Decisions by Topic: Science
Commission on Sustainable Development
Reference
E/CN.17/1998/20
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 6th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1998/20 - Transfer of environmentally sound technology, capacity-building, education and public awareness and science for sustainable development

Decision 6/3. Transfer of environmentally sound technology, capacity-building,
education and public awareness and science for sustainable development

1. The Commission on Sustainable Development:

(a) Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General22 and related background
documents dealing with the transfer of environmentally sound technology, capacity-building,
education and public awareness, and science for sustainable development;
(b) Recognizes that the transfer of environmentally sound technology, capacitybuilding,
education and public awareness, and science for sustainable development are critical
elements of a national enabling environment necessary to achieve sustainable development,
which includes economic and social development and environmental protection;
(c) Reaffirms the importance it attaches to the two overarching themes, eradication
of poverty and sustainable consumption and production patterns, for the programme of work
of the Commission, adopted at the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly;
(d) Recalls that the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development23 and the
General Assembly, at its nineteenth special session, recognized that poverty eradication is
essential for sustainable development; reaffirms the urgent need for the timely and full
implementation of all the relevant commitments, agreements and targets already agreed upon
since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development by the international
community, including the United Nations system and international financial institutions; and,
in this context, notes the efforts to achieve the above targets as well as the target to reduce
by one half by 2015 the proportion of people in extreme poverty;24
(e) Reaffirms that renewed commitment and political will for mobilizing national
and international financial sources of public funds, including official development assistance,
and encouraging private investment in all these areas is urgently required, particularly for
developing countries, if they are to meet their needs for the transfer of environmentally sound
technology, capacity-building, education development and public awareness and scientific
capabilities;
(f) Encourages the greater use of public and market-based policy instruments and
incentives to promote better management of human and natural resources and the development
of national capacities to more effectively develop, adapt, integrate and use new technologies;
(g) Welcomes the trend demonstrated in each of the areas towards greater public
participation and decentralization, including broader civil society consultations, citizen
empowerment and increasing public/private partnership and networks, resulting in more
demand-driven efforts at capacity-building, education and public awareness, science
development and transfer of environmentally sound technology;
(h) Recognizes the special needs, skills and experience of girls and women, youth,
indigenous people and local communities, as well as vulnerable and marginalized groups,
in all areas of capacity-building, education and training, science and the use of
environmentally sound technology and stresses the need to ensure their equal access to
educational and capacity-building opportunities and greater involvement in decision-making
at all levels;
(i) Encourages Governments that have not already done so to elaborate appropriate
policies and plans related to the transfer of environmentally sound technology, capacitybuilding,
education and public awareness and science for sustainable development and ensure
that they are fully integrated into national sustainable development strategies and programmes
of regional and subregional cooperation.

