TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Mar14/03)
11 March 2014
Third World Network  

UNFCCC: Technology Executive Committee finalises workplan for 2014-2015

Bonn, 11 March (Hilary Chiew)  –  The Technology Executive Committee (TEC) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has finalised its 2014-2015 rolling workplan and continues to consider linkages between the technology and financial mechanisms of the Convention.

This took place at the TEC’s eighth meeting on 5-7 March in Bonn.

Daniel Buira Clark (Mexico), Victoriia Shtets (Ukraine) and Karma Tshering (Bhutan) were elected for their first term while Omedi Moses Jura (Kenya), Seyed Mohammad Sadeghzadeh (Iran), Gabriel Blanco (Argentina), Eduardo Noboa (Ecuador) and Matthew Kennedy (Ireland) were re-elected for the second term.

Jukka Ousukainen (Finland) who was re-elected has since resigned and been appointed as director of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) while Timothy Sill (Australia) who was also re-elected was replaced by Stig Svenningsen (Norway) .

The meeting was presided over by the newly-elected Chair Gabriel Blanco (Argentina) and Vice-Chair Kunihiko Shimada (Japan). 

In his opening speech as the Chair, Blanco noted that linkage between the financial mechanism and technology mechanism is the most important element of the TEC work. He urged members to deepen analysis of the technology needs assessment following the production of the three technology briefs as well as building on the work done on enablers and barriers to technology transfer. He also stressed the importance of engaging observers in a more fruitful way.

Vice-Chair Shimada viewed the workshop approach as the way to go for matters under the TEC to enable active participation of stakeholders outside the TEC. For technology briefs, he asked if there should be further elaboration on the respective issues in the form of technical paper and if there are other specific topics for more technology briefs, stating further the need to be realistic on the key work given the time constraint.

Workplan for 2014-2015

Members of the TEC differed in their views on the number of remaining meetings for the year (2014). Developed country members were generally opposed to having a total of three meetings for the year while developing country members insisted on this in order to have a meaningful outcome of the workplan.

Discussion was initiated at TEC7 last September for the development of the rolling workplan for 2014-2015 based on various contextual elements such as specific decisions and request of the Conference of the Parties (COP), Technology Need Assessments reports, work and activities of the CTCN, inputs from other bodies under and outside of the Convention, and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

A draft workplan structured around five strategic objectives, each comprising a set of activities to enable it to be more coherent and achieve more targeted and effective outcomes, was provided to to members to guide the discussion.

The objectives are:

1.     Promote coherence and synergy within the Technology Mechanism to facilitate its effective implementation;

2.     Recommend actions to strengthen the technology needs assessment (TNA) process and enhance the implementation of the results of the TNA;

3.     Promote enabling environments and recommend actions to address barriers to technology development and transfer;

4.     Collaborate on specific areas of work with stakeholders and institutions under and outside of the Convention;

5.     Promote medium and long-term strategies and activities on technology development and transfer to accelerate actions on mitigation and adaptation.

Kryzsztof Klincewicz (Poland) said objective one is more of an underlying principle but we need something more tangible as objectives must be result-oriented. When we talk about TNA, it should not just be about strengthening but to provide guidance as this is an area the TEC can show some leadership.

Several members suggested building on the activities of the 2012-2013 workplan. The general comments of members were captured and incorporated in a revised version in a table which was further deliberated on the second day.

The revised workplan outlined five sets of activities and their respective deliverables and indicative timelines as well as their link to the COP mandate and implications on resources.

Nagmeldin El-Hassan (Sudan) suggested putting a timeframe to the activities so as to set the priorities and start working. Wang Can (China) supported, stressing that we should focus on actions and activities and not waste more time.

Antonio Pfulger (Germany) said it is not a question about prioritising or not but we should work based on the mandates and that we separate substance objective from managerial objective, adding that his priority on substantial issues would be a workshop on enabling environment and a technology brief each for adaptation and mitigation.

Kryzsztof Klincewicz (Poland) agreed that it is not about prioritising but it is about key activities that link to certain ends that we are supposed to deliver.

Chair Gabriel Blanco (Argentina) said the interlinkages between the technology mechanism and financial mechanism should be carried out this year and not just confined to a thematic dialogue and executing it in 2015 is too late. To concerns about the amount of work, he said some work can be conducted without meeting as they can be done with conference calls, referring to the establishment of taskforces for specific activities.

