw up guidance and members of the AB had reviewed it. He stressed that the guidance is an unofficial communication and non-prescriptive and that it laid out in general terms what will help countries to determine who in the country is in the best position to be the NDE.
Next TEC meeting
The next meeting will be held from 4 to 7 of September in Bonn.