Decisions by Topic: Technical Cooperation
Commission on Sustainable Development
Reference
E/CN.17/1994/20
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 2nd session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1994/20 - Education, science, transfer of environmentally sound

C. Education, science, transfer of environmentally sound
technologies, cooperation and capacity-building
Transfer of environmentally sound technologies,
cooperation and capacity-building

77. The Commission on Sustainable Development has reviewed with appreciation
the report of the Inter-sessional Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Technology
Transfer and Cooperation (E/CN.17/1994/11) and takes note of the background
paper containing the Task Manager?s report on the transfer of environmentally
sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building, as well as section III of
the report of the Secretary-General containing an overview of cross-sectoral
issues (E/CN.17/1994/2). The Commission also notes the part of the report of
the High-level Advisory Board (E/CN.17/1994/13) relating to new approaches to
environmentally sound technology cooperation.

78. The Commission notes with appreciation the valuable initiatives undertaken
by various members of the Commission during the inter-sessional period as a
contribution to the work of the Commission in the area of transfer of
environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building, as
discussed in chapter 34 and other chapters of Agenda 21.
79. The Commission recognizes that developing countries face severe constraints
in their efforts to promote and engage in technology transfer and cooperation
due to the lack of adequate financial resources and limited human, managerial
and institutional capacities. In this regard, the Commission welcomes the
emphasis given by the Inter-sessional Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on
Technology Transfer and Cooperation to three key areas requiring priority
attention, namely: (a) access to and dissemination of reliable information on
environmentally sound technologies, (b) institutional development and capacitybuilding
and (c) financial and partnership arrangements.

80. The Commission notes that many of the proposals for action related to the
transfer of environmentally sound technology and cooperation are based on
practical experiences gained in some sectoral areas, and that many of these
experiences can be applied to other sectors as well.

81. The Commission stresses, in the context of chapter 34 of Agenda 21, the
need for Governments of developed and developing countries and countries with
economies in transition to take, with the support of international organizations
and institutions and through long-term cooperation and partnership arrangements,
specific action to (a) promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, access
to and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies and corresponding
know-how, in particular to developing countries, on favourable terms, including
concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed, taking into account the
need to protect intellectual property rights, as well as the special needs of
developing countries, for the implementation of Agenda 21; (b) promote long-term
technological cooperation and partnership between holders of environmentally
sound technologies and potential users; and (c) build the endogenous capacities
of those countries required to develop, assess, encourage and utilize such
technologies through, inter alia, research and development, education and
training.

82. The Commission reaffirms the crucial importance of strengthening the
capacities, in particular of developing countries, to assess, develop, apply and
manage environmentally sound technologies tailored to the countries? own needs
and priorities and stresses the need to focus efforts on capacity-building and
institutional development.

83. The Commission recognizes that the expertise required for technology
transfer and cooperation is being developed in many countries. Therefore,
Governments and enterprises are urged to look throughout the world for the best
ideas and creative solutions to meet their needs and solve their problems. The
transfer of unproved or environmentally detrimental technologies can thereby be
avoided.

84. The Commission reiterates the importance of public and private enterprises
in technological innovation and as an important conduit through which technology
is developed, transferred, used and disseminated. In this regard, the
Commission recognizes that technology partnership arrangements at the enterprise
level are a promising mechanism to facilitate access to information on
environmentally sound technologies and to support the development, transfer, use
and dissemination of these technologies and related know-how. Such partnerships
also strengthen the operational, administrative and maintenance skills of the
users, and stimulate best-practice methods for improving environmental
performance at the enterprise level, inter alia, by promoting the pollution
prevention approach in the production and use of goods and services. Companies
must continue to adapt and develop technology during the period of cooperation.
In this context, the concepts of "build-operate-transfer" (BOT) 3/
arrangements, regional technomarts and technofairs, 4/ were considered
promising approaches to technology transfer which need further examination.

