Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer

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11.6 Lessons Learned

Technology transfer of agriculture and know-how, similar to other sectors, include financial flows between countries, activities undertaken by governments to facilitate the introduction and use of ESTs, private sector banks, small and medium enterprises, and transnational corporations, as well as success stories from different countries. (FCCC/SB/1997/1)

Agriculture will be heavily influenced by climate change. Sustainable agricultural development is an ongoing priority for all countries. Transfer of adaptation and mitigation technologies has significant benefits independent of climate change consideration. But is even more relevant, now climate change will offer greater challenges and development opportunities for agricultural systems.

Carbon emissions from fossil fuels used in agricultural production comprise 4% of the approximate 3.4Wm-2 radiative forcing of the direct and indirect greenhouse effects of changing gases. Carbon storage in agricultural soil and durable agricultural products can be increased greatly in the future but is still surrounded with uncertainty for the time being. Controlling these emissions or enhancing carbon sinks will be challenging because of technological and other constraints. Available options for GHG reductions, which can be transferred within and between countries are improvements in acquiring new species and varieties, changing tillage systems, treating livestock manure and recovering biogas as energy. However, the specificity in physical, economic, market, historical, and cultural conditions, and also the institutional and technological capacities in different regions and countries create implementing barriers to the diffusion of these options. Exploiting the other benefits of these options such as increasing productivity, environmental externalities and economic gains will improve the likelihood of their implementation.

Adaptation will be important in limiting negative effects and taking advantage of beneficial changes in climate. The extent of adaptability depends on the affordability of such measures, particularly in developing countries, access to know-how and technology, the rate of climate change, and biophysical constraints such as water availability, soil characteristics, and crop genetics. A range of adaptation options can be employed to increase the flexibility and adaptability of vulnerable systems. Many of these options, if they also abate climate change, will be of immediate benefit, and can therefore be considered "no-regret" technologies, giving them the highest priority for technology transfer.

Even though adaptation and mitigation options are clear, integrated options need consideration in technology transfer. These include the following factors: option need to be based on development needs, operate at a desired capacity and technologies need to be adapted to local conditions. For example, technology transfer of fertiliser use, as a main source of GHG, is focused upon and must therefore be balanced by productivity needs and by abatement of GHG emissions.

In the agricultural sector, as most recipients are developing countries with limited financial abilities, the governments of the suppliers' side can play an important role to encourage technology transfer through compensation, tax reducing and so on. They can formulate policies and programmes for the effective transfer of ESTs that are publicly or privately owned. In the case of privately owned technologies, the adoption of the following measures for technology transfer could be considered:

The main flow of technology transfer is from developed to developing countries dealing with climate change, as was emphasised by the UNFCCC and The Kyoto Protocol. Some cases of existing agricultural technology transfer among developing countries, such as CGIAR and other multilateral systems, can be most helpful in assisting countries dealing with climate change if their capacities are strengthened. International organisations and relevant developed countries can make great contributions by encouraging and supporting technology transfer among developing countries.

Climate change requires extra effort to transfer technologies that:

At minimum, this extra effort calls for a restored CGIAR and linked NARSs.

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