Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

General Assembly Consultative Workshops on: “Development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies in developing countries”

Workshops 1 and 2:Technology needs of developing countries and options to address them

Amb. Abdul Momen,
Distinguished delegates,

Today, we are focusing on technology – another significant decision of Rio+20. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs has been privileged to work closely with the Office of the President of the General Assembly, in the preparation for our consultative meetings today and tomorrow on technologies for sustainable development.

These discussions aim to address the critical issues of the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies to developing countries.  We look forward to a deeper understanding through these deliberations.

These first two workshops focus on identifying technology needs of developing countries and options to address them. Over these two days you will hear new ideas, and gather views, from experts, practitioners and other stakeholder communities.

The next two workshops, on 30 and 31 May, will focus on international technological capacity building initiatives.  Successful examples, as well as challenges and options for solutions, will be shared. Among these will include a proposal on a technology facilitation mechanism – for enhancing the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies to developing countries.

In particular, Workshop 3 will provide an opportunity for international organisations to present their activities in the area of technological capacity building and development, transfer and dissemination.

Today, science and technology for poverty eradication and sustainable development will be addressed. This will be followed by agriculture and then energy, with particular focus on renewable energy technologies.

Tomorrow’s discussion will move to successful models for environmentally sound innovation and technology diffusion in developing countries. The role of international cooperation in fostering innovation and technology diffusion for sustainable development will also be discussed.


These workshops have three main goals.

First, to obtain a clear understanding of good practices that can be replicated in other developing countries. This includes understanding the policy reforms and institutional strengthening needed to make them work.

Second, we hope to get a clearer understanding of the challenges developing countries face in importing and generating environmentally sound technologies.

  • For example, in what ways are global developments, such as the ongoing economic crises in developed economies, complicating efforts to foster technology uptake in developing countries?

Finally, how can we support efforts of developing countries to acquire, adapt and develop technologies to advance sustainable development?

  • In this respect, where do the priorities lie? 
  • To be able to make good use of a particular technology transferred, a country may need to have a range of complementary capabilities. How can international cooperation be prioritized to build up key capabilities in a given context?

Ideally, to be innovators, countries would need to master the full continuum of capabilities from basic science, to research and development, to the widespread diffusion of innovation.

Yet, countries are starting with different capabilities, so strategies for strengthening innovation systems will need to adapt.

A few issues require further probing.  For example:

  • What does it take for countries to move from being predominantly importers and imitators of imported technologies, to being genuine innovators?
  • What lessons can other developing countries learn from the success stories?
  • How much of the technology access problem has to do with intellectual property rights, how much to lack of effective competition in technology markets, and how much to other causes?

Certainly, transfer of technology merits continued attention. Yet there is a widening space for genuine technology cooperation and collaboration – North-South as well as South-South.

Our experts may help in navigating a better understanding of how industrial and technological capabilities are evolving in developing countries, and what new opportunities this trend may present.

These are important and challenging issues to address. I too look forward to what promises to be a fruitful discussion.

Thank you.