85. The Commission notes the efforts of some industry associations to organize
conferences in selected countries in different regions for industry and trade
associations which would focus on environmental management, monitoring and
reporting, and to undertake research projects to collect and analyse casestudies
of successful and unsuccessful technology transfer and cooperation
programmes.

86. The Commission also stresses the crucial role that Governments of both
developed and developing countries have to play in creating favourable
conditions for the public sector and in encouraging the private sector to
develop and transfer environmentally sound technologies and build the capacities
in developing countries to use and manage those technologies effectively. In
this regard, international cooperation is highly important. The application of
incentives, such as reducing trade barriers, encouraging competition, opening up
markets to foreign collaboration, reducing corporate taxes and providing fiscal
incentives to enterprises that implement the transfer of environmentally sound
technologies, as well as other market reforms and sector restructuring, are
likely to have a substantial impact on improving access to capital for new
technologies. The further improvement and effective implementation of an
appropriate policy, legal and regulatory framework, on both the supply and the
demand side, can create new possibilities for the development of environmentally
sound technologies and their transfer to developing countries. This may include
a mix of macroeconomic policies, economic incentives and environmental
regulations. Special attention should also be given, as recommended by the
Inter-sessional Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Technology Transfer and
Cooperation, to the involvement of small and medium-sized industries in the
process of technology transfer as they are the backbone of business and industry
in most developing countries. In this context, the Commission welcomes the
offer by the Government of Norway, in cooperation with the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development, to host a seminar on the role of small and
medium-sized enterprises in technology transfer.

87. The Commission welcomes the recommendations of the Working Group concerning
the need to promote closer interaction among all actors involved in technology
transfer and cooperation and networking of institutional capacities. In this
context, the strengthening of existing environmental technology centres and the
establishment of new ones in developing countries are of crucial importance in
promoting development, transfer and adaptation of environmentally sound
technologies. They are a promising instrument for initiating research and
development on environmentally sound technologies and facilitating technological
3/ "Build-operate-transfer" arrangements can be used by private companies
to build a project, operate it long enough to pay back its debts and to achieve
a return on equity, and then transfer it to the host Government.
4/ Technomarts and technofairs are market places where technology
suppliers and users meet to exchange practical information on and demonstrate
applications of environmentally sound technologies.
collaboration between different partners at the national and regional levels.
The strengthening or establishment of such centres can also be considered for
countries with economies in transition.

88. The Commission notes that the Working Group has identified key priority
areas for the future work of the Commission and has provided an important forum
for the discussion of issues and the consideration of options that might have
been difficult in other contexts.

89. The Commission takes note of the relevant provisions on the transfer of
technology contained in the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development
of Small Island Developing States and urges that adequate support be given to
priority areas in technology transfer as identified in the Programme of Action.

