Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to asses available information on the science, impacts and the economics of climate change and of mitigation options to address it. It provides also, on request, scientific/technical/ socio-economic advice to the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since its inception the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports, Special Reports, Technical Papers, methodologies and other products which have become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, scientists and other experts.

This Special Report has been prepared by IPCC Working Group III in response to a request by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to the UNFCC. Innovation and enhanced efforts to transfer environmentally sound tech-nology to limit greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to climate change will be required to meet the objective of the Climate Convention and to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts. The report addresses the technology transfer problem in the con-text of climate change while emphasizing the sustainable devel-opment perspective. Technology transfer is defined as the broad set of processes covering the flows of know-how, experience and equipment and is the result of many day-to-day decisions of the different stakeholders involved. A number of social, economic, political, legal, and technological factors influence the flow and quality of technology transfer. Essential elements of successful transfers include consumer and business awareness, access to information, availability of a wide range of technical, business, management and regulatory skills locally, and sound economic policy and regulatory frameworks. Technology transfers that meet local needs and priorities are more likely to be successful. But there is no pre-set answer to enhancing technology transfer. Interactions and barriers vary according to sector, type of tech-nology and country, and recent trends in international financial flows that drive technology transfer are altering the relative capacities and roles of different stakeholders. Policy actions therefore need to be tailored to the specific context and interests. The report elaborates on what governments can do to facilitate and enhance the transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies, but it also aims at reaching decision makers in the private sector, lending institutions, multilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the interested public.

As usual in the IPCC, success in producing this report has depend-ed first and foremost on the enthusiasm and cooperation of sci-entists and other experts worldwide. These individuals have devoted enormous time and effort to producing this report and we are extremely grateful for their commitment to the IPCC process.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to:

  • Robert T. Watson, the Chairman of the IPCC;
  • The Co-chairs of Working Group III Bert Metz and Ogunlade Davidson;
  • The Section Coordinators Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Jayant Sathaye, Youba Sokona, William Chandler, Stephen O. Andersen and Ajay Mathur;
  • The staff of the Working Group III and II Technical Support Units, including Rob Swart, Ms Sascha van Rooijen, Jan-Willem Martens, Ms Laura VanWie McGrory, Ms Flo Ormond and Marlies Kamp;
  • N. Sundararaman, Secretary of the IPCC, Renate Christ, Deputy Secretary of the IPCC and the staff of the IPCC Secretariat Rudie Bourgeois, Chantal Ettori and Annie Courtin.


G.O.P. Obasi
World Meteorological

K. Töpfer
Executive Director
United Nations Enviroment
and Director-General
United Nations Office
in Nairobi

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