Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be in New Delhi again.
This is the third high-level meeting that my department has co-organized on climate change and technology transfer.
I thank the governments of India and Mexico who have helped make this event possible.
As we approach the Climate Change Conference in Cancun, this meeting offers a timely opportunity to discuss the International Technology Mechanism that will enable all countries to access clean technologies.
There is by now an emerging agreement about the mechanism’s general structure; it would consist of an executive committee of experts and a network of centres that would facilitate the hands-on training and knowledge-sharing needed for climate technology transfer.
Our focus at this meeting will be on how to operationalize the International Technology Mechanism – to make it work and to get it off the ground quickly. We need to have a candid dialogue on this issue and on the issue of funding – a complicated issue. We need to look at the scope of technologies that the mechanism will facilitate – only existing, proven technologies or those still in development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Discussions of technology transfer often centre on high-tech, high-cost examples.
But let us remember that many developing countries need assistance with simple technologies and solutions.
Two to three billion people in the world lack access to modern energy services like electricity and heating technologies.
We need simple, smart technological solutions that translate well across cultures, borders and budget lines. Fortunately, basic energy services can be provided to those in need with only negligible implications for greenhouse gas emissions.
The United Nations Foundation has set a remarkable example in leading the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The Alliance aims to supply 100 million people with a safe, efficient household cooking solution by 2020.
As we determine the scope and operations of the Technology Mechanism, it is important that we set our goals high, but keep the cookstove example in mind.
Some high-impact solutions do not require massive infrastructure overhaul but small, low-cost adjustments or changes that can reach whole populations. The international community can play a catalytic role by providing the necessary technical and funding support.
Many developing countries simply cannot afford to support cutting-edge technologies because they lack the financial resources and expertise needed to implement them. We must think in terms of comprehensive assistance, including capacity building and not just the delivery of software or solar panels.
At the same time, however, we must recognize that many developing countries are making investments in infrastructure and power generations sources right now. We need to have an operational mechanism soon so that we have the strongest possible impact in support of these projects – which will create services for the next 30 years.
May I also add that the mechanism should be synchronised with policy instruments such as feed-in-tariffs and tax breaks or low-interest loans for renewable electricity.
There are so many avenues through which technology can lead us to a green economy and sustainable development.
In May 2012 we will convene the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – or Rio+20.
The objective of the Conference is to renew political commitment for sustainable development, and in the process assess progress and gaps in implementation and identify emerging challenges. It will have two thematic focus areas: one, a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and two, the institutional framework for sustainable development.
From this meeting I hope to gain more insight as to how technology development and transfer, and specifically the Technology Mechanism, can inform preparations for Rio+20.
We are less than a month away from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun.
This has not been an easy year for the multilateral climate change negotiations. The fragility of the global economic recovery creates additional strains and tensions.
But due to the hard work and pragmatism of negotiators, a package of decisions could be adopted in Cancun. I am pleased that it includes provisions for establishment of an International Technology Mechanism.
We cannot leave technology diffusion to market forces alone; rather, we must guide it, promote it and expedite it. We have a responsibility to do so.
Let us use this Ministerial Dialogue to brainstorm about how to make the Technology Mechanism operational and effective in promoting technology cooperation and transfer. Let us ensure that this discussion – and those of past meetings – bears fruit in Cancun next month.
I look forward to hearing your suggestions and feedback from the varying perspectives that you represent.
Thank you very much.