Objectives of the group in terms of debate and product

  • To make a proposal that ensures the development and transfer of technology to developing countries by developed countries in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  
  • To analyse and propose alternatives to overcome the different barriers of market, intellectual property, financing and others which restrict and/or hinder the development and transfer of technology to developing countries.
  • To analyse the Understanding of  Copenhague regarding this matter.

Main issues to be discussed by the group

  • How to ensure the compliance with the commitment of developed countries transferring technology to developed countries as established in the UNFCCC?
  • Why does the scheme for carbon market have failed to comply with the commitments of development and transfer of technology? 
  • What are the particularities (institutional structure, governance, financing, etc.) of a mechanism whereby the process of development and transfer of technology to developing countries is effective, efficient and sustained.
  • How to overcome the barriers of intellectual property and others hindering the development and transfer of technology to developing countries? 
  • Which measures should be put in place to reassess and spread the endogenous capacities and technologies of developing countries?
  • What are the reasons why the Copenhague Accord (Understanding of Copenhague) does not ensure the development and transfer of technology?

Background

Development and Transfer of Technology  in the context of the Convention

Article 4 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change acknowledges that a process is required to face climate change allowing the development, diffusion, application, deployment, adaptation and transfer of technologies to developing countries to adapt to and mitigate climate change, as well as  strengthening the endogenous technologies of said countries.

The process of technology transfer in the context of the UNFCCC is currently being carried forward mainly by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice  and by the Group of Experts on Technology Transfer who shall have the following functions:

Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice  (SBSTA)

The SBSTA was established in the first Conference of the Parties (COP) of  the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in August 1995 to provide COP and other subsidiary bodies as appropiate, timely information and advice on scientific and technological matters relating to the Convention.

The SBSTA shall be formed by a multidisciplinary group comprising government representatives competent in the relevant field of expertise.

Expert Group on Technology Transfer  (EGTT)

The main objective of EGTT is to enhance the implementation of the commitments related to the transfer of technology within the framework of the Convention and to carry out such activities related to the transfer of technology under the Convention.

Additionally, this body shall analyse and identify ways to facilitate and carry out such activities related to the transfer of technology and to issue recommendations to SBSTA.

The members of this body will be elected by parties to the Convention.  

Current situation on the compliance of the commitment for Development and Transfer of Technology.

Despite the fact that this commitment was made more than 15 years ago, so far  it has not been made effective.

There are a series of barriers within the current system that restrict or limit the development and transfer of technologies to face climate change in developing countries:  

-       The high cost of technologies.       

-       Intellectual Property Rights. 

-       The unsuitability of technology to the reality of developing countries.

-       Developing countries are not keeping up with research output.

-       Deficiencies in technology maintenance in developing countries. 

Until now the concept has prevailed that the carbon market through the Clean Development Mechanism will be the main source of technology transfer.

Developing countries buy technology at market prices for a project to reduce emissions (in fact it is not a transfer).  Later on such generations are bought in the carbon market (MDL) by developed countries to be incorporated within their commitment to reduce at lower prices.

An efficient and effective mechanism to identify the technological needs  in developing countries, to address and eliminate the barriers that hinder compliance with the commitment to develop and transfer technologies to developing countries is non existent.

There are a series of barriers of intellectual property rights for development and transfer of technology to developing countries that should be addressed and eliminated in order to face the challenges of climate change in developing countries.  

Some proposals under discussion  

The following is a summary of some of the main proposals on development and transfer of technology within the process of international negotiations on climate change.

-     Colombia: Is proposing a technological mechanism to be applied under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties (COP) for financing, access, suitability, adaptation and capacity building for such technologies required in developing countries for adaptation and mitigation, as well as the removal of barriers to development and transfer of technology.

Such mechanism comprises a Multilateral Climate Fund for Technology, a Committee on Compliance and EGTT as consulting body.

-     India: Is proposing the establishment of a Board on Technology to develop strategies and plans of action on technology, monitoring the implementation of policies, lines of action and administrative agreements to achieve the objectives set forth in a Fund for Climate Change Technology.  The members of the Board will be elected by the COP on the basis of a balanced representation of the Parties not included in Annex 1.                                                                                                                              

-     Japan:  The support for the promotion of technology transfer should be provided to developing countries that have already adopted policies, measures to reduce greenhouse gas emisions and who have made efforts to enhance the business environment to accelerate the transfer of technology.

Is proposing the establishment of a consulting group for technology cooperation that will identify effective technologies, analyse the current situation on technology transfer, analyse the barriers to the transfer, identify measures to accelerate the transfer of technology and review the outcome of such measures.                                                                                                                               

The funds that may be used to speed up the transfer of technology should be discussed. Programmes based on criteria such as cost-efficiency and others such as the Clean Technology Fund of the World Bank.

-     Bolivia:  Points out that the existing system of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) include a series of flexibilities designed to reduce the impact of  IPR when they become a barrier to access and transfer.  In this sense and regarding climate change such flexibilities should be expanded to ensure that the technological needs of developing countries to adapt to and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change should be addressed.                                 

With this understanding proposes that any international agreement on IPR should not be construed as restricting or preventing the Parties thereto to address climate change, including the development and transfer of technology.

The necessary steps should be taken at fora to exclude patents in developing countries for technologies that are environmentally sound; the necessary measures should be taken to facilitate technological centres that include knowledge and market secrets.

To create and provide immediately fresh and additional financial resources for the establishment of technological centres of excellence in developing countries for research in technologies of adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

Ensure that the transfer of technology is conducted in a manner that guarantees its effective and immediate use.

There is a document which is the result of the work by AWG-LCA, COP 15 in Copenhague, Denmark.  However, the substantial contents of said documents are not reflected in the Understanding of Copenhague.

The Understanding of Copenhague proposes the establishment of a Technological Mechanism to speed up the development and transfer of technology as support to the adaptation and mitigation guided by a process led by the countries on the basis of national priorities and circumstances.

All elements contained in the negotiation text developed at COP 15 are not included in the Understanding of Copenhague among which are the following:   

-  Principles of cooperation action on technology.

-  Activities to be supported.

-  Institutional architecture of the Technological Mechanism.

-  Governance and functions of the Technological Mechanism.           

-  Liaison with  the Technological Mechanism.           

-  Barriers to the Development and Transfer of  Technology.

-  Capacity Building and Strenghtening.

Reference Documents:

-       United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

-       Kyoto Protocol.

-       Bali Action Plan.

-       Submissions by the Parties contained in documents:  FCCC/AWGLCA/ 2008/MISC.1 / FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/MISC.9, including addenda and    complements.

-       Non-paper No. 47 6/11/09 @ 13:00 CONTACT GROUP ON ENHANCED ACTION ON DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY.

-        Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative

Action under the Convention. Enhanced action on technology development and transfer.

-        Copehague Accord.

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