90. The Commission, therefore:
(a) Encourages and requests appropriate organizations of the United
Nations system, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD), to conduct, in collaboration with other international
organizations, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development, a survey on and assessment of the available sources of information,
as well as supporting systems and inventories, and their effective use, focusing
on selected environmentally sound technologies. The survey and assessment
should cover sources and systems of information on technologies that are in the
public domain as well as those protected by patents, whether privately or
publicly owned. In this regard, Governments, organizations and programmes of
the United Nations system, other international organizations, private non-profit
organizations, trade associations, industrial and commercial associations and
enterprises, research institutes and other non-governmental organizations, as
well as other relevant entities, are encouraged to provide all relevant
information and any other appropriate assistance, including case-studies on
technology transfer, in particular through the Internet-based systems and
facilities. The objective is to identify gaps and/or deficiencies in the
information sources or systems surveyed, and indicate feasible approaches to
correcting such problems, in order to improve the access to and efficient use of
such systems. An initial report on the results of this survey and assessment
should be submitted to the Commission at its third session, in 1995;
(b) Invites industry associations to provide to the Commission, and to
disseminate more widely, information on efforts being made and results achieved
in environmentally sound technology transfer, cooperation and capacity-building,
including through foreign direct investment and various forms of technology
partnerships with developing countries and countries with economies in
transition;
(c) Invites Governments of developed and developing countries and
countries with economies in transition and regional and intergovernmental
organizations to conduct collaboratively, with the assistance of international
organizations and institutions, as appropriate, case-studies on national
technology needs for environmentally sound technologies, capacity-building and
institutional development, and welcomes the initiatives already being undertaken
thereon, including those with regard to further developing methodologies and
identifying sources of funding, and to report to the Commission at its third
session;
(d) Requests the Secretary-General to invite appropriate organizations of
the United Nations system to examine the concrete modalities and the usefulness
of innovative technology transfer mechanisms, such as "one-stop shops", 5/
"environmentally sound technology rights banks" (ESTRBs) 6/ or "build-operatetransfer"
(BOT) arrangements, and submit concrete recommendations to the
Commission at its third session. Such an effort should take full advantage of
the expertise of the High-level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development and
other eminent technical experts;
(e) Invites appropriate organizations of the United Nations system to
further examine, in close collaboration with other interested parties, including
private sector associations, the operational modalities and concrete
applications of the concept of "benchmarking"; 7/
(f) Calls upon Governments and international organizations to make
available, in close collaboration with relevant financial institutions and the
private sector, information on the conditions and concrete modalities for
setting up and managing venture capital funds for certain types of
environmentally sound technologies, and to share with the Commission the results
achieved and experiences gained in the application of their conditions and
modalities;
(g) Requests the Secretary-General to call upon Governments to explore, in
close collaboration with appropriate organizations of the United Nations system
and other intergovernmental organizations, both regional and multilateral,
including financial institutions, and the private sector, the potential for
joint ventures and the feasibility of providing adequate financing to pursue
such joint ventures, and to report to the Commission at its third session;
(h) Invites UNCTAD, UNDP, UNIDO, UNEP, other appropriate organizations of
the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations, both regional
and multilateral, including financial institutions, to assist countries, in
particular developing countries, in applying conditions and new modalities for
the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises in long-term international
technology partnership arrangements, including assistance in the preparation,
execution and post-servicing of sustainable development projects at the local
level, and to report to the Commission at its third session;
(i) Invites the relevant agencies of the United Nations system, in
particular UNIDO, to undertake, within available resources, sectoral and
techno-economic studies and demonstration projects on the transfer of industrial
environmentally sound technologies and techniques in order to support
sustainable development in the area of industry and to report to the Commission
at its third session on initial results achieved by that time;
5/ "One-stop shops" are referral centres that assist technology users to
obtain all the required information available on all aspects of national
conditions related to the transfer of technology from one source.
6/ "Environmentally sound technology rights banks" are ownership
arrangements; such entities act as a broker for acquiring patent rights to
sounder technologies and make them available to countries in need of technical
assistance, in particular to developing countries on favourable terms.
7/ "Benchmarking" is an instrument for assessing, monitoring and
encouraging best-practice standards at the enterprise level.
(j) Requests the Secretary-General to invite appropriate organizations of
the United Nations system to examine the feasibility of establishing a
consultative group on environmental technology centres, bearing in mind the
experience of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
(CGIAR);
(k) Calls upon Governments, particularly those of developed countries, to
promote the contribution of their universities and research centres in the
transfer of available environmentally sound technologies and expertise,
including through such mechanisms as university grants and workshops, and
encourages international organizations to support those efforts.
91. The Commission makes the following recommendations for effectively
organizing its future work:
(a) As a general rule, issues related to transfer of environmentally sound
technology, cooperation and capacity-building should be reported through the two
Inter-sessional Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Groups;
(b) Previous experience (lessons learned and results achieved in the
relevant initiatives being undertaken during the inter-sessional period) should
be drawn upon to advance the debate and facilitate decision-making in the
regular sessions of the Commission;
(c) There should be greater


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