Technology Transfer and Climate Change: Additional Considerations for Implementation under the UNFCCC


Karen Sullivan
Spectrum Intellectual Property Solutions Ltd.
Taymar House, Flocklones, Invergowrie
Dundee DD2 5LE, Scotland


Technology transfer is recognised as playing a central and critical role in the global response to climate change, as embodied in the Unite Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, technology transfer is a complex process, and despite numerous attempts to prescribe approaches to optimisation, there remain serious obstacles to its effective operation. The breadth of technologies and range of would-be recipient territories under the climate change regime serve to complicate things even further. Against this background, the Expert Group on Technology Transfer have produced a robust Strategy, which it will now fall to the Technology Mechanism announced in Cancun to implement.

However, despite the rigour with which the technology transfer strategy was produced, it is never possible to cover all possible eventualities. It is on this basis that this article presents a number of tactical and strategic issues which may merit further consideration as the implementation process moves forward. At the operational level, such issues include a possible role for a centralised or regional technology procurement effort, the need for greater emphasis on sectoral specific approaches to technology transfer, and a pragmatic approach to reducing the impact of some barriers to transactions by the expedient use of insurance to reduce risk, as opposed to the longer term approach of international standardisation.

At the strategic level, there are major issues with regard to prioritisation of resources applied to technology transfer, and in particular the resolution of the tensions existing between achieving sustainable development and the time critical need to achieve climate stabilisation.


Clean Development Mechanism, climate change, development technology mechanism, technology transfer.             LEAD Journal - ISSN 1746-5893