Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established jointly by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assess periodically the science, impacts and socioeconomics of climate change and of adaptation and mitigation options. The IPCC provides, on request, scientific and technical advice to the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its subsidiary bodies. The CoP at its first session in Berlin 1995 requested the IPCC to include in its assessments an elaboration of the terms under which transfer of environmentally sound technologies and know-how could take place.

As a further elaboration of the COP-1 request, IPCC was requested by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to prepare a Technical Paper on methodological and technological aspects of technology transfer (see FCCC/SBSTA/ 1996/8, Annex III). The objective of the paper would be to synthesise information from the Second Assessment Report on experiences with:
(i) types of transfer, technology evaluation, and options;
(ii) sectors targeted;
(iii) role of participants (for example governments, private sector, IG0s, NG0s);
(iv) approaches to promote co-operation;
(v) issues related to capacity building.

According to IPCC procedures, Technical Papers should be based on material already present in the IPCC reports. However, the Second Assessment Report did not contain sufficient information to prepare a Technical Paper that would address the questions raised. Therefore, the IPCC decided at its Twelfth Plenary Session in Mexico City to prepare a Special Report on Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer.

In order to provide structure in the wide variety of subjects, the writing team chose to divide the Report in three sections:

Section I provides a framework for analysis of the complex and multi-facetted nature of the technology transfer process, emphasising the sustainable development perspective. It examines broad trends of technology transfer in recent years, explores the international political context, discusses policy tools for overcoming key barriers and creating enabling environments and provides an overview of financing and partnerships.

Section II provides a sectoral perspective on the transfer of adaptation and mitigation technologies. Every chapter discusses the prevalent climate mitigation and adaptation technologies, the magnitude of current and future transfers, technology transfer issues within and between countries and the lessons learned in that particular sector.

Section III includes a wide variety of case studies to illustrate the issues discussed in section I and II and demonstrates the distinctive problems and special opportunities that stakeholders are likely to encounter in dealing with technology transfer.

In accordance with the wide scope of technology transfer, the team of authors put together to prepare the report represented a multitude of disciplines and a broad geographical distribution. The writing team consisted of 8 Section Coordinators, 24 Coordinating Lead Authors, 120 Lead Authors and 53 Contributing Authors. In accordance with the revised IPCC Procedures, 20 Review Editors were appointed to oversee the review process.

Over 180 Expert and Government Reviewers submitted valuable suggestions for improvement during the review process. All the comments have been afforded appropriate consideration by the writing team and genuine scientific controversies have been reflected adequately in the text of the report as confirmed in the Review Editors report. The revised document was submitted to the Working Group III Plenary in Kathmandu, Nepal, that took place from 8 to 10 March, 2000. There, the Summary for Policymakers was approved in detail and the underlying report accepted. The IPCC Plenary finally accepted the report and the Summary for Policy makers during its Sixteenth Session that took place in Montreal, Canada, from 1-8 May 2000.

We wish to commend all Section Coordinators, Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors and all Review Editors for all the effort they put into the compilation of this Report and deeply appreciate the commitment they have shown.

It is with profound sadness and regret that we have to convey the message that three of our dear colleagues and team members passed away during the writing process of this Report: Katsuo Seiki (August 1998), David Hall (August 1999) and John Turkson (January 2000). They were highly appreciated members of the team, John Turkson as Lead Author of Chapter 4 and 5 and David Hall as review editor of Chapter 12. Katsuo Seiki was envisaged CLA of then Chapter 18 and showed as a Vice-Chair of IPCC much interest in the issue of technology transfer. We will remember their excellent work and enjoyable personalities.

We are grateful to:

  • The Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi, India, and in particular Dr. Pachauri, the Director and vice chair of IPCC for hosting the first Lead Authors meeting;
  • The United Kingdom Climate Impact Programme of the Environmental Change Unit at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, for hosting the second Lead Authors meeting with the support of the United Kingdom Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions;
  • The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology of the Government of Nepal, for hosting the Fifth Plenary of the IPCC Working Group III from 8 to 10 March, 2000, where the Summary for Policymakers was approved line by line and the underlying Report accepted.

We would finally like to express our gratitude to the three successive Report Co-ordinators at the Technical Support Units: Laura van Wie-McGrory (TSU WG II), and Sascha van Rooijen and Jan-Willem Martens (TSU WG III) for their never ending dedication to get the report in its current shape. We thank Flo Ormond of the Technical Support Unit of Working Group II and Marlies Kamp of the Technical Support Unit of Working Group III for their invaluable support throughout the preparation of the Report. Also other members of the Technical Support Units of Working Group II and III have provided much appreciated assistance, including Rob Swart, Anita Meier, Jiahua Pan, Remko Ybema and Dave Dokken. Dr. N. Sundararaman, Secretary of the IPCC, and the staff of the IPCC Secretariat in Geneva ensured the essential services of providing government liaison and travel of experts from the developing and transitional economy countries as well as making the arrangements with the Government of Nepal. We are also grateful to Renate Christ, Deputy Secretary of the IPCC, for her substantive inputs on various occasions during the preparation of the Report.

We would like to encourage the readers, which include policymakers, scientists, managers, professionals and academics, to evaluate the contents of this work, adjust it to their own conditions and ensure a rapid and widespread replication of its lessons across the world. We sincerely hope that this Report will thus contribute to the widespread use of environmentally sound technologies and assist in achieving the objectives of the Climate Convention.

Ogunlade Davidson, Co-chair of Working Group III
Bert Metz, Co-chair of Working Group III

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