Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer

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1.9 The Changing Roles of Key Stakeholders: Governments, Private Sector, Communities and NGOs

While acknowledging the crucial role that governments have to play in the formulation and implementation of policies that facilitate technology transfer, for example, via ODA and other measures, there is increasing recognition of the dominant role of the private sector in actually bringing about the successful transfer of technologies, especially in the case of mitigation. Agenda 21 and FCCC, and the statements of the CoP make frequent references to this role. Von Moltke (1992) and others have advocated letting the markets determine the choice of technology and of transfer modes, once suitable macroeconomic conditions and policies have been put in place by governments. Heaton et al (1994) recommend the diffusion of environmental technology through transnational commercial networks, the development of business charters for environmental technology cooperation, and the creation of environmental technology investment corporations financed on a long-term basis through private sources. The CDM provides considerable scope for creative partnerships involving private parties fostering technology transfer for implementing the FCCC.

The private sector has always played an important role in the development of energy efficient technologies, which reduce the emissions of GHGs. It is again becoming increasingly active in developing renewable energy technologies, after a loss of interest following the sharp decline in oil prices during the 1980s. Several hundred companies are now involved in the manufacture of wind turbines, photovoltaic systems and component devices (Anderson, 1997). They are benefiting from work that is frequently sponsored directly by governments and by multilateral organisations, such as the Global Environment Facility and its Implementing Agencies - the World Bank, UNDP and UNEP.

There are an increasing number of companies that are already involved not only in the actual transfer of specific technologies, e.g. wind turbines and solar photovoltaics (Browne, 1997), but also in undertaking broad analyses dealing with technology transfer for their own use or the use of governments (Touche Ross, 1991) and transnational organisations. Illustrations of this recent trend are the International Climate Change Partnership (ICCP), formed in 1991, and one of the largest international industry coalitions focused exclusively on climate change issues, whose members include major transnational corporations and NGOs, and the Pew Center for Climate Change established in 1998, gathering some 22 companies in its Business Environmental Leadership Council.

At the community level and especially in adaptation situations, individual citizens, small-scale enterprises and NGOs are the main stakeholders, concerned with agriculture, forestry, coastal management, etc.

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