Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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13.4.1 Barriers

In recent years, attention has focused on the limitations of past waste management investments and the identification of more effective means of technology transfer. The principal barriers to technology transfer in the waste management sector have been discussed more fully elsewhere (see, for example, IPCC, 1996b WGII, TP1; Bartone, 1997; Serageldin, 1994). Briefly, the principal barriers within countries include:

  • Limited financing: Developing basic infrastructure to collect and treat solid waste and wastewater can be extremely expensive. Frequently, those regions where the lack of waste management is felt most severely are also some of the poorest and fastest growing. Local governments often find that they cannot generate the investment required, and availability of private financing for these types of projects can be limited, particularly if the recipient governments are not considered "credit-worthy." Case Study 19, in Section III, gives an example of a financial barrier.
  • Limited Institutional Capabilities: Waste management systems require well developed institutional frameworks to ensure that waste is collected as expected, disposal and treatment facilities are operated and maintained effectively, and revenues collected.
  • Jurisdictional complexity: Effective waste management involves different levels of government (local, state or provincial, and national), as well as different departments within a jurisdiction. Conflicting and competing priorities can impede the efficient development and implementation of systems.
  • Need for Community Involvement: Ultimately, the success of a waste management system depends upon the willingness of the public to use it. Unfortunately, many waste management projects have historically focused on large, centralised infrastructure investments and have either ignored the role of the community or included it too late in the process. The results of such investments have been poorly designed or ill-suited projects lacking public support. Indeed, reviews of waste management projects have indicated that sustainability and performance improve to the degree that end-users are involved in the design and financing of the project (Serageldin, 1994).

Mitigation projects can be successfully integrated into larger waste management efforts provided they are able to meet the needs and priorities of end-users, decision-makers, and financial supporters. However, mitigation projects may confront additional barriers, including:

  • Lack of familiarity with the potential to reduce methane generation or capture the methane emissions associated with waste management;
  • Unwillingness or inability to commit additional human or financial resources to investigating and addressing the climactic implications of the waste management project; and
  • Additional institutional complexity when new groups, representing issues such as energy generation or byproduct marketing, are incorporated into the project.

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