United Nations
Commission on Sustainable Development

Background Paper

                        Task Manager's Report on
                           AND CAPACITY-BUILDING

                             Executive Summary

     IACSD may wish to consider the following issues derived from
the present report and take decisions in terms of specific joint
activities or collaborative actions.

     Information networking:

     - Improvement of computer-based information networks and
regular means of communication within the United Nations system
at the Headquarters and field levels respectively.

     - Creation of a network of interface institutions to fill
the information gaps between environmental agencies and
industrial and other users.

     - Reinforcing assistance in identifying right sources of
information and supplementing infrastructural weaknesses, in
addition to capacity-building in technological information
handling and management.

     - Improvement of technological criteria or indicators for
"environmentally soundness", to be also reflected in patent

     Access to technology transfer:

     - Formulation of a more coherent framework for activities of
the United Nations system in technology transfer.

     - Development of an appropriate mechanism to provide needs
assessment and extension services.

     - Formulation of guidelines for technology transfer through
technical assistance, to be done through joint efforts.

     - Assistance in developing incentive systems to promote the
transfer and use of environmentally sound technologies
particularly by the private sector.

     - Enhancing collaboration to promote "softer" aspects of
technologies to be transferred.

     - Assistance in mobilization of domestic and international
resources to finance technology transfer.

     - Risk financing by international financial institutions.


     - Involvement of non-governmental organizations and
users/beneficiaries including women and the informal sector, in
decision-making and in technical capacity-building efforts.

     - Formulation of guidelines for technical assistance
provided by the Untied Nations system in supporting capacity
building in developing countries.

     - Strengthening of inter-institutional coordination at the
national level to promote consistency of policies and to resolve
conflicts of interests.

     Network of research centres

     - Enhanced promotion of collaborative research networks,
particularly of a south-south nature; sharing of research
facilities, personnel and findings among countries with common
problems or research interests.

     - Better integrated efforts among the United Nations
agencies involved in this area.

     Cooperation programmes

     - Optimization of the system-wide expertise and the limited
resources available through coordinated and joint programming.

     - Adoption of lead agency approach based on specialization
within an integrated framework.

     - Closer cooperation between the specialized agencies and
Regional Commissions.

     Technology assessment

     - Formulation of guidelines for technology assessment or
environmental impact assessment both for developing countries as
well as for executing agencies of technical assistant projects.

     - Question of a global focal point and regional focal points
for technology assessment within the United Nations system and
allocation of responsibilities.

     - Strengthening technology assessment capabilities at
national, regional and international levels, through networking
of existing institutions including those in the private sector.

     Collaborative arrangements and partnerships

     - Need to collect and disseminate case studies on
collaborative arrangements and partnerships in the private
sector, including those involving transnational corporations.

     - Scope for inter-agency cooperation in promoting and
monitoring collaborative arrangements and partnerships between
enterprises in both the public and private sectors, of North-
South as well as South-South nature.

     - Assistance in developing policy measures to promote
foreign direct investment.

     - Need for regional nodes as well as a global focal point in
exchanging information and experiences on technology-oriented
collaborative arrangements and partnerships.


     Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation
and capacity-building, discussed in chapter 34 of Agenda 21, is
one of the cross-sectoral themes to be considered annually by the
Commission on Sustainable Development in May 1994.  The Inter-
Agency Committee on Sustainable Development, at its second
session, designated the Department for Policy Coordination and
Sustainable Development (DPCSD) to be the Task Manager for this
theme, to issue a report for submission to IACSTD at its third

     The development and application of environmentally sound
technologies is a necessity for industrialized and developing
countries alike.  However, the majority of developing countries
do not yet have the necessary national scientific and technical
capacity to manage technological change.  These countries, with
possible exceptions, cannot be expected in the short run, to
acquire national capacity for the generation of new technologies.
Consequently, they will have recourse to technology transfer, for
which the national capacity to absorb and adapt environment
friendly technologies from external sources, becomes important.
Another means to be considered in parallel, will be to build on
traditional technologies and know-how, which are often found to
be compatible with sustainable development particularly in the
respective national contexts.

     This report on transfer of environmentally sound technology,
cooperation and capacity-building covers seven areas of action
recommended under Chapter 34 of Agenda 21.  Under each of the
areas reported, a summary of the concept, progress made,
particular problems encountered and recommendations for the
future, are provided.  They are based on the contributions given
by various organizations and agencies of the United Nations


     A.   Concept

     Information constraints and the lack of capacity to handle
and manage technological information properly are constantly
identified as major bottlenecks in the transfer and diffusion of
technology.  Access to information on technologies is an
indispensible condition for informed decision making regarding
appropriate technology choices; to negotiate equitable terms with
the suppliers of technologies; and to achieve an effective
transfer/blending/adaptation/management of technology.

     In response to the need to improve access to information, in
particular by developing countries, efforts are being made by
various United Natios agencies to develop or assist in the
development of information networks and clearinghouses.  Those
efforts also included activities aimed at building the capacities
of the countries concerned to handle and manage technological

     United Nations agencies are also striving to increase the
medium options available as well as to improve their efficiency
and effectiveness in reaching the users.  Information is packaged
in as "user-friendly" manner as possible, with various options
including on-line, diskette, electronic mail as well as in print,
and made available both for public and private sector users.

     B.   Progress Achieved

     The Agricultural Information System (AGRIS) and Current
Agricultural Research Information System (CARIS) were established
and are coordinated by FAO to support worldwide sharing of
agricultural information about results of research and
development activities. Both in formation networks operate
multilingually.  One of the unique features of AGRIS/CARIS is the
possibility they offer to integrate with, and support national
and regional systems.  FAO is also engaged in training activities
aimed at strengthening the users' capacities to properly handle
and manage information.

