15.7.2 Possible Approaches to Promote Technology Transfer
The barriers identified above will not be overcome overnight. Many relate to
fundamental and intrinsic characteristics and principles of today's society.
Adjusting the process of technology transfer to accommodate societal imperfections
will be easier to accomplish than the reverse. There are a number of important
opportunities to promote technology transfer for coastal adaptation. All relevant
stakeholders identified in this chapter have important responsibilities to seize
these opportunities. Each of them has specific roles in technology transfer,
but generally, neither of them can trigger all steps involved. It is therefore
essential that there is true collaboration and interaction amongst all stakeholders.
All stakeholders' interests must be known and considered to prevent the transfer
of inappropriate technology, including technology that is culturally or socially
unacceptable or cannot be operated or maintained using local expertise. Already
in the project-formulation stage, it is crucial to consult and involve local
Chapter 1 provided four questions that reinterpret the
issues raised by the fourth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC CoP-4) in the Annex to its Decision
4/CP.4 (see Box 1.1 in Chapter 1 for all questions). The
four questions can be summarised as:
- How can a receptive environment for technology transfer be created?
- What additional bilateral and multilateral efforts are needed, if any?
- What steps can be taken by Annex II Parties?
- What additional role can the private sector play?
The number and magnitude of ongoing coastal infrastructural projects suggest
that coastal planners and managers are already receptive to technology transfer
of a particular kind. However, there is a need to proceed from single transactions
involving only hardware to long-term partnerships that also concentrate on enhancing
human capacity by providing technical assistance and in-situ training. Moreover,
awareness that protection is often not the most appropriate strategy to adapt
to climate change is growing, but it remains difficult for coastal planners
to oversee the entire spectrum of available options. The establishment of a
clearinghouse for coastal-adaptation technologies could facilitate the task
of technology selection and evaluation. Such a clearinghouse would develop and
hold an extensive catalogue of available technologies, including information
on their costs, performance, owner (if not publicly owned), availability, implementation
requirements and other relevant issues.
Addressing the prevalent barriers does not require setting up new bilateral
and multilateral institutions or mechanisms. Instead, existing activities and
institutions need to be refocused to improve the efficiency and effectiveness
of coastal technology transfer, taking climate change into account. Technology
transfer will be served by regional collaboration, especially when it concerns
countries that do not have the necessary human or financial resources to develop
or manage large projects independently. Examples of successful projects involving
technology transfer that are the result of regional collaborations are PICCAP
and CPACC. Primarily aimed at information development, these projects recognise
that effective coastal adaptation and related technology transfer require a
better understanding of local adaptation needs.
Annex II Parties have an important responsibility to facilitate coastal adaptation
in vulnerable countries. Many donors have traditionally attached a higher priority
to projects aimed at mitigating climate change than to adaptation projects.
The UNFCCC CoP-4, however, decided that activities directed at the preparation
of adaptation activities are now eligible for funding by the GEF. This decision,
along with the pressing need for adaptation, may stimulate other donors to revisit
their priorities. For most locations, there is no need to invest in the development
of new technologies. Rather, the evaluation, adjustment and repetition of existing
technologies need to be stimulated. Annex II Parties may also promote the establishment
of collaborative mechanisms for technology transfer.
The private sector may be able to extend its role in technology transfer when
provided with the right incentives. These incentives would tend to increase
the profitability of socially desirable technology-transfer projects and could
include subsidies for investment and tax exemptions of income. The role of the
private sector may also be extended by regulation. In transnational technology
transfer, for example, the home company could be required to involve a partner
company in the host country. Finally, professional organisations can stimulate
private-sector involvement by lobbying and engaging in relevant networks.
Finally, in a Special Report that discusses the methodological and technological
issues involved in technology transfer one might lose sight of the fact that
technology by itself is not a panacea. Coastal-adaptation technologies can provide
an important contribution to the sustainable development in coastal zones, but
their effectiveness depends strongly on the economic, institutional, legal and
socio-cultural contexts in which they are implemented. Furthermore, climate
change is but one of the many interacting stresses in coastal zones. The importance
of controlling non-climate stresses in the quest to reduce coastal vulnerability
to climate change must not be underestimated.