Working Group III: Mitigation

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5.1.2 Special Report on Technology Transfer – Barriers and Opportunities

This IPCC Special Report was prepared in response to a request made by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change through its Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to provide input on the issue of “Development and assessment of methodological and technological aspects of transfer of technology”. The focus of the report is on transfer of technology, and it describes actions that governments and other stakeholders can undertake to enhance technology transfer within and between countries. It emphasizes that governments have a key role to play in initiating and facilitating technology transfer, either directly or by creating an enabling environment for the private sector and community involvement.

While the technology transfer process can be complex and intertwined, certain stages can be identified. These include the identification of needs, choice of technology, assessment of conditions of transfer, agreement, and implementation. Evaluation and adjustment to local conditions, and replication are other important stages.

Barriers to the transfer of ESTs arise at each stage of the process. These vary according to the specific context from sector to sector and can manifest themselves differently in developed and developing countries, and in EITs. These barriers range from lack of information; insufficient human capabilities; political and economic barriers, such as lack of capital, high transaction costs, lack of full cost pricing, and trade and policy barriers; institutional and structural barriers; lack of understanding of local needs; business limitations, such as risk aversion in financial institutions; institutional limitations, such as insufficient legal protection; and inadequate environmental codes and standards.

The report further notes that there is no preset answer to enhancing technology transfer. The identification, analysis, and prioritization of barriers should be country based, and actions should be tailored to overcome specific barriers, interests, and influences of specific stakeholders in order to develop effective policy tools.

The thrust of the technology transfer report is on the identification of actions that governments may pursue to overcome barriers that slow or prevent the transfer of technology either within or across countries. This chapter of the TAR (Third Assessment Report) provides an in-depth discussion of the literature on barriers and opportunities, and provides a framework for differentiating between different types of potentials and barriers to technology penetration. The framework also helps in identifying the role of research, development and demonstration phases, and their linkage to the eventual market acceptance of technology. The chapter also discusses the opportunities for technology penetration, but it limits the discussion on policies and measures to sectoral interventions. A discussion of the broader policies and measures is found in Chapter 6.

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