UNGA Hosts Workshops on the Development, Transfer, and Dissemination of Clean Technology

UNGA31 May 2013: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) hosted Workshops 2, 3 and 4 on 'Development, transfer, and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies,' on May 1, 30, and 31 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The workshops, mandated by General Assembly resolution 67/203, held in-depth conversations on the sustainable technology of developing countries, potential for capacity building, and international frameworks for technology facilitation.

In Workshop 2, expert panelists and Member States discussed the "widespread adoption of environmentally-sound technologies." Amuj Sagar, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, presented on technology capability gaps in developing countries, in: assessment and prioritization, technological development and adaptation, and translation into application. He suggested a "system-oriented approach" to addressing these gaps, focusing on flexibility, local and international stakeholder engagement, and scalable opportunities. Imrad Ahmad, IRENA, gave a presentation on the challenges of technology diffusion, including lack of awareness, technical and installation risk, and unaffordable access. Ephraim Nkonya, International Food Policy Research Institute, discussed the need to reach small-scale farmers with incentives, supportive policies, and better market access for sustainable technologies, and to increase investments in agriculture and rural services.

The discussion theme of Workshop 3 was "capacity building to enhance the development, adoption and use of clean and environmentally sound technologies in developing countries." Lidia Brito, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), presented on barriers to innovation in developing countries, including: business fragmentation, low educational levels, weak infrastructure, poor governance systems, and nonexistent policies and research centers. Rual Cuero, International Park of Creativity, emphasized the importance of creativity and invention to build technical capacity, and introduced his organization's program to educate and empower young people to invent, patent, and license new ideas.

In Workshop 4, discussion focused on "Strengthening the international architecture for environmentally sound technology development, transfer and dissemination." Dr. Alexandra Mallet, Carleton University, discussed the rise of clean tech innovation in emerging economies and highlighted the need for processes of "technology cooperation" between the private sector, national governments, local actors and international mechanisms. Altay Altinors, Permanent Mission of Turkey, discussed his country's experience with science, technology and innovation (STI) policies, with an emphasis on creating more balanced international property rights and increasing support and cooperation between developing countries.

Amuj Sagar offered a keynote presentation at the conclusion of Workshop 4, highlighting some of the common messages from the four events. He emphasized: the cross-cutting nature of development issues; the innovation cycle and large-scale deployment for technologies; the importance of contributions from a variety of stakeholders; local capabilities and country-specific innovation needs; and the diverse projects and activities for sustainable development technology already underway. [UN Website - Workshops 1 and 2] [UN Website - Workshops 3 and 4] [Concept Note for Technology Workshops] [IISD Report on Workshop 1] [IISD RS Sources]