     Activities of UNIDO's Industrial and Technological
Information Section (INTIB) include assistance to developing
countries in building up techno-intelligence capabilities at the
subsectoral level so as to enable them to monitor technological
developments, assess global market trends and analyze key
competitors and partners as essential inputs into strategic

     Information networking has taken unconventional form in case
of UNIDO's Techmart, which is a business forum where direct
contacts between technology seekers and suppliers are made and
where information on technologies is embedded in sample products,
drawings, process flow diagrams, photographs and product
catalogues displayed there.  An indexed compendium of the
technologies offered and requested worldwide is made available in
advance of the event to facilitate such networking.

     Networking of environmental professionals, including
practitioners and educators, was developed by WHO for the purpose
of sharing information that facilitates locating and publicizing
available resources in environmental management and technology.

     UNEP and UNCHS (Habitat) have developed a number of
databases and clearinghouses, such as the ITPCT database, the
International Cleaner Production Information Clearinghouse, the
Ozone Information Clearinghouse under the Multilateral Fund of
the Montreal Protocol, and INFOTERRA.  The experience gained has
shown that tremendous efforts are required to collect and
continuously update reliable and adequate information as well as
to disseminate them to the end users.  In order to perform these
tasks adequately, there would be also more funding needed than
currently available.

     UNEP has also established a network of centres of excellence
which are contracted to respond to queries regarding
environmental information.  One of these centres is the Global
Resource Information Database (GRID) which is also aiming at
developing itself into a global environmental information
exchange network.  With that goal in mind, GRID assists nations
and institutions to acquire geographic information systems and
related image-analysis technology.

     In a specific area of fertilizer production, the Fertilizer
Advisory, Development and Information Network for Asia and the
Pacific (FADINAP) contains information related to the transfer of
environmentally sound technologies from various publications,
workshops, conferences and the international fertilizer press.

     A Coordinating Group for the Harmonization of Chemical
Classification Systems was established within the International
Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), under the leadership of ILO.
The Group has elaborated terms of reference and workplans to
establish a globally harmonized system of classification and
labelling of hazardous chemicals by year 2000 and has started the
necessary technical work.

     The complexity of information needs often require inter-
agency, inter-disciplinary endeavors.  The inter-agency Project
on Data Bases and Methodologies for Comparative Assessment of
Different Energy Sources for Electricity Generation (DECADES),
for instance, is based on a partnership which include both UN and
non-UN intergovernmental organizations and provides information
on technologies in current use or in planning in the field.  The
International Cleaner Production Information Clearing Houses
(ICPIC) has been developed by UNDP in co-operation with UNIDO and
other UN agencies; information is collected on the basis of
literature searches and also through working groups of
internationally recognized experts.

     International and regional technology centres serve as
intermediaries between national users and international suppliers
of information.  UNEP's International Environmental Technology
Centre (IETC) has a programme to promote information exchange on
the available technologies for environmental management.  The
African Regional Centre for Technology Information System
(ARCTIS) and the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of
Technology (APCTT) both have sub-mechanisms to promote purpose-
oriented information networking.  ARCTIC has networks focused on
technology resource information services, food, energy and local
areas, while APCTT has a Mechanism for Exchange of Technology
Information (METI) to facilitate the transfer of environmentally
sound technologies to small and medium enterprises.

     C.   Problems Encountered

     International networking is facilitated by latest
information technologies, including E-mail.  The main issue here
is the availability of telephone lines for E-mail communication,
quantity and quality of computer services available and
reliability of electricity, in most of the developing countries.
Telecommunication facilities need to be enhanced and modernized,
for which ITU provides technical assistance, but also costs need
to be reduced to enable greater use of such links.

     A recognized problem is the weakness of vertical information
flow between environmental/cleaner production agencies at one
level and industries and non-industrial users at another.  The
horizontal information flow among different environmental
agencies seems to be smoother.

     In patent information provided through national patent
offices, there is currently no classification for
"environmentally sound technologies".  According to WIPO, no such
classification could be proposed without specific, accepted
technological criteria for "environmental soundness".  A question
particularly for developing countries, is the extent to which the
patent offices disseminate information on WIPO's information
services, as well as the degree to which companies understand the
national patent offices to be a source of information.

     D.   Conclusions and Recommendations

     In order of promote access to and dissemination of
information on a regular and systematic basis, there is a need to
develop and improve computer-based networks and regular means of
communication within the United Nations system at Headquarters,
regional and field offices respectively (e.g. through
teleconferences, E-mails, telenetworks, etc.).  It would be
useful to include bibliographic data on agency reports and
information on major meetings and other events in the information
to be exchanged or data base to be accessed.

     Mechanisms for enhancing the availability and the
reliability of information on environmentally sound technologies
will depend largely on the extent of cooperation and networking,
both between concerned institutions within countries of the
region and between international and regional organizations and
specialized agencies of the United Nations system.

     Reinforced assistance must be provided to the users of
technological information, with focus on building of the
capacities to identify the right sources of information, to
properly handle and manage technological information,  and to
formulate cooperative arrangements with institutions that have
the potential to supplement the users' infrastractural weaknesses
as well as to help them in meeting their information needs.

     An inventory of existing international and regional
information exchange systems and clearinghouses should be
conducted by the relevant United Nations bodies. Such an
inventory should include an assessment of the functions and
usefulness of these information exchange systems and
clearinghouses, and proposals for improvement.

     Essentially based on already existing interface
institutions, sub-regional, regional and global networks needs to
be developed in order to fully cover the required information
flow between environmental agencies and industrial and other
users, so as to promote cleaner production and other
environmentally sound technologies among the users on a more
effective and self-sustainable manner.  These interface
institutions may be international, regional or private
organizations which can provide information directly to users as
well as via national information handling institutions while
providing on-the-job training to strengthen their capacities.
Transfer of information and knowledge then could themselves be
part of capacity building.

     The on-going work within the United Nations system on
indicators for sustainable development should consider the need
for the development of criteria or indicators to be applied for
the assessment of "environmental soundness" of technologies, to
be also reflected in patent applications.


