Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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12.3.4 Generic Barriers to Technology Transfer

The current and emerging pathways and mechanisms have several limitations to promote climate mitigation technologies, namely, (i) limited financial resources, (ii) inadequate information on the costs and potential benefits, (iii) limited technical capacity, (iii) absence of policies and institutions to process, evaluate and clear mitigation projects, (iv) uncertainty regarding quantity of carbon abated and its permanence, (v) a longer period to realise carbon benefits (eg. hardwood timber plantations), (vi) low economic returns for some technologies, and (vii) absence of consideration of the economic value of environmental benefits. In addition, the forestry sector faces land use regulation and other macroeconomic policies that usually favour conversion to other land uses such as agriculture and cattle ranching. Insecure land tenure regimes and tenure rights, and subsidies favouring agriculture or livestock are among the most important barriers for ensuring sustainable management of forests as well as sustainability of C abatement.

In many tropical countries, the national and state forest departments play a predominant role in all aspects of forest protection, regeneration and management. Currently lack of funding and technical capabilities in most tropical countries limit generation of information required for planning and implementation of forestry mitigation projects. Apart from a few exceptions, developing countries do not have adequate capacity to participate in international research projects, and to adapt and transfer results of the research to the local level. Research on forests has not only suffered from a lack of resources; it has not been sufficiently interdisciplinary to provide an integrated view of forestry (FAO, 1997). However, the majority of the forestry research institutions in developing countries do not function as R&D laboratories on the patterns of research institutions in industrialised countries. Unlike in the energy or transportation sectors, the technologies or even the management systems are going to be forest type or country specific. Complimentary to R&D activities of research institutes, special information transfer and extension services are desirable.

Forestry-sector GHG mitigation activities and joint implementation projects generally face a wide range of technical issues that challenge their credibility. The twin objectives of using forestry to mitigate climate change and managing forests sustainably do pose a challenge in monitoring and verifying benefits from carbon offset projects in the sector (Andrasko, 1997). The emergence of improved monitoring methods could force reappraisal of the relative credibility of activities to manage carbon sinks. Monitoring and verification are key elements in gaining the credibility needed to capture the potential benefits of forestry sector response options, particularly in reducing deforestation (Fearnside, 1997). While this is a generic barrier to deforestation reduction initiatives, it also represents an opportunity for transferring the technologies needed to monitor land-use change, and carbon stocks and flows. Among the mitigation options, there is quite a high degree of certainty about reforestation/afforestation, less on forest management and even less on forest conservation.

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