15.6.4 Barriers to Transnational Technology Transfer
Traditional barriers to technology transfer between countries, such as concerns
by national governments about issues of national defence or economic competition,
are generally not applicable to the transfer of coastal-adaptation technologies.
However, government investment in R&D is primarily mission-oriented and
focuses on needs and capacities within the home country. Consequently, many
technology transactions across countries tend to be driven by (the desire to
sell) technology rather than by the needs and special requirements of the host
country. On the other hand, host countries often lack the necessary infrastructure
for developing a market for the technology. In addition, government officials
may lack technology awareness, while the workforce may lack technical skills
and expertise (BCSD, 1992).
As noted before, ODA-funded projects have traditionally been directed towards
costly infrastructure projects, which may be maladaptive. This suggests that
the principal financial barrier to technology transfer for coastal adaptation
is not a shortage of funds, but the preference of donors as well as recipients
to underwrite projects involving hard technologies developed in industrialised
countries. Financial means for coastal adaptation to climate change have been
limited thus far. For example, the GEF has only funded activities to plan for
adaptation (i.e., information development), rather than supporting actual adaptation
activities. Two successful GEF-funded projects to help Pacific and Caribbean
countries to plan adaptation to global climate change are the Pacific Islands
Climate Change Assistance Programme (PICCAP) and the Caribbean Planning for
Adaptation to Climate Change (CPACC). Case Study 20 provides
a summary of relevant technology-transfer issues in CPACC.
Barriers of distance and culture must be overcome in all international transactions.
These difficulties are multiplied if markets, information sources and the means
of matching potential partners are poorly developed.