     A.   Concept

     Transfer of environmentally sound technologies is a key
issue in the formulation and implementation of national policies
and programmes for achieving sustainable development objectives.
In conformity with the relevant provisions of Chapter 34 of
Agenda 21, Governments and international organizations should
promote, and encourage the private sector to promote, effective
modalities for the transfer of environmentally sound
technologies, in particular to developing countries.

     The various parts of the United Nations system have a major
role to play in promoting international transfer of technology,
including through their technical assistance programmes. Sharing
of experiences is required to improve in the formulation of a
more coherent framework for activities of the United Nations
system in technology transfer and in the assessment of technology
needs of countries, so that, among others, more attention could
be paid to the demand side of technology transfer.

     B.   Progress Achieved

     Efforts by United Nations agencies to support and promote
transfer of technology, particularly to developing countries have
been made from various angles.

     UNIDO and UNCTAD have provided policy advice and undertaken
policy studies on various aspects of technology transfer.  FAO is
developing concepts and frameworks for technology assessment and
transfer, including the formulation of guidelines.

     ECA, through meetings and training seminars it organized,
stressed the role of market mechanisms in promoting technology
transfer, with application of laws and regulations limited to
protection against environmentally unsound and unhealthy

     UNEP's International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC)
undertakes research to identify potential barriers hindering
international transfer of technology and to seek consensus to
remove such barriers.    WMO's Hydrological Operational
Multipurpose System (HOMS) is a networked technology transfer
system in science and engineering with a formal structure for
transfer and application of discrete and distinct items of

     There is an awareness that some modern technologies have to
be re-engineered and re-dimensioned to be adopted to local
conditions.  Moreover, refocus of transfer has become more
process-oriented, as opposed to product oriented.  UNIDO and
UNEP, for example, promote cleaner production through process

     Enhanced efforts are made for institutional strengthening
and capacity building of local personnel in the course of
transfer process for achieving self-sustainability.  A concern
has been on how to break the conventional dependency path that
often results from international transfer of technology.

     UNDP's Urban Environment Technology Initiative (URBENTECH),
for example, is being developed with the aim to provide
alternatives to developing countries' cities and policy makers
concerning more appropriate technological choices.  UNCTAD's
programme on technology transfer placed emphasis on enhancement
of national technological and innovation capabilities of
developing countries and on the challenges and opportunities
created by technological change.  World Bank-supported projects
and Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects foster the
transfer of clean technology while strengthening institutional
capacity and improving the scientific and technological base.

     Innovative ways of technology transfer have been sought in
some areas.  In agriculture, the role of farmer associations as
vectors, is receiving increased attention.  A long-standing
programme of FAO focuses on indigenous technologies on one hand
and on promotion of new technology packages to increase
production yield on the other.  Mechanisms are being developed to
transfer appropriate agricultural technologies developed by
international research institutes to farmers in different regions
of the world.  ILO technical cooperation projects have
demonstrated that the fostering of cooperative linkages among
commercial suppliers of technologies, training and R&D
institutions and end-users could ensure sustainability in the use
of environment-friendly technologies transferred.  ESCWA and
ECLAC aim at improving the role of industrial development banks
in transferring technology.

     In health, the transfer of vaccination technology to
countries calls for the establishment and maintenance of Expert
Advisory Panels, collection and dissemination of biotechnology
information and a data base of international and national
regulations related to vaccination and biotechnology.  These
activities have been in progress in WHO, and other agencies are
encouraged to join.

     Some agencies worked on formulating and promoting
guidelines.  ILO developed a code of practice on safety, health
and working conditions in the transfer of technology to
developing countries and released it to assist all concerned, in
both the public and the private sectors, who have responsibility
for safety and health hazards arising from the transfer.  ICAO is
working on the development of a global coordinated plan for the
ICAO Communications, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic
Management (CNS/ATM) systems to promote transfer of technology in
a progressive and coordinated manner.

     C.   Problems Encountered

     In general, the "transfer of environmentally sound
technologies" is still in search of a more coherent policy
framework in relation to activities of the United Nations

     A problem of technology transfer, including through
technical assistance provided by the United Nations agencies, has
often been the supply-oriented approach taken.  Not enough
emphasis has been made on the importance of need assessment,
understanding of local conditions and adoptive capabilities,
before technology transfer is promoted.  There has also been a
lack clear strategy for technology transfer on the part of
recipient countries, which have brought about undesirable

     The transfer of environmentally-sound technologies to
developing countries is constrained by both commercial and non-
commercial factors.  In ESCWA region, non-oil countries of the
region, in particular, will consider the additional investment
aimed at ensuring the environmental compatibility of production
equipment an unacceptable burden in the face of urgent economic
and social development goals.  Among the non-commercial factors,
the most important is the inadequacy of the science and
technology systems.

     According to IMF, the use of tax incentives for the
promotion of investment in many countries is not encouraging and
is thus not recommendable.  The use of fiscal incentives will be
counter-productive without ensuring stable macroeconomic

     In addition to fiscal incentives, other incentives and
environmental quality control measures which would motivate the
private sector to invest in the development or transfer of
environmentally sound technologies, are also lacking in general.
Environmental regulations are often not effectively implemented
in practice, mainly due to various economic reasons.  Unless
these problems are addressed, any training and extension services
will not be sufficient to promote the use of environmentally
sound technologies.

     Sometimes, technology transfer takes place as a by-product
of other intended activities.  In such cases, implications were
not anticipated and chances for successful adoption might also be

     Technology transfer, particularly between enterprises,
generally involves some sort of licensing agreement.  A patent
holder may refuse to license his/her patent.  This often happens
when the holder is concerned about losing the market share of a
particular product.  In the case of compulsory licensing, the
interested user could still have the technological information
contained in the patent but which will be unaccompanied by any
know-how or technical assistance.  The use of such technology
would then be very limited.