Griffin Thompson (United States) said he had similar concerns as Matthew Kennedy (Ireland) about the number of meetings. He said there are two emerging future issues – urbanisation and emergence of information and communication technology (ICT) – which the TEC should pay attention to. He said cities are at the frontline of adaptation and mitigation and we have to think of programme to include cities. He said ICT could be incorporated as part of a suit of technologies for both mitigation and adaptation. He would also like to know how societies react to the technology they are getting and what are the cultural and political impacts.

Members of the TEC differed in their views on the number of remaining meetings for the year (2014) with developed country members generally opposed to, and developing country members strongly supporting, a total of three meetings.

Chair Blanco agreed that there are new issues for the TEC to consider but it must be reconciled with work that we need to deliver to Parties but he welcomed concrete initial steps to be tabled at the next TEC meeting.

Vice-Chair Kunihiko Shimada (Japan) suggested creating a taskforce or working group on ICT.

Karma Tshering (Bhutan) said from the LDC point of view, TEC can help in implementing the Technology Action Plans (TAPs) that were developed. One missing element is guidance for the financial mechanism to support the implementation so that we can learn from the experiences.

Nagmeldin El-Hassan (Sudan) said we should make concrete deliverables by continuing to do what we had been doing and address the challenges like capacity. He said COP decisions are needed to support the implementation of TAPs and the results of TNAs (technology needs assessments) and linking the TNAs with Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs).

He suggested a workshop on enablers and barriers for South-South cooperation by considering the barriers identified by the TNA reports.

Seyed Mohammad Sadeghzadeh (Iran) reminded that time is limited and we should not forget about our priorities. He said the main decision we should make is responding to the TNA reports.

Kryzsztof Klincewicz (Poland) agreed that we need to do something about implementing the TAPs, pointing out that one of the proposed activities is a technology brief on climate technology finance.He also said there seemed to be some sort of apprehension or fear when it comes to implementing mitigation technologies. He stressed that mitigation also brings potential benefits to societies and not just burden and that we have to look at the human side of mitigation and in the context of sustainable development.

On the importance of mitigation,Wang Can (China) said the focus for TEC would be looking at some mechanism or policy solutions to achieve capacity-building and technology transfer, stressing that mitigation technology is important and need to identify the appropriate aspect that TEC can work on.

Matthew Kennedy (Ireland) said linking the potential of mitigation with sustainable development is important. He suggested opening the door for work with business and academia to do some thematic dialogue and adopting a sectoral approach in terms of investing in energy efficiency.

On the last day of the meeting, Chair Blanco announced that six taskforces will be set up. They are:

  1. TNA – to produce a technical paper on good practices on TNAs, TAPs, project ideas, guidelines to assist Parties in implementing the results of TNAs, and recommendations to COP;
  2. Enabling environments and barriers – a workshop, technology briefs, key messages to the COP;
  3. Adaptation – identification of areas for possible further collaboration with the Adaptation Committee and technology briefs;
  4. Climate technology financing – a value proposition paper, thematic dialogue, technology briefs, key messages to the COP and recommendations to COP20 on linkages between Technology Mechanism and Financial Mechanism;
  5. Mitigation – thematic dialogue and technology briefs; and
  6. Emerging issues – internal paper summarising TEC discussion on the topic.

Nagmeldin El-Hassan (Sudan) said the workshop is important for the topic on enabling environment and barriers to enhance understanding on how national innovation systems could play an important role in addressing barriers and serving as enabling environments to technology development and transfer. He also stressed that the issue of South-South cooperation should focus more on adaptation matters as the workshop on technologies for adaptation (held on 4 March) showed that there is no flow of technologies there and we need to identify the barriers and enablers.

In supporting Nagmeldin,Wang Can (China) suggested to have the workshop early this year to give sufficient time to prepare the technology brief.

Griffin Thompson (the United States) was satisfied that the TEC has made substantive progress and felt that having three meetings for this year is too much. In the age of ICT, concern for carbon footprint and costs, he urged the TEC to demonstrate new ways of working such as ‘muscle-up’ the role of the taskforces and the utilisation of conference calls.

He was supported by Stig Svenningsen (Norway) and Kryzsztof Klincewicz (Poland) who felt that the taskforces should be given enough time to do their work.

