Technology Transfer

WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER?

Climate technologies are used to mitigate and adapt to climate change and its impacts. Climate mitigation technologies, such as wind turbines and solar panels reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Climate adaptation technologies include any technology aimed at enabling populations to deal with climate change impacts, such as early warning systems and resilient crops.

To find out more about climate technologies, click here to access Climates Negotiations Tracking’s toolkit on technology transfer and development.

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER WITHIN UNFCCC PROCESSES

Within the UN Climate Change process, countries have acknowledged the importance of promoting, facilitating and financing technology development and transfer from developed to developing and least developed countries, based on their need to access resources for sustainable development and the implementation of the Convention. This was first expressed in Article 4, paragraph 5 (and 1c, 3, 7, 8, 9) of the Convention in 1992. Between 1995 and 2001 Parties formed a common understanding of climate technology and its challenges by engaging in consultative processes and information exchange. 

2001 (COP 7)
2007 (COP 13)

With Decision 4/CP.7, the COP established the technology transfer framework, the strategy to enhance implementation of Article 4 paragraph 5 of the Convention. Moreover, the expert group on technology transfer (EGTT) was initiated to enable and drive technology transfer activities. The framework focused on: 

  • “activities on technology needs assessments

  • technology information

  • enabling environments

  • capacity building

  • and mechanisms for technology transfer”.

In 2007, countries added the following thematic areas to the mechanism: 

  • innovative financing;

  • international cooperation;

  • endogenous development of technologies; 

  • and collaborative research and development. 

2008 (COP 14)

The COP asked the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to increase funding for climate technology development and transfer activities via the Poznan strategic program on technology transfer. The program further supports countries in conducting technology needs assessments (TNAs) to identify and enable pathways for climate technology implementation.

2010 (COP 16)

In Cancún, the COP established the Technology Mechanism with Decision 1/CP.16. It consists of two bodies: The Technology Executive Committee (TEC), as the policy body of the mechanism (identifying measures to scale up the transfer of low emission technologies) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network, (CTCN) the implementation body of the mechanism (supporting climate technology transfer cooperation, networks and partnerships). The two bodies became operational in 2012. 

2015 (COP 21)

Article 10 of the Paris Agreement created the Technology Framework to guide the activities of the Technology Mechanism as established under the Convention to scale-up action on technology development and transfer. The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) coordinates and promotes technology transfer and development under the technology framework.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND CURRENT STAKES

At COP24 in 2018, held in Katowice, Parties adopted the technology framework established by the Paris Agreement with decision 15/CMA.1. The following focus areas were identified: ​

  • Innovation

  • Implementation

  • Enabling environment and capacity-building

  • Collaboration and stakeholder engagement

  • Support

Historically, the focus of technology transfer and development was on North-South cooperation. Developed countries are thus requested to enable the diffusion and transfer of clean technologies to developing countries in order to mitigate and adapt to climate change. However, as highlighted by a joint report launched in Katowice by the TEC and UN Officer for South-South cooperation, there is growing recognition of the high potential of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation, to enable technology development and transfer in developing countries. 


In September 2019, the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) adopted its new rolling work plan for 2019-2022, which for the first time included an approach for integrating gender considerations. Demand for technology support is continuously rising, with requests for technology assistance by developing countries increasing by 240% between 2018 and 2019 (CTCN, 2019). At COP 25 in Madrid (2019), the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) presented their joint annual report. In Decision 8/CMA.2 and Decision 14/CP.25 Parties welcomed the annual report.

CHALLENGES

Entities and activities within the Technology Mechanism, particularly the CTCN and the implementation of TNAs, are facing the challenge of securing sustainable financial resources. Least Developed Countries highlighted that the main challenge remains to access climate finance for technology development and transfer. This is due to several reasons:

  • Lack of capacity, awareness and information about for example how to write funding proposals

  • Complicated processes for accessing funding for technology development and transfer

  • Limited availability of finance 

In its 2019 annual report, the TEC identified reaching out to a broader audience as a challenge and aims to address this by offering a broader range of services, such as an outline of best practices and the increased use of social media. 

TO GO FURTHER

Climate Technology Centre and Network.

2019 CTCN Progress Report.

Climate Change Strategies 2020.

The UNFCCC Home for Technology.

Haselip, J., Hansen, U.E., Puig, D. et al. Governance, enabling frameworks and policies for the transfer and diffusion of low carbon and climate adaptation technologies in developing countries. Climatic Change 131, 363–370 (2015).

Glachant, Matthieu and Dechezlepretre, Antoine (2016) What role for climate negotiations on technology transfer? Climate Policy. ISSN 1752-7457 [online] Available at: <https://eprints.lse.ac.uk/67598/7/Climate_negotiations_technology%20transfer_LSERO.pdf> [Accessed 8 October 2020].

SOURCES

CTCN (2019). 2019 CTCN Progress Report. [online] CTCN. Available at: <https://www.ctc-n.org/resources/2019-ctcn-progress-report> [Accessed 11 October 2020].

 

Craft, B. Gama, S. and Namgyel, T. (2017). Least Developed Countries’ experiences with the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism. Issue paper. [online] Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/resrep16600.pdf?acceptTC=true&coverpage=false&addFooter=false [Accessed 8 October 2020].

 

Unfccc.int (2020). Technology Transfer Framework. [online] Available at: <https://unfccc.int/ttclear/tec/tech-transfer-framework.html> [Accessed 8 October 2020].

 

Unfccc.int. (2020). Negotiations. [online] Available at: <https://unfccc.int/ttclear/negotiations> [Accessed 8 October 2020].

 

Unfccc.int (2020). POZNAN STRATEGIC PROGRAM ON TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER. [online] Available at: <https://unfccc.int/ttclear/support/poznan-strategic-programme.html> [Accessed 8 October 2020].

 

FCCC/SB/2019/4