     Biotechnology is often considered as affordable and thus
beneficial to developing countries.  Pro-poor features include
reduced costs of agricultural production and greater scale-
neutrality that could benefit small producers, as well as the
generally lower levels of application of agri-chemicals that
makes biotechnology more environmentally-friendly.  However, the
legal and financial barriers still remain for developing
countries to access such technology.  Also requiring special
attention is the fact that certain biotechnologies, like
genetically engineered herbicide resistant crop varies, according
to an ILO study, have negative implications for employment such
as displacement of female labour in densely populated regions of
Asia and the requirement for loads of agri-chemicals.

     D.   Conclusions and Recommendations

     In order to promote technology transfer and local
adaptation, needs assessment and aggressive extension services
are urgently required, and appropriate mechanisms to provide
these assessments and services should be developed.  Such
mechanisms should include a publicly-funded intermediary
institution in the recipient country which could play a catalytic
role in selection, acquisition and wide dissemination of
environmentally sound technologies.

     Technology has been channelled to developing countries to an
increasing degree in unconventional forms such as franchising and
non-affiliate licensing of technology which do not involve
foreign equity participation: a form of technology transfer often
preferred by small and medium enterprises.  Another emerging form
of technology transfer is the build-operate-transfer type of
investment, which is particularly suited to infrastructure
projects.  The competent United Nations agencies should promote
such diversification of technology transfer and provide the
necessary support in this regard.

     Guidelines and codes of operation are often developed in
cases of conventional transfer of technology, for the policy
makers and entrepreneurs of recipient countries, and for
suppliers of technology in developed countries.  There is no
clear guidelines for technology transfer through technical
assistance - either bilateral or multilateral.  The formulation
of such guidelines to be done through joint efforts by various
executing agencies within the United Nations system would be
necessary and useful.

     Collaborative efforts should be enhanced to promote the
transfer of "softer" aspects of technologies, including
managerial and organizational capacities.

     The role of local/international consultancy as a carrier of
technology transfer should be reviewed.  Consultants can help
recognize deficiencies in a technology package, improve the
technology by incorporating actual experience in plant operation
and assist in appropriate choice including sizing of equipment to
suit a particular situation.  The local consultancy would
particularly be useful in early evaluation of technologies being
considered for transfer, particularly for their environmentally
soundness and local adaptability.

     The question of financing is an essential issue for
improving the access to technology transfer.  The
commercialization costs of the development of new technologies in
the final phase of the innovative stage are relatively large and
involve a large magnitude of resources which make it difficult
for any single agency to support.  The participation of regional
and international financial institutions should be actively
sought in this case to share the burden of risk finance.  This
could take the form of soft loans or grants for development of
environmentally sound technologies close to the stage of
commercialization of applications.  Governments may consider
providing financial incentives such as tax exemptions and
subsidies, to be applied in the context of stable macro-economic

     Increasing the flow of investible resources to support
technology transfer, is an urgent priority.  The most promising
examples of technology financing come from the countries which
have mobilized domestic resources through innovative financing
schemes without relying heavily on international finance.  In
case of energy,  Habitat finds that large subsidies are given to
the conventional energy sector, a portion of which, if invested
for the promotion of renewable energy technologies or for
improving energy efficiency, could go a long way towards a more
sustainable energy system.  Moreover, subsidies have proven more
effective when applied to the demand side rather than to the
supply side.

     Speedy upgrading of traditional technologies especially in
small-scale sectors, often depends on the availability of venture
capital or risk-bearing loans from local financial institutions.
Development finance institutions can help in this area by
providing incentive schemes to commercial banks.  They can also
facilitate external credit by bundling a number of small projects
into bankable proposals.

     Case studies could be jointly carried out by concerned
United Natios agencies providing successful and unsuccessful
cases of technology transfer involving both propriatory and
public domain technologies.


     A.   Concept

     Capacity-building for technology management is essential to
make effective and efficient use of technologies, whether
transferred or self-generated, and to engage successfully in
technology cooperation.  Capacity-building policies and
activities for technology management should be basically country-
or demand-driven.

     As part of the national capacity-building process, the
conceptual approach to capacity-building for technology
management should be linked to the overall context of socio-
economic development and take into account long-term development

     Consistant with the relevant provisions of Chapter 34 of
Agenda 21 , activities should be focussed on the development of
frameworks to develop, transfer and apply environmentally sound
technologies and corresponding technical know-how with a special
focus on developing countries' needs, as well as on building the
national capacities to assess, develop, manage and apply new

     B.   Progress Achieved

     The United Nations system has continued to provide technical
assistance aimed at endogenous capacity building in various
conventional forms of on-the-job training, fellowships, study
tours, pilot demonstration, workshops and formulation of
guidelines and manuals in specific areas.  In addition, the
recent trends include emphasis on a participatory approach
involving all the stakeholders (including end-users,
entrepreneurs, researchers, extension service agents, planners
and policy-makers at all levels), on reinforced support to the
local private sector, on establishing and strengthening linkages
of various kinds, and on inter-disciplinary approaches.

     In industry, UNIDO reports, the concept of clean
technologies is gaining increasing attention, insofar as the
focus of attention in environmental protection has shifted  from
"end-of-pipe" solutions (cleaning technologies) to very source of
production (cleaner production based on cleaner technologies). In
promoting cleaner production, the emphasis has been on process
improvements, similar to process optimization, aiming at waste
minimization and energy optimization in production processes, in
order to increase the competitiveness of industry and to meet
environmental requirements.  UNIDO-assisted capacity building in
cleaner production has involved several types.  At the policy
level, assistance has been given in devising industrial policies
and strategies and in incorporating environmental considerations
into them.  At the institutional level, the focus has been on
designing and supporting institutional strengthening.  At the
enterprise level, technical assistance has been provided in the
field of waste minimization auditing, in the technical aspects of
individual subsectors, as well as in the form of technical

     The ICAO Interregional TRAINAIR Programme, a global training
resource-sharing network, is designed to assist the civil
aviation training centres of the developing world to maintain
academic standards and self-sufficiency.

