Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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3.4 Technology Transfer under the UNFCCC Agreements

As noted in the introduction to this chapter, the UNFCCC represents a global accord in which developing countries accept their need to be involved in global efforts to address climate change, and undertake the general provisions of Article 4.1, in return for assistance with finance and technology transfer that are set out in later sections of this Article. Article 4.7, referred to earlier, bares this point out in some detail (see Box 3.3).

Box 3.3: Key provisions relating to technology transfer -- UNFCCC
Article 4.1.h (all Parties taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities ...shall): Promote and cooperate in the full, open and prompt exchange of relevant scientific, technological, technical, socio-economic and legal information related to the climate system and climate change, and to the economic and social consequences of various response strategies.

Article 4.3 The developed country Parties .. in Annex II .. shall also provide such financial resources, including for the transfer of technology, needed by the developing country Parties to meet their agreed full incremental costs of implementing measures that are covered by paragraphs 1 of this Article and that are agreed ...

Article 4.4 (Annex II Parties) shall also assist the developing country Parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting the cost of adaptation to those adverse effects.

Article 4.5: The developed country Parties and other developed Parties included in Annex II shall take all practicable steps to promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies and know-how to other Parties, particularly developing country Parties, to enable them to implement the provisions of the Convention. In this process, the developed country Parties shall support the development and enhancement of endogenous capacities and technologies of developing country Parties. Other Parties and organizations in a position to do so may also assist in facilitating the transfer of such technologies.

Article 4.7 The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively implement their commitments under the Convention will depend on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources and transfer of technology …

One important aspect of this was the financial mechanism. The GEF was entrusted with its operation, initially on an interim basis. Operating experience with the GEF and its role in financing the transfer of ESTs is discussed in Chapter 5 of this Report.

Until recently, the focus of the GEF has been primarily on mitigation of climate change, but following CoP3 and CoP4, adaptation has received increasing attention. However, major barriers to the international funding of adaptation activities remain to be overcome. The GEF Operational Strategy prescribes that activities need to have global benefits in order to be eligible for funding. Mitigation activities, aimed at reducing atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations, clearly have global benefits. For adaptation activities, on the other hand, it is difficult to imagine how global benefits can be produced. Adaptation takes place at the scale of an impacted system, which is regional at best, but mostly local.

At CoP4 in Buenos Aires, the decisions on the financial mechanism confirmed the Global Environmental Facility as an "entity entrusted with operation of the financial mechanism of the Convention" and broadened its scope. The mandate was broadened, with reference to the need for "flexibility to respond to changing circumstances". Its funding scope was formally expanded to include more wide-ranging support for building up the capacity of developing countries to address climate change issues, including support for adaptation technologies and full funding of their Second National Communications. The decision also established guidelines for the review of the financial mechanism every four years.

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