Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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1.7 United Nations Strategies for Facilitating Technology Transfer

Agenda 21 (UN, 1993) outlines several strategies for promoting the transfer of technologies, some of which are summarised as follows:

(a) government policies that create conditions favourable for technology transfer in both the public and private sectors; (b) setting up of information networks and clearing houses that disseminate information on technologies, and provide advice and training; (c) collaboration between technology research and demonstration centres; (d) collaboration agreements between private businesses for direct foreign investment and joint ventures; (e) support for national and international organisations to undertake training in the assessment, development, and management of new technologies; and (f) international programmes for cooperation in capacity building related to technology research and development.

The United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development (UNCSD) has set up an Ad Hoc Working Group on Technology Transfer and Cooperation. The group has identified inadequate financial resources, shortage of suitably trained manpower and of appropriate institutions as major difficulties in technology transfer (UNECOSOC, 1994). The Working Group suggested several mechanisms for implementing many of the actions suggested in the preceding paragraph. The Group recommended ways to facilitate the transfer of technologies in the public sector, and also recognised the crucial role of the private sector in the transfer of technology. Subsequent Reports of UNECOSOC (1995, 1996) have elaborated on this theme, and proposed activities by governments that would contribute to the dissemination of information, capacity building and institutional development, financial mechanisms, and partnership arrangements.

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