     ILO is addressing the technological needs of the informal
sector by inducing the private sector to respond to such needs.
It also tries to assess the employment effects of technological
change, flexible specialization and organization of production
among small and medium sized enterprises in developing countries.

     The World Bank has continued to expand its support for
institutional strengthening and technical education projects that
build such capacity.  Some such projects aimed at rehabilitating
local research institutes and strengthening university-level or
professional education and training capacities.

     ECLAC has emphasized the importance of increasing
international competitiveness of the industries in the region.
Its assistance has thus been concerned with the design and
promotion of policies and strategies for the acquisition,
improvement and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies,
which are directed to achieve and sustain such competitiveness.
Strengthening linkages between production systems and the
technological infrastructure, between sectors, and between large
firms and small and medium companies, was also a ECLAC's
programmatic focus.

     INSTRAW prepared a module on Women and Waste Management
which provides guidelines and checklists for involving women in
waste management schemes and the range of technological support
available at the international, national and community level.

     UNESCO has encouraged new partnerships among governments,
industry, research institutions, educational institutions and
non-governmental organizations, in order to support inter-
institutional coordination at national/regional levels.  Such
partnerships are encouraged to pool expertise and resources
together for the common purpose of capacity building.  They will
also be ways to break down the traditional barriers between
different sectors and institutions.

     C.   Problems Encountered

     The concept of endogenous capacity building has not yet been
uniformly applied in operational terms.  The traditional supply-
oriented approaches in technical assistance have failed to
produce expected results in capacity building and so did one-
sided decision-making without the involvement of users and
beneficiaries.  The United Nations system has recognized such
shortcomings of the past but increased efforts are needed to
promote participatory approaches and to consider needs of the
demand side.

     The informal sector which faces difficulties in acquiring
and applying technology, has not been given enough attention.
Such difficulties hinder the growth of the enterprises and reduce
their overall employment-generation capacity.

     D.   Conclusions and Recommendations

     A number of impact assessments of the United Nations
system's activities in capacity-building in science and
technologies in selected countries have been undertaken within
the context of the UNDP/UNFSTD project on Endogenous Capacity
Building.  An overall review of these experiences which is
planned to be conducted in the course of 1994, should aim at
formulating guidelines for national policies and technical
assistance provided by the United Nations system in supporting
capacity building in developing countries.  This review could
also be helpful in identifying ways and means to strengthening
inter-institutional co-ordination at the national level to
promote consistency of policies and to resolve conflicts of

     In view of the massive number of people needing training the
United Nations system should concentrate on awareness-raising
mainly of high-level decision makers in governments and industry,
and on training the trainers to help develop local skills to use
environmentally sound technology.  It is also necessary to help
develop curricula for engineering schools, business and public
administration schools, which integrate the environmental

     The drive to enhance scientific and technological
capabilities in the developing countries should be pursued in
parallel with vigorous interaction with sources of technology in
the industrialized countries, with the view to ensure that
technologies acquired from such sources are appropriately
assessed for their environmental soundness and are properly
installed, disseminated and maintained.

     The involvement of non-governmental organizations and
technology users /beneficiaries, including the informal sector in
capacity-building at local and grass-roots levels is increasingly
important.  The United Nations system should work closely with
the relevant non-governmental organizations to bring about an
optimal contribution to the local endogenous capacity building
process, as well as to help leverage the limited available

     Women are important stakeholders in the production and use
of technologies and should be considered as an important agent
for technological change.  They should be exposed to and trained
in improved technologies through technical cooperation projects,
so that their employment opportunities in non-traditional areas
of production can be diversified and expanded.


     A.   Concept

     In order to take advantage of the know-how available, and to
enhance the generation of indigenous technologies, countries
should also have the capacities to maintain their own research
and development (R & D) system of environmentally sound
technological innovation.  A sufficient R & D basis is needed to
generate and adapt technologies and to engage successfully in
international R & D co-operation on environmentally sound

     The proposed collaborative network of national, subregional,
regional and international research centres on environmentally
sound technology would have a broader scope than the traditional
academic communities that exist.  It would also have a wider
range of partners among developed countries, economies in
transition and developing countries.

     B.   Progress Achieved

     The United Nations agencies concerned with activities in
this area have attached importance in fostering, through
collaborative research networks, South-South and North-South
institutional cooperation and partnerships between institutions
in developed and developing countries.  UNESCO's
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), Man and the
Biosphere (MAB) Programme and the International Hydrological
Programme (IHP) have established in their respective fields sub-
regional and regional networks for research, training and
knowledge sharing.  The regional networks have been
interconnected to constitute global networks.

     The START (Global Change System for Analysis, Research and
Training) Regional Research Networks, undertaken by UNESCO, WMO,
the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and the
International Social Science Council (ISSC), is aimed at
promoting research on the regional origins and impacts of global
environmental changes and through vigorous training and
fellowship programmes, to enhance indigenous scientific capacity
to engage in focused research on critical regional environmental
issues.  In implementing the START concept, distinct
biogeographic regions have been identified for the development of
regional networks, which will gradually be developed into a
global system of networks.

      Within the broad objective of the Third World Academy of
Sciences (TWAS) of supporting scientific excellence and research
in the Third World, 22 developing countries have offered to
upgrade existing productive centres to form a part of an
international network called the Third World Network of
Scientific Organizations. UNIDO, UNESCO and ICSU are cooperating
with TWAS in this endeavor.

     The European System of Cooperative Research Networks in
Agriculture (ESCORENA) promoted by FAO since 1974, have
successively covered different agricultural products or
processes.  The approach taken is that topic-specific working
groups are formed based on needs, requiring the active
participation of their members and cease to operate when the
objectives have been reached or when their members withdraw.  The
networks operate on a two-tier structure with coordination and
working group.

