Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer

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11.5.3 Programmes, Policies and other Interventions for Technology Transfer between Countries

Agricultural development has been strongly influenced by technology. New technology has been the most consistent driving force behind agricultural growth. Evenson (1994) estimates that it has contributed from one-half to two-thirds of output gains over recent decades. Thus, strengthening agricultural technology transfer between countries will have significant impact on the improvement of production capability, increased food variety, quality, and security, as well as balanced agricultural development, resource utilisation and conservation.

Technology transfer between developed and developing countries

The flow of technology transfer in the agricultural sector from developed to developing countries dealing with climate change is going to be crucial as the majority of the climate mitigation and adaptation projects are going to be funded by investors, bilateral and multilateral assistance agencies, NGOs and foundations, largely based in developed countries.

Role of Governments
Governments are going to have an important function in the selection and adoption of mitigation and adaptation technologies in the agricultural sector. Governments can promote effective modalities for the access and transfer, in particular to developing countries, of ESTs by means of activities mentioned in Chapter 34 of Agenda 21 and decisions of the CoPs (see also Section 3.3.1 in Chapter 3 on Agenda 21). Some of the possible measures for the governments are to: (i) increase funding to mitigation and adaptation projects and to programmes on: preventing land degradation, improving water use efficiency, breeding new varieties and manufacturing agrochemicals to mitigate and adapt to climate change; (ii) increase funding for improving the capacity to develop and manage EST; (iii) increase funding for institution and human capacity building and for improving R&D capabilities in developing countries; (iv) facilitate adaptation by farmers by providing incentives, by regulation and by improving existing or setting up new institutions; (v) promote research and development activities directed at technological innovation and technology transfer for climate-change adaptation and mitigation in agriculture; (vi) develop national agricultural information systems to produce reports on state-of-the-art technology, disseminate information on available technologies, their sources, their environmental risk and help users to identify their needs; and, (vii) purchase patent and licenses on commercial terms for their transfer to developing countries on non-commercial terms as part of development cooperation for sustainable development.

Role of International organisations
International organisations could (i) increase funding for institutional and human capacity building, and for improving R&D capabilities in developing countries to implement the UNFCCC; (ii) provide new and additional grant and concessional funding to meet the agreed incremental costs of projects to achieve agreed global environmental benefits in climate change; (iii) increase funding to agricultural sector projects and programmes to mitigate and adapt to climate change; (vi) develop regional and international agricultural information systems to collect and report the state-of-the-art technologies, disseminate the information on available technologies and relevant information and help users to identify their needs; and, (vii) support central laboratories to do analytical work for developing countries, providing uniform methods and equipment and producing comparable results (as originally planned for soil and plant analysis at the IBSRAM in Bangkok).

Box 11.8 Capacity Building for the Implementation of UNFCCC

In the Research Programme on Methane Emissions from Rice Fields funded by GEF in 1993, training has been provided to the country teams working on the ALGAS project. In the ALGAS project, capacity has been raised through training over 160 national technical experts in elements of GHG inventory, mitigation and project identification. These experts are now providing input to the process of national communications and helping identify other climate change mitigation projects for future development.

Role of Private sector
Technology generation is shared between the public and the private sectors, with the share of the private sector tending to be greater in more developed countries. Private research is attracted to subsectors where markets for research results exist and can be privately appropriated. Therefore, the private sector is going to play a critical role in the agricultural sector to deal with climate change. Some of the measures for the private sector to promote technology transfer could be to: (i) provide technical assistance to appropriate users on its new technologies or new varieties; (ii) promote cooperation on research and development activities directed at technological innovation and technology transfer for climate-change adaptation and mitigation in agriculture.

Technology transfer among developing countries

Technology transfers among developing countries are limited, because most advanced technologies are developed and owned by industrialised countries. In technology transfer between developing countries, finance can become an issue. For example, the technology transfer of small scale biogas digesters is mainly from developing country to developing country and it is limited by financial problems. Thus, if the technology is transferred from one developing country to other developing countries, both provider and recipient may need new and additional financial resources from international organisations or developed countries. Therefore, international organisations and developed countries could (i) increase funding for institutional and human capacity building and for improving R&D capabilities in developing countries; (ii) fund both the technology provider and technology recipient to promote a successful technology transfer; (iii) facilitate adaptation by farmers by providing incentives, by regulation and by improving existing or setting up new institutions. See Box 11.9.

Box 11.9 Biogas Digester Technology Transfer from China to other Developing Countries

The Asia-Pacific Region Biogas Research and Training Center (BRTC) has been contributing a lot to promote the development of biogas digester technology in developing countries. Since it was established, the BRTC has held 21 training workshops with more than 270 participants coming from 71 countries. Most participants of the programme acquired the skills to construct, operate and maintain small scale biogas digesters in their countries. The center proved to be a valuable tool in demonstrating the usefulness of capacity building in transferring a technology. During the period 1980 to 1990, more than 50 scientists were sent out to assist the construction of over 70 digesters in 22 developing countries. Biogas digester use has been expanded in the developing countries located in Asian, Pacific and African regions. This technology has provided clean and convenient energy for farmers. The diffusion of this technology is limited by financial assistance. New and additional financial resources for both providers and receivers of developing countries are expected to enhance the benefit practices for abatement of GHG (Yizhang, 1990; Zhao, 1990).

In order to improve/stimulate technology transfer in agriculture, a multi-level technology transfer system (global, regional, and national) can be established. The global system may be made up of three major players: NARSs of developing countries, IARCs, and advanced laboratories and institutions in developed countries. All of them play common and different roles within government efforts to support technology transfer for climate change.

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