|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
United Nations General Assembly Exploring Options to Speed Transfer
of Clean Technology to Developing Countries
Following up on a key issue that emerged at the “Rio+20” Conference last June — how developing countries can obtain clean, environmentally sound technologies to advance sustainable development — the United Nations General Assembly is convening a series of discussions aimed at identifying options that could be employed to establish a mechanism that facilitates the flow of technologies around the world.
The four days of workshops, on 30 April-1 May and 30-31 May, are a direct result of the Rio+20 outcome document, the Future We Want, which called on the General Assembly to identify options for a facilitation mechanism that promotes the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies by assessing the technology needs of developing countries.
The discussions and recommendations from these workshops and from written submissions of Governments and other stakeholders will contribute to a report by the United Nations Secretary-General on the way forward in this area that will be presented at the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, which starts in September of this year.
Acting General Assembly President Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen said the workshops allowed the participation of thinkers and practitioners of clean and environmentally sound technology development to present their evidence in an interactive format “to update our understanding of the technology needs of developing countries and widen our imagination on options available or conceivable to address them.”
“What does it take for countries to move from being predominantly importers and imitators of imported technologies to being genuine innovators?” asked United NationsUnder-Secretary-General for Economic and Social AffairsWu Hongbo. “What lessons can other developing countries learn from the success stories?”
Mr. Wu said it was also important to get a clearer picture of all the different facets of this issue, including barriers to affordable access to key technologies for sustainable development, limitations on the abilities of countries to effectively absorb and use such technologies, and to see how much of the technology access problem has to do with intellectual property rights, to the lack of effective competition in technology markets, and to other factors.
“Last but not least, we need to take stock of the important changes that have taken place in the world economy since the first Rio Conference in 1992,” Wu said. “Transfer of technology continues to merit discussion, but there is an ever widening space for genuine technology cooperation and collaboration, North-South as well as South-South.” Mr. Wu called on the invited experts to shed greater light on how industrial and technological capabilities are evolving in developing countries and what new opportunities this trend may present.
Technology plays a key role in promoting sustainability in many areas, including food and agriculture, water, energy, sustainable industrial development and chemicals and waste management. But developing countries, and especially the least developed countries, face an array of challenges in obtaining, adapting and effectively using technologies for sustainable development, not to mention in building genuine innovative capacity.
Issues raised in the first workshop included the importance of a systemic and holistic approach to technology transfer to tackle poverty as well as poor nutrition, working with rather than against nature, building on proven local solutions, strengthening institutions and relying on North-South as well as South-South and triangular technology sharing. Much of the sustainable technology to reduce poverty and improve nutrition exists at the local level but needs to be communicated and widely disseminated, relying on such means as mobile telephony. Many interventions reiterated the urgency of creating the technology facilitation mechanism foreseen in the Future We Want Rio+20 Conference outcome.
The four workshops include a session on 30 April with a “Focus on science and R&D capabilities”; 1 May on “Moving from R&D to widespread adoption of environmentally sound innovation”; 30 May on “Capacity-building to enhance the development, adoption and use of environmentally sound technologies in developing countries”; and 31 May on “The way forward: Strengthening the international architecture for environmentally sound technology development, transfer and dissemination”.
More information on the workshops can be found at http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=13&nr=419&menu=1026.
For interviews and more information, contact Dan Shepard of the United Nations Department of Public Information at tel.: + 1 212 963 9495, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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