Nagmeldin El-Hassan (Sudan) warned that even with outcomes from the taskforces, members need to discuss the outcome in a formal meeting setting, adding that a third meeting in the year is necessary.

Daniel Buira Clark (Mexico) shared the concern of El-Hassan as we need more clarity on the deliverables.

Echoing the same sentiment, Wang Can (China) said the taskforce will need to clarify how they work and agreed that another two meetings for the year is more appropriate. He said the next meeting can review the work of the taskforce and the last meeting to focus on the deliverables.

Vice-Chair Shimada (Japan) suggested reserving two meetings but if we are efficient then we can cancel the third. Alternately, he said members could have a longer meeting in September to facilitate workshops and thematic dialogues and if any taskforce needs to do a face-to-face, they could do so in the summer.

Chair Blanco (Argentina) reminded members that as there were only two meetings last year, they did not have the opportunities to deliberate on the technology briefs produced by the taskforces and warned of a similar predicament this year if members decide on only two meetings.

Matthew Kennedy (Ireland) and Griffin Thompson (the United States) supported the idea of having workshops and thematic dialogues outside of TEC meetings and the taskforces could meet in summer.

Nagmeldin El-Hassan (Sudan) said taskforces have no clear mandate and they are just following the workplan and there is a need for debriefing from the taskforces.

Stig Svenningsen (Norway) said as it is a rolling workplan, we can have three meetings next year plus we have never experienced three meetings in a year.

Griffin Thompson (the United States) said we do not need to have physical proximity to take actions. He said in his mind, the taskforces deliver by identifying recommendations for deliverables and bring them to the TEC which could make decisions via electronic means.

Matthew Kennedy (Ireland) said the world does not end in September. He said perhaps members can compromise by having a meeting in September and then determine if another meeting is possible.

Chair Blanco (Argentina) said as a compromise and to accommodate Albert Binger (Jamaica), the next meeting will be held in August with the possibility of having another meeting in October. He also announced the inclusion of observer organisations to four of the taskforces namely, TNA, adaptation, mitigation and emerging issues.

Updates on Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN)

The newly-appointed director of CTCN, Jukka Ousukainen of Finland briefed TEC members on the progress of the CTCN including recruitment of staff and the nomination of experts. He said it has a working fund of US$20 million and is engaged with multilateral funding organisations like the Global Environment Facility (GEF), adding that the GEF will be approached as the latter discusses its replenishment programme.

He said six regional seminars were held and 62 nationally designated entities (NDEs) were already nominated. The Advisory Board of the CTCN has approved the criteria of request from developing countries and the first official request was submitted a week ago by Chile on biodiversity monitoring for climate adaptation. He also said many organisations had expressed interest to join the network and are applying, including the World Intellectual Property Organisation. A private corporation from Asia and a non-governmental organisation (NGO) focusing on energy had applied to join the network, too.

On the preparation for the 3rd Advisory Board meeting (in Copenhagen on 19-21 March), he said the Board had agreed on the modalities and prioritised requests and criteria for accepting members and planned the next two years working programme. The next step would be for them to advise the CTCN on mobilisation and implementation, noting that sustainable financing from within and outside of the Convention will be discussed by the Board and there is already active discussion between the chair of the Board and the GEF. He said it is important that the Board look at more strategic issues and how the CTCN as the operative arm of the technology mechanism can contribute to the important process of negotiation.

On NDEs, he said there is an increase in the number of nominations after every regional meeting, adding that there are 62 NDEs nominated so far.

Linkages between the financial mechanism and technology mechanism

Griffin Thompson (the United States) said the TEC is obsessed with this matter. He questioned if members have been talking about it without saying what they meant but always saying create a fund and establish linkages. He said funding technology development and transfer is a combination of words and concepts that is difficult to get our heads around it. We need to deconstruct this whole concept and figure out finance for what, the whole spectrum of financial needs from research and development (R&D) to implementation and the different requests and different sources of funding. Right now, he added, we throw all these complicated components into one big concept of finance for technology development. He noted that the financial mechanism is just one element but most (financial sources) are outside the Convention.

Chair Blanco (Argentina) responded that it is the role of the TEC to answer those questions and set the priorities that complement each other and that the (people from the) financial mechanism would like to hear from the TEC. He understood that finance will come from different sources  and probably part of it will go through the financial mechanism. The TEC’s job is to help them to make better decisions on when and where to put the money.

