AOSIS share initial views on Technology and Technology Transfer

1998-11-02 Samoa on behalf of AOSIS Download PDF

Topic: Climate

AOSIS welcomes this opportunity to present further views on the development and
transfer of technologies, especially as this relates to technology and technology information needs
of developing countries. Several member States of AOSIS have in the past responded to the
survey prepared by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat,
and this paper is intended to further elaborate on the points raised to date.
Although small island developing States have many of the same technology needs as
other developing countries, there are certain particular constraints of scale that makes the
technology needs of small island developing States somewhat unique. Initially in the
negotiations, AOSIS was of the view that for the small island developing States the primary focus
should be on adaptation technologies. However, given the serious nature of the problem of
climate change, and the less than adequate effort which the industrialised countries are willing to
undertake, as evidenced by the Kyoto Protocol, AOSIS sees the need for all countries to do what
they can, if the necessary support is forthcoming. Hence, AOSIS will also be looking into the
possibilities for mitigation activities.
I. Technology transfer in general
There is evidence to suggest the basic position to be that a proportion of technology is
held or owned by Governments and public institutions and that Governments exercise significant
control and influence over the technological knowledge produced in publicly-funded research and
development institutions. In short, there is potential for the generation of publicly-owned
technologies which could be made accessible to developing countries.
The difficulty is that most of these research and development institutions are bound by
their domestic legislation/regulations to certain terms and conditions affecting, inter alia, the use
of these environmentally sound technologies at home, and issuance of licences for their use by
domestic companies. This does not necessarily deny access and licence agreements for
companies in developing countries, although it does make the terms rather stringent and often
discouraging. Yet, if the international community is serious about resolving potentially disastrous
global environmental problems, then there would be significant potential for the sharing and
transfer of publicly-owned and environmentally sound technologies. AOSIS believes that there
would be a good case for these technologies to be treated differently from other technologies. The
incorporation of publicly-funded technologies in transfer and funding arrangements under
multilateral environment agreements, especially with the Montreal Protocol experience in mind,
would be of great potential value.
II. Technologies for mitigation
There has been a lot of work done on this aspect of technology development in AOSIS
member States. However, the scale of the application of most of the new technologies would
make their usage in the small island developing States difficult. AOSIS is therefore of the view
that consideration be given to modifying mitigation technologies to make them more useful to the
small island developing States. In particular, consideration should be given to concentrating on
those technologies which are low cost, proven, high security and offers environmental benefit and
which are also of greatest relevance to small island developing States, such as renewable energy
technologies, and demand side management options, such as end-use energy conservation
technologies, for the energy sector.
III. Technologies for adaptation
The members of AOSIS are at different stages in their national assessments of
their vulnerabilities to climate change and the potential methods for adaptation to climate change.

It has been recognised by AOSIS that in-depth studies, research and analysis will be required in
order to assess as accurately as possible what the effects of climate change will be on the
individual countries and regions of the group.
There is a great deal of work being done to make these assessments. More critically,
there is existing urgency to respond with the right technology to the needs of several low-lying
small island developing States whose national freshwater supplies are already significantly
contaminated by saline intrusion caused by the rising sea levels and changes in ocean
temperatures. Once this work becomes finalised in some member States of AOSIS, preliminary
requirements for adaptation can be discussed. It is expected that in the process of making these
assessments that the member States of AOSIS will identify a number of options and ideas for
adaptation. However, it is recognized that the expertise in adaptation technology is available in all
regions of the world, and that much of the available technologies are unavailable to the small
island developing States. It is also clear that research programs and further studies on adaptation
technologies could usefully complement and strengthen the efforts of the member States of
AOSIS. AOSIS therefore calls for a co-operative arrangement to be developed in the context of
the UNFCCC to better harness the creative capabilities of the scientific and technological
communities in the development of new, proven and innovative adaptation technologies which are
applicable to those States most vulnerable to climate change.
IV. Technology information – collection and dissemination
As part of the efforts by the small island developing States in assessing their
vulnerabilities, there are also ongoing programs to seek information on the existing adaptation
technologies. There are also several channels that could readily be utilised by the UNFCCC if such
a decision can be reached at Buenos Aires. The work of the United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) on Small Island Developing States Network (SIDS/NET) and Small Island
Developing States Technical Assistance Program (SIDSTAP), which were started as a result of
the Barbados UN Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing
States, are potentially valuable starting points for future collection and dissemination of
technology information. In this regard, AOSIS calls for the strengthening of these programs
indicated above, while ensuring the availability of collected information through both electronic
and other means. Assistance should also be given to connect existing centers with each other,
SIDS/NET and other mechanisms, as a matter of priority.
V. Regional and sub-regional technology centres
In order to ensure that the collection and dissemination of technology information
progresses in an effective manner, it is important that regional and sub-regional centres be
established for this purpose. Where applicable, these may be housed with an existing institution,
in order to economise as far as possible and to complement on-going activities. However, in
some regions and sub-regions there may be a need to establish new centres.
VI. Financial requirements
AOSIS is of the view that work on technologies and technology information will be an
important aspect of the UNFCCC process. Member States of AOSIS are already devoting
considerable time, effort and funding to this work. It is clear that the financial and technical
support of the international community will be vital if the work is to progress further. AOSIS
therefore calls for such support to be made available to the countries and institutions involved in
this work through multilateral and bilateral support mechanisms.

In conclusion, AOSIS reiterates the importance of concentrating international efforts on
the development and transfer of appropriate, affordable and environmentally sound technologies
and securing an international commitment to energy conservation and efficiency requirements for
the development of renewable sources that can be used by all developing countries, but especially
by small island developing States.

Sub Topic: Technology


Meeting: COP4