A. Transfer of environmentally sound technology

2. The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Recalls that Agenda 2125 and the Rio Declaration 23 provide a fundamental
framework for actions on matters related to the transfer of environmentally sound technologies,
cooperation and capacity-building;
(b) Welcomes the initiatives of the Governments of the Republic of Korea and the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to organize inter-sessional meetings
on issues relevant to technology transfer, cooperation and capacity-building;
(c) Recognizes that the objectives of sustainable development require continuous
technological innovation and the widespread adoption, transfer and diffusion of
environmentally sound technologies, including know-how and organizational and managerial
procedures, as well as equipment, and that the development of human and institutional
capacities to adapt, absorb and upgrade technologies, as well as to generate technological
knowledge, is essential for technology transfer, management and diffusion;
(d) Notes that public-private partnerships offer a means of increasing access to, and
transfer of, environmentally sound technologies;
(e) Recognizes that the creation of enabling environments at all levels provides a
platform to support the development and use of environmentally sound technologies, and in
this regard:
(i) The design of legal and policy frameworks that are conducive to long-term
sustainable development objectives is a key element of this environment;
(ii) Governments should try to facilitate the transfer of environmentally sound
technologies by creating a policy environment that is conducive to technology-related
private sector investments and long-term sustainable development objectives;
(f) Encourages Governments and industry to work together to build capacity in the
developing countries for using and maintaining environmentally sound technologies, taking
into account that:
(i) Financing programmes for small and medium-sized enterprises, including microcredit
initiatives, are very important;
(ii) Education and training must also be key priorities in national efforts to develop
operating and maintenance skills in the use of environmentally sound technologies;
(g) Calls for the urgent fulfilment of all the commitments of the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development concerning concrete measures for the transfer
of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries. The international community
should promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, access to and transfer of
environmentally sound technologies and the 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;
(h) Emphasizes that technology cooperation between and among economic actors
of developed and developing countries and countries with economies in transition remains
a key element in achieving sustainable development objectives. Efforts at enhancing
technology cooperation should recognize the critical role of business and industry in
technology development, transfer and diffusion, while recognizing the responsibility of
Governments to develop policy, legal and institutional frameworks, consistent with sustainable
development, in order to promote technology development, transfer and cooperation.
3. The Commission, therefore, decides to include in its future work consideration of
policies to promote sustainable production patterns, and, in this context, to consider the
concept of eco-efficiency and examples of its application in developed and developing
countries, and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies for these purposes. Policy
measures should, in particular, focus on the following areas:
(a) National technology strategies and international technology cooperation. In
defining policy measures in this area, it is important to identify the potential actors, including
Governments, business and industry, research and development institutions and technology
intermediaries, and to examine their respective roles, specific interests, capacities and
priorities. It is also important to identify barriers and restrictions to the transfer of
environmentally sound technologies, in particular to developing countries, and to seek to
reduce such constraints, while creating incentives for such transfer, taking into consideration
the promotion of cleaner production;
(b) Technology integration, economic competitiveness and environmental
management at the enterprise level, including international technology cooperation, at the
enterprise level. In defining policy measures in this area, a thorough understanding of the
factors that influence companies? environmental and economic performance is needed,
including their adoption of best practices in environmental management and the use of
environmentally sound technologies in production processes;.
(c) In the context of technology transfer and adaptation, it is important that
environmentally sound technologies be transferred to developing countries, with support,
including, as appropriate, financial support, from developed countries and relevant
international institutions, in cooperation with the private sector. In this regard, the experience
of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations Environment
Programme and other relevant bodies of the United Nations system in establishing cleaner
production centres can help facilitate this process.
4. The Commission:
(a) Invites Governments with the assistance of relevant United Nations bodies such
as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations
Environment Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the
Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, and in
consultation with development assistance agencies, to undertake work on the development
of voluntary guidelines on technology partnerships involving economic actors of developed
and developing countries and countries with economies in transition, in the context of creating
and maintaining an enabling environment for the purpose of maximizing the complementary
roles of the public and private sectors in the transfer of environmentally sound technologies.
Based on experience and emerging opportunities, such guidelines could assist Governments:
(i) In developing policy approaches and implementation strategies for technology
cooperation and partnership initiatives;
(ii) In adopting incentives and economic instruments to provide a favourable legal
and policy environment for private sector companies from developed countries to
participate in technology partnership initiatives with developing countries, supported