Daniel Buira Clark (Mexico) agreed that it is the TEC’s duty to bring those answers but it is difficult to answer them on our own. He would like TEC to use the opportunity of linkages to try to work with this other mechanism and suggested a joint structure on how the two mechanisms think about this matter.

Nagmeldin El-Hassan (Sudan) said the TEC has the mandate to discuss access to technology and that involves finance. TEC is the body to provide information on priorities and maybe it is time to talk to the financial mechanism on how we fit into their work and be supportive. Referring to the findings of the Technology Needs Assessment, he said implementation is needed. He stressed that mitigation cannot be implemented without technology and therefore, the linkage has to start by at least talking to colleagues in the financial mechanism on building cooperation.

Antonio Pfulger (Germany) said the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has a list of eligible projects for financing but is not clear about the priorities, adding that TEC is more ready but the financial mechanism also has its own areas that they want to deal with.

Kryzsztof Klincewicz (Poland) said the link between finance and technology is quite obvious. Technology transfer cannot happen without financial support. He said there is room for some messages that give ideas on working together. He stressed that TEC cannot work in isolation and that we need good exchanges with the financial institutions to convey what is of priority in our view, what they need from us, and we as the technology people understand how the system works and how we can hook in.

Griffin Thompson (the United States) said it has been an extremely frustrating engagement between the CTCN’s Advisory Board and the Standing Committee on Finance (of the Convention) and the GCF. He said they are dismissive of the technology mechanism and everybody in the GEF and GCF thinks they have a fairly good knowledge (on the matter of financing technology transfer) and that they think the TEC and the Advisory Board are a nuisance and are coming for the money. He said his experience (as the Chair of the Advisory Board) has been miserable and to crack this nut, we have to be much more sophisticated, got to know precisely what they need but right now they do not see anything valuable coming from us.

Eduardo Noboa (Ecuador) said we should talk about the financial resources under the Convention and within the spectrum of technology development and transfer; we should concentrate on R&D for local technology development. He also said the resources should come from public sources of developed countries to fund developing countries’ climate technologies initiatives, adding that it is very important that the GCF starts to give priority to technology development in developing countries as one of the main areas to fund.

Antonio Pfulger (Germany) said it was quite easy to set up meeting with the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) but not with the GCF, adding that the GCF’s priority list has a number of areas that have nothing to do with what the TNA suggests. As such, questions arise as to how to connect these two bodies. He said the TEC had identified the show-stopper and these cross-cutting issues need to be resolved in terms of the capacity-building, the infrastructure, the legal framework to enhance the complementary role of the bodies.

Stig Svenningsen (Norway) said replicating the good projects will make them see the value of TEC’s work.

Wang Can (China) said financial support can be through different channels such as private, public or joint ventures and we need to think of the linkages with different financial sources. He shared the view that one of the important financial sources that should be discussed within TEC is public or government fund.

In lamenting the lack of good projects, Can said the traditional criteria of good projects is not taking into account the urgency of climate change where more ambitious plans for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries are needed. We need new sources of funding for new ideas and options, he said, stressing the importance of the linkage.

Daniel Buira Clark (Mexico) said we have a collection of case studies that we can propose in the form of a document from the TEC to the financial mechanism. Let us try to re-articulate that or do it jointly with the SCF and not to do so in isolation.

Matthew Kennedy (Ireland) said the body of work by TEC does not seem to make any inroads (with the financial mechanism people) as it is not seen as important to the work that they are doing. They may not be aware but we have to enhance the value proposition to make them aware. Certainly, it seems there is a lack of engagement, he acknowledged.

The Secretariat clarified that it is not for the technology mechanism to tell the GCF how much we want. It said the COP specifically mandated the GEF to consult the Advisory Board (of the CTCN) and the COP is looking for recommendations from the GCF and TEC. Furthermore, it said the GEF had always said that its work has been on technology transfer. Therefore, it would be useful to get the information from GEF on the type of funding and the success stories that can be replicated. We have to build the trust and respect of the two mechanisms.

Blanco (Argentina) felt that we are missing the point if we are bogged down at the personal level. We are not begging to be heard as we have the mandate from the COP and that the Chair of the bodies will change yearly. He urged members to find initial step to initiate the linkage.