Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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4.5.1 Capacity-building for mitigation - an overview

There are many failures of technology transfer that result from an absence of human and institutional capacity. For example, inappropriate choice of technology can result from missing capabilities for searching, selecting and negotiating. Joint ventures may not produce long-term learning or absorption of technology or development of competence if capabilities for learning and integrating are missing. Missing implementation capabilities may result in unsuccessful employment of purchased technologies and unforeseen problems. Capacity is needed to assess, select, import, develop and adapt appropriate technologies. When existing technologies approach the end of their lifetime, replacement technology may require active market research for identifying and evaluating new technologies, which is generally limited because of the information costs and lack of indigenous capacity (Hoffman and Garvin, 1990).

Much of the focus on capacity building has been on enhancing scientific and technical skills, capabilities, and institutions in developing countries as a pre-condition for assessing, adapting, managing, and developing technologies (UNCTAD, 1995). But the need for enhanced skills and capabilities can also occur in the areas of technology selection, financing, marketing, maintenance, service, information dissemination, utility regulation, policy development, technology transfer, market intermediation, tax policies, macroeconomic policies, and property rights. Many studies acknowledge that capacity building needs vary greatly from country to country, and stress that case studies and other types of analyses should assess the needs of particular countries (see Mugabe, 1996; UNCSD, 1996 ; Van Berkel et al., 1996).

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