     Several agricultural research centres which are members of
the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
(CGIAR) co-sponsored by the World Bank, FAO and UNDP, have made
considerable progress in harnessing biotechnology to increase the
productivity of Consultative Group mandated crops.  CGIAR also
helps to strengthen national research systems in such a way that
CG system research on agriculture, forestry and aquatic farming
systems has led to development and adoption of improved
technologies and sustainable management practices, creating,
among other things, technologies for resource poor lands that
would otherwise be ignored or neglected.  As follow-up to UNCED,
CGIAR has proposed expanding its research and technology
development activities, building on ongoing CG center research by
creating new global initiatives in the areas of marginal soils,
genetic resources, human resources and agro-ecological data

     The National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPC) established
jointly by UNEP and UNIDO in a number of developing countries and
countries in transition have a mandate of promoting co-operation
with other countries and of launching local demonstration
projects and research.  99 proposals have been received since
1992.  So far, funding for three years for seven centres has been
secured.  Those centres should be self sustaining after three to
five years.

     IAEA's own laboratories have coordinated research programmes
that link national institutes in developing and industrialized
countries.  Active cooperation is underway among IAEA, UNEP, WHO,
FAO and WMO in making maximum use of the these facilities for the
implementation of Agenda 21.

     ECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary
Watercourses and International Lakes provides for common research
and development in support of achieving and maintaining water-
quality objectives in transboundary waters.  As a first step,
focal points for the activities under the Convention have been
established in a number of ECE countries, which may disseminate
relevant information on results of research and development.  It
is also intended to establish one or more regional coordination
centres which provide scientific, methodological and technical
support to countries in transition within the framework of the

     C.   Problems Encountered

     Many agencies are involved in establishing and strengthening
research centres, particularly at the national level, but not
enough activities have been undertaken so far in creating
collaborative networks.

     Much more needs to be done in promoting South-South R & D
co-operation.  Advantages of joint R & D undertakings or sharing
of facilities, personnel as well as findings should be strongly
advocated, in particular among developing countries with common
problems that call for similar or equal technological solutions.

     D.   Conclusions and Recommendations

     The general purpose of establishing a collaborative network
of regional research centres is to engage in R & D, training and
fellowship programmes focussed on critical regional environmental
problems and on regional impacts of environmental issues which
are global in nature.  In would be important to promote this
purpose in linking existing national R & D and training centres.

     Many agencies in developed countries are willing to support
capacity-building in developing countries' institutions.  The
efforts to strengthen institutional capacities through
collaborative research and other joint endeavors will need to be
pursued and considerably increased in the coming years.

     UNEP/IETC aims at establishing global networks of
environmental technologies through collaboration among relevant
countries and organizations.  The Centre, when it becomes fully
operational, should take the leading role in collaborative
efforts within the United Nations system in this field while
avoiding duplication.

     As resources are required for developing and promoting
collaborative research networks, UNDP and the Regional
Development Banks should also join the effort.

     In addition, the activities of the United Nations University
through its network of research centres could be more closely
interrelated with the relevant activities of specialized agencies
and the Regional Commissions, so as to optimize resources and
provide well-integrated services to the developing countries.


     A.   Concept

       Agenda 21 suggests ways and means in which endogenous
capacity-building in assessing, adopting, managing and applying
environmentally sound technologies, particularly in developing
countries, can be supported.  Areas to be supported include
research and development, training, return of qualified
expatriates, maintenance, needs assessment, environmental impact
assessments and sustainable development planning.

     B.   Progress Achieved

     Training of local scientists and engineers is a key subject
in the transfer, use and dissemination of environmentally sound
technologies.  The components of training programmes pursued by
various United Nations agencies in various fields can be
summarized as follows: organization of short-term courses and
extended periods of training for learning technical details;
organization of follow-up programmes to provide continuous
information and technical assistance to former participants in
the above courses; organization of "refresher" regional courses,
aimed at continuing education in priority areas.

     While training aimed at achieving excellence and skills in
specific scientific and technological disciplines continue to be
a critical part of technical assistance provided by the United
Nations system, an increased recognition is paid to the value of
interdisciplinary and intersectoral training.  Similarly in
institutional capacity building, the challenge of
interdisciplinarity and the need to establish cross-sectoral
linkages are addressed by some agencies.

     An indirect objective of training programmes is to create a
nucleus of scientists in many countries who will play an
institution-strengthening role and who will become directly
involved in the development and evaluation of locally acceptable,
environmentally sound technologies.

     A "training of trainers" programme jointly being undertaken
by UNEP, ILO and WHO on environmental management in industry, is
a example of activities that have a potential multiplier effect.
Disseminating knowledge, skills and technical know-how through
trained local personnel is also more effective than technology
transfer through foreign experts.

     Institutional capacity building has been the focus of
UNIDO's activities in this area, as it recognizes the importance
of well trained, equipped and informed public and private sector
institutions to promote cleaner production.  Institutional
support and information about cleaner production is also provided
to environmental management agencies and to productivity
organizations for the same reason.

     C.   Problems Encountered

     The main obstacle encountered in supporting the local
private sector is often the absence, in many countries, of
appropriate legal frameworks, offering venture capital, financial
and fiscal incentives, to the local entrepreneurs.  United
Nations agencies are trying to tackle this problem with
activities specifically targeted to benefit local entrepreneurs.
Examples include ECA's pilot demonstration units which show how
to develop environmentally sound technologies in the areas of
food and energy; and technology-enterprise incubators promoted by

     Attempts to bring staff from developing countries to
training courses in developed countries have been unsuccessful in
some cases for such reasons as: trainees are exposed to
comparatively high-level technology which is not applicable or
which cannot be achieved in their own countries due to lack of
funds and facilities.

     D.   Conclusions and Recommendations

     Modalities for assistance in promoting environmentally sound
technology transfer should be coordinated and jointly programmed
by different United Nations agencies so as to optimize the
system-wide expertise as well as the limited resources available.
At the national level, this can be done through the Programme
Approach during national programming cycles.  The notion of lead
agencies based on specialization and the topic being dealt with
could be adopted through an integrated framework.

