Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer

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5.5.3 Technology Partnership Programmes

Technology transfer aimed at fostering mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change will be most effective where it engages all key stakeholders in designing and implementing technology transfer actions. These key stakeholders include in-country and international private businesses and investors, government agencies, and bilateral and multilateral donor organisations. While private businesses play the key role in implementing most technology transfer activities, national governments and international donor agencies can help remove market barriers and set conditions to ensure effective private sector participation in technology transfer. Technology transfer activities will be most effective where businesses, governments, and donor organisations collaborate in designing and implementing these activities to make the most productive use of their respective resources and authorities.

Since climate change is not explicitly considered in most development plans, climate change considerations are not fully integrated into the development plans that shape markets for new technologies. In many cases, consideration of climate change issues will only require marginal adjustment to development plans, but this process of adjustment and review is critical in ensuring that development programmes contribute to climate change goals. Therefore, it is important for climate change technology transfer activities to respond to developing country determination of what type of technology transfer will best contribute to their development needs while also addressing climate change. Once these technology transfer priorities are well understood, developing countries can work with the private sector and the international donor community to facilitate technology transfer activities to respond to these priorities.

Technology partnerships can also be exclusively at a firm (company) level. The United Nations (1996, p.x) has suggested that "firms in many developing countries--the least developed ones in particular--often do not have the funds, trained human resources or infrastructure to pursue a technology-based innovation process on their own. In such cases a level of cooperation is needed that is qualitatively different from that associated with traditional technology transfer. Technology partnership (TP) is one opportunity for participation by developing countries' firms in the emerging forms of technological alliances and cooperation."

The essential characteristics of technology partnerships between enterprises from industrial and developing countries are typically the following: (a) they are long-term arrangements; (b) they are mutually beneficial; (c) they contain an explicit commitment to cooperation; (d) they have as one of their central goals the learning process of both partners; (e) they occur within a technology system and within specific economic relations; (f) they enhance the level and depth of both partners' technological capabilities (UN, 1996).

One recent example of a technology partnership programme is the Technology Cooperation Agreement Pilot Project by the U.S. government (see Box 5.5). Another example is the Technology Partnership Initiative, run in the United Kingdom by the Joint Environmental Markets Unit of the DTI and DETR. Joint demonstration projects of many kinds represent another form of technology partnership; one example is the project in Brazil by a consortium of twelve companies, including private and public Brazilian enterprises and multinational firms, to develop a biomass gasifier/gas turbine power plant designed to use wood chips as fuel. The consortium was created by the joint entrepreurship of foundations, industry associations, and government entities (Norberg-Bohm and Hart, 1995). And the multilateral "Climate Technology Initiative" has established a programme called "Technology Cooperation Implementation Plans" (TCIP) to carry out a number of partnerships (UNFCCC, 1999).

Box 5.5 Technology Cooperation Agreement Pilot Project (TCAPP)

In 1997, the U.S. Government launched the Technology Cooperation Agreement Pilot Project (TCAPP ) to provide a model for a collaborative approach to foster technology cooperation for climate change mitigation technologies. Under TCAPP, the Governments of Brazil, China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and the Philippines are currently working with the private sector and bilateral and international donor organisations to attract private investment in clean energy technologies in their countries. Many other donor initiatives have also adopted similar collaborative approaches between country officials, businesses, and donors in fostering private investment. However, TCAPP is one of the few initiatives that has engaged climate change officials in this collaborative process to lead to actions that address both development needs and climate change goals.

TCAPP has two basic phases of activities. In the first phase, the participating countries have developed technology cooperation frameworks that define their climate change technology cooperation priorities and the actions necessary to attract private investment in these priorities. These actions include efforts aimed at capturing immediate investment opportunities (e.g., issuance of investment solicitations, investment financing, business matchmaking and capacity building, etc.) and longer-term efforts to remove market barriers. In the second phase, TCAPP assists the country teams in securing the private sector, in-country, and donor participation and support necessary to successfully implement these actions. This second phase of activities includes two major types of activities:

  1. Attracting direct private investment in immediate market opportunities. This includes helping the countries develop and issue investment solicitations for large-scale opportunities and business matchmaking and financing activities. TCAPP has established an international business network to help guide the design and implementation of these activities.
  2. Securing support for actions to address market barriers. These actions range from business capacity building to policy reform. This includes development of domestic implementation plans for these actions and securing necessary donor support to assist with implementation of these plans. TCAPP assists the countries in preparing implementation plans and donor proposals and in matching country needs with donor programmes.

Sources: NREL, 1998, UNFCCC, 1999.

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