This chapter has examined the characteristics and trends of different international
financial flows that support technology transfer. None of these is a direct
measure of technology transfer, nor is it clear how environmentally sound these
flows are. The various financial flows are the best available indicators, however,
and allow a comparison of technology transfer trends over time. In general,
though, levels of both technology transfer and technology diffusion are difficult
Official Development Assistance experienced a general downward trend during
the mid-1990s that was reversed in 1998, while foreign direct investment increased
significantly during the decade. By 1997, private flows supplied more than three
fourths of the total net resource flows from DAC member countries and multilateral
agencies to developing countries, compared with one third in 1990. In large
part this reflects the great increase in private sector investment in developing
countries that occurred during the 1990s. Sources and amounts of development
finance, some portion of which goes for technology transfer, vary widely from
region to region. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa received in 1997 an average
of some US$27 per capita of foreign aid and US$3 per capita of foreign direct
investment. By contrast, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean received
US$13 per capita of aid and US$62 per capita of foreign direct investment. Recent
initiatives to spur development progress in Africa aim to respond to these disparities.
Total private flows to developing countries peaked in the first half of 1997
and then fell significantly in the wake of the financial crisis that started
in Asia. Most of the decline was due to reduced bank lending by the private
sector, although this remained robust to Latin America. Foreign direct investment
in developing countries is estimated to have increased slightly. Most private
transfer of improved technologies, however, still occurs between developed countries
and that which occurs to developing countries is selective.
Grants provided by non-governmental and philanthropic organisations have remained
steady during the 1990s. Despite their relatively modest amounts, like ODA many
of these are directed at least developed countries and at capacity building
efforts. NGOs are particularly important in identifying and promoting the transfer
and diffusion of ESTs that are socially sound.
The role of governments in providing R&D funding for energy-related technologies
deserves careful consideration; linking government-supported R&D programmes
with bilateral aid efforts may hasten technology transfer to developing countries.
Retrieving useful statistics on R&D funding, and deployment, however, is
difficult, especially for private sector R&D activities.
The broad changes in transfer pathways have diminished the direct role of developed
country governments in technology transfer and cooperation. The role of government
is now viewed by many as helping put in place policies and measures that hasten
the transfer of technologies by the private sector.
Technology transfer is difficult to measure, and little is actually known about
how much climate-relevant technology is successfully transferred each year.
Ambitious investigation and reporting over a number of years are needed to build
a consensus on what is actually occurring, and to give governments better information
on which to base policies and programmes.