     At the regional level, the specialized agencies should work
ever more closely with the Regional Commissions to develop
regional programmes and to coordinate the implementation of the
multitude of studies, surveys, research and capacity-building
projects to promoted technological development of the individual
countries as well as their respective regions.  Such activities
should take into account the actual and potential roles of
governmental and nongovernmental institutions, and the private
enterprises.  The participation of local and professional
institutions should be cultivated to the extent possible.

     The promotion of public awareness should also be stressed.
In this regard, both the national and regional programmes should
be formulated with distinct phases and clear targets which are
transparent and communicable.

     A technical service network has been proposed by ECE which
would primarily focus on developing innovative cooperative
schemes between appropriate organizations and individuals in the
private and public sectors that are capable of
providing/receiving technology, design and engineering services,
equipment or finance.


     A.   Concept

     Technology needs are evolving in response to the community
needs and the international state-of-the-art.  Assessment of such
needs would enable countries to make intelligent choices
regarding environmentally sound technologies.  Suggested
activities include capacity building in technology assessment
including environmental impact and risk assessment; and
strengthening international network of environmentally sound
technology assessment centres at various levels.

     Technology assessment related activities conducted by the
United Nations agencies were very much part of their support to
endogenous capacity building in developing countries or closely
related to activities promoting better access to technology
transfer.  Such activities have been broadly of two types: those
aimed at strengthening technology assessment capabilities of
developing countries; or assessments undertaken by the UN
agencies themselves which would benefit countries concerned.

     B.   Progress Achieved

     Developing regional networks of technology assessment
centres has been promoted by several organizations.  A regional
UNDP/FAO project on "Farmer-Centered Resource Management" (FARM)
was launched in 1993, involving eight Asian countries.  It has
strong elements of technology assessment through participatory
approaches.  A training seminar on methodologies for the
assessment of environmentally sound technologies, organized by
ECA in 1993, proposed a network of institutions which conduct or
could conduct impact and risk assessment.

     An important purpose of networking with regard to technology
assessment is information sharing.  UNEP, for example, initiated
the preparation of an Environmental Technology Assessment
Newsletter (EnTA), aimed at sharing information and experience in
this field.

     Some progress has been made in preparing guidelines and
manuals on prerequisites for and modalities of conducting
technology assessment.  Guidelines and indicators developed
through a workshop on technology assessment and transfer for
sustainable agriculture and rural development in the ESCAP
region, deal with technology assessment and transfer through
sectoral linkages and capacity building for developing the
necessary human resources, policies and infrastructures. They are
being further refined, and similar exercise are intended to
replicated in other regions during 1995-96.  UNEP, in
consultation with UNCTAD, initiated a study of possible
guidelines to avoid the transfer of hazardous technologies.

     DDSMS published two guides to assist developing countries
and countries in transition to assess technology in the field of
energy:  "Energy Efficiency in Transportation: Alternatives for
the Future"; and "Power Generation Options: Rehabilitation for
Life Extension and Cogeneration".  Both guides included basic
information on improving energy use, supported by relevant case
studies which illustrate what can be accomplished given different
levels of technology. IAEA, in partnership with UNIDO, UNEP and
WHO, completed a procedures manual for risk assessment and
management of health and environmental risks of energy and other
complex systems, and case studies are under way in several
countries in this regard.

     ITU carried out technology assessment activities to ensure
the appropriateness of the technologies or their possible
adaptation to local conditions and needs, as an entwined activity
of technology transfer.  ECE evaluate the cost-effectiveness of
energy and resource-saving technologies; recovery, recycling and
re-utilization of industrial wastes; implications of low-waste
technology, emphasizing economic aspects; and hazardous waste
management.  An ILO survey of rural and urban sample of
households in Kenya demonstrated a key role of certain
environmentally sound technologies in forging mutually supportive
linkages between socio-economic and environmental sustainability.

     The 1991 Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in
Transboudary Context provides an international legally binding
instrument to prevent, reduce or control any potentially harmful
transboundary environmental impact of proposed activities at an
early planning stage.  Particular focus is being given under this
Convention to legal and administrative aspects as well as
methodological issues of environmental impact assessment in a
transboundary context.

     The future agenda of ILO work on assessment of "clean" and
"environmentally sound" technologies would focus on assessing the
capacity of such technologies to expand employment, ensure
competitiveness and alleviate poverty.  It also includes the
identification of policies for the rapid diffusion of affordable,
environment-friendly technologies as well as strategies for
improving developing countries' access to such technologies
available internationally.

     The science and technology programme of UNCTAD includes a
series of activities on technology assessment.  Such activities
as building up data basis on technology assessment experts and
institutions, and organizing various expert group meetings and
regional workshops on technology assessment and forecasting,
should be continued and strengthened.

     The Regional Commissions are also keen on promoting these
activities in their respective regions.  ESCWA, for instance, is
keen on establishing a regional network of experts and
institutions in this area, as well as setting up a data bank for
new and advanced technologies which can be utilized in the region
with special applications in promoting environmentally sound
technologies.  ECE is also planning to set up a network of focal
points on environmental impact assessment for systematic exchange
of information and facilitating contacts between policy makers in
the region.

     C.   Problems Encountered

     Technologies transferred into the ESCWA region, in general,
have rarely been subjected to the required degree of appraisal in
terms of their economic, social and environmental impact.
Moreover, the lack of information about trends in technological
development have often resulted in the transfer of inadequate
technologies, or technologies destined for early replacement due
to their harmful environmental effects.  Technology assessment
and risk evaluation conducted in the region have had varying
degrees of thoroughness; and often little or no follow-up action
was taken to ensure an accurate assessment of environmental
impact during later stages of a project's life cycle.

     In the ESCAP region, a World Bank study identified that the
most serious setback of the present procedures for environmental
impact assessments was the minimal contribution to actual
implementation of environmental control measures.  A possible
major problem is the fact that projects are often launched by the
government or state-owned companies.

     No uniform approach to transboundary information exchange
seems to have been followed, with diverse experience in the
field.  There is a need for new approaches which could serve as a
guidance to competent national authorities in the practical
application of relevant provisions of the Convention on
Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context.

     In telecommunication, the very fast rate of change in
technology tends to undermine the value of technology assessment
in the medium to long term.  This might be true of other
technological fields as well.  However, the fast pace of
technological changes, in some cases, would be the very reason
for the need of technology assessment, so that both the decision
makers and potential users/beneficiaries are kept up-to-date on
the latest range of technology options and expected consequences.

     D.   Conclusions and Recommendations

     It is generally recognized that technology assessment is a
relatively under-developed area and that more work may be called
for.  It also gives the United Nations system an opportunity to
better coordinate activities in this area from early stages.  The
development of a well-coordinated work programme for the United
Nations system is needed, with a clearly identified global focal
point for technology assessment in the United Nations system, as
well as allocation of responsibilities.  In order to promote
inter-agency collaboration and joint action in the area of
technology, the IACSD decided on the establishment of a small ad
hoc inter-agency task force on technology assessment.

     One area in which the United Nations agencies can cooperate
would be to develop guidelines for technology assessment,
including environmental impact and risk assessment concerning
particular technologies in question.  Once such guidelines become
available, they should be promoted not only to government
institutions and executive agencies involved in technical
assistance programmes but also to private enterprises, farmers
and other users of technologies.

     WIPO, in collaboration with other relevant agencies like
UNIDO and FAO, could develop a Patent Watch Service for specific
fields in demand.  Such service should function as an "Alert
System" for new technologies.

     The primary aim of interagency co-operation in technology
assessment will be to create or strengthen national capabilities
by moving away from narrow sectoral approaches.  It also requires
close co-operation with business and industry dealing with
technological development.  UNESCO-initiated regional networks in
the field of science and technology policy are well placed to
serve as the regional focal points for technology assessment, in
cooperation with the respective Regional Commissions.


     A.   Concept

     The promotion of long-term collaborative arrangements
between enterprises of developed and developing countries is
recognized to be essential for the development, transfer and
dissemination of environmentally sound technologies.  The
important role of joint ventures and foreign direct investments
is referred to in the context of technology transfer, which
should be mutually beneficial to both suppliers and recipients of

B.   Progress Achieved

     There has been some innovations within the United Nations
system with respect to co-operative arrangements in promoting
technology transfer.  The development of guidelines and
frameworks drawn up to encourage technology cooperation among
developing countries, led to a greater number of new South-South
co-operative arrangements of institutions.  FAO is making use of
these arrangements to promote transfer technology among
developing countries, e.g. through the organization of the
regional TCDC workshop on "Water management technologies for arid
climates" held in early 1994.

     A handbook of successful partnerships involving non-
governmental organizations, industry and local communities to
develop sustainable industrial development is being prepared
jointly by UNEP with Tuffs University and the Prince of Wales
Business Forum, and will be published in 1994.

     In ESCAP region, interesting collaborative arrangements have
involved public and private interagency cooperation.  While
government institutions have provided financial and legal
incentives, private sector has been involved in technological
innovations, information dissemination, trade of technologies and
human resource development.

     One channel of technology transfer that has been attempted
in a few Asian countries with varying degrees of success is to
encourage and assist R&D collaboration between enterprises in
different countries.  This could lead to successful
commercialization of well developed R&D results in the recipient
country.  Advantages include higher rate of local adaptability
and the low cost of such R&D collaboration compared to the actual
technology transfer itself.

     In the case of vaccine technology promoted by WHO,
developing stable long-term partnerships between the exporters of
bulk vaccine and the potential importers, were considered as the
best mechanism to clarify sharing of responsibilities for
ensuring the quality of the final product.

     ECE monitors developments in industrial cooperation and
joint ventures.  Its database on joint ventures contains
information on companies which indicate in their statutory
documents that they are engaged in activities such as the
development of environmental protection technologies, sanitation
of land, sea, air and water, disposal or processing of waste, and
consulting and engineering in these areas.

     The Transnational Corporations programme of UNCTAD aims at
providing policy recommendations and assist host countries, and
at attracting and maintaining an increased flow of capital,
technology skills and entrepreneurship.

     C.   Problems Encountered

     Specific programmes or mechanisms to promote long-term
collaborative arrangements and partnerships of either North-South
or South-South nature between enterprises, are still in shortage.

     It is only in the recent years that the private sector has
been given increased attention.  The potential contributions that
can be made by transnational corporations have not yet been fully
explored.  Much remains to be done in collecting and
disseminating case studies, encouraging policy measures in favor
of joint ventures and international partnerships.

     D.   Conclusions and Recommendations

     Foreign direct investment is a major source of technology
transfer.  In this respect, the importance of sound macro-
economic policies to attract foreign direct investment cannot be
over-emphasized.  Competent United Nations agencies should assist
governments to provide an policy environment which protects the
investor, induces free flow of capital, as well as provides the
investor with adequate information on which to base decisions.

     Exchange of information and experiences on initiating and
maintaining technology-oriented collaborative arrangements and
partnerships between enterprises, should be encouraged among the
agencies involved in those activities.  A global focal point
should be designated to facilitate this task, in cooperation with
other interested agencies.  Regional Commissions could act as
regional nodes in collecting and disseminating information.

     There is a need to collect and disseminate case studies on
successful collaborative arrangements and partnerships in the
private sector, including those involving transnational

     More emphasis should be given and support be provided to
those technology-related activities which enable firms and
industries in the developing countries to interact directly with
businesses in the industrialized countries, in the form of joint
venture, exhibitions, exchange of visits, investment forums, etc.


This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 1 December 1999 12:18:30
Comments and suggestions: DESA/DSD