through an enabling international environment that facilitates access to, and transfer
of, environmentally sound technologies and corresponding know-how;
(iii) In applying mechanisms and tools for the assessment of the effectiveness of the
transfer of environmentally sound technologies and of technology partnership initiatives
with regard to their contribution to achieving economic, social and environmental goals
and targets;
(b) Urges Governments, the private sector and research and development institutions
of developed countries to identify barriers and restrictions to the transfer of environmentally
sound technologies and provide opportunities for technology cooperation, including in
research and development, and partnership initiatives involving economic actors from
developing countries, particularly African countries and the least developed countries, taking
into account conditions and needs of these countries for the transfer of environmentally sound
technologies and related capacity-building activities aimed at creating an enabling
environment; and welcomes studies in this area;
(c) Encourages Governments of developing countries and countries with economies
in transition, with the support of the United Nations system, to develop national strategies
for technology innovation, commercialization and diffusion, with a focus on economic or
industrial sectors that are particularly important with respect to economic growth, natural
resources consumption, efficiency in the use of energy and natural resources in consumption
and production patterns and pollution control, taking fully into account the need to create an
enabling environment for private sector activities. Regional expert group meetings, jointly
organized by Governments and United Nations bodies, including the Department of Economic
and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, the United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United
Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Development Programme, can be
a useful mechanism to develop guidelines or manuals to assist Governments, upon request,
in developing national technology strategies and initiating various forms of partnerships for
the implementation of these strategies. The guidance document on national needs assessment
for the improved utilization of environmentally sound technologies, adopted by the
Commission in 1996, may be useful in developing such guidelines or manuals;
(d) Requests the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the United
Nations Environment Programme, in cooperation with the Department of Economic and Social
Affairs, to consider undertaking a study on the effectiveness of incentives to encourage
industry to adopt cleaner production technologies. The study should evaluate existing practices
and experiences of countries and organizations. The results of the evaluation could be useful
to Governments in developing national technology strategies and in ensuring that these
strategies are fully integrated into national sustainable development strategies and
programmes;
(e) Calls on all Governments, with the support of international organizations and
financial institutions, to assist small and medium-sized enterprises, including through funding
of feasibility studies on market opportunities and commercial viability of environmentally
sound technologies, use of economic instruments, including fiscal incentives, export
promotion programmes, trade initiatives, including economically sound technologies-related
issues, and assistance in the development of business plans;
(f) Invites interested Governments of developed and developing countries and
countries with economies in transition to undertake, in particular in the context of promoting
regional cooperation and implementing international environmental conventions and
agreements, in cooperation with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development
Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and other relevant international
bodies, a pilot project on opportunities for sector-specific applications of the
recommendations on transfer and commercialization of publicly funded environmentally sound
technologies made by the International Expert Meeting on the Role of Publicly Funded
Research and Publicly Owned Technologies in the Transfer and Diffusion of Environmentally
Sound Technologies, hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea.26 The results of
this project could be presented to the Commission in 2002. Issues to be considered might
include:
(i) Reviewing national legal, institutional, development cooperation and other
relevant policies, with a view to removing obstacles to, and providing research and
development institutions and the private sector with incentives for, the transfer and
commercialization of publicly funded and publicly owned environmentally sound
technologies, in particular to developing countries and, as appropriate, countries with
economies in transition;
(ii) Assessing existing as well as new technology transfer mechanisms, for example
bilateral and multilateral memoranda of understanding and environmentally sound
technology pooling or banks, with regard to their potential and use for the transfer and
commercialization of publicly funded and publicly owned environmentally sound
technologies to developing countries and, as appropriate, countries with economies in
transition;
(iii) Considering the creation of additional centres for the transfer of environmentally
sound technologies at various levels, including the regional level, which could greatly
contribute to achieving the objectives of the transfer of environmentally sound
technologies to developing countries;
(iv) Examining various policy approaches to commercialize non-patented or
uncommercialized technologies that result from publicly funded research activities,
including through the promotion of strategic alliances between research and
development institutions, development cooperation agencies, enterprises, technology
centres and other intermediaries, and to facilitate access to these technologies by
developing countries.

B. Capacity-building

5. The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Encourages Governments to review, where necessary, existing planning processes
and policies to assess their capacity-building requirements;
(b) Urges funding agencies to give support to national capacity-building activities,
in particular in developing countries, including in the areas of the design of programmes and
projects, and their implementation and evaluation, through demand-driven approaches,
emphasizing facilitation and stressing a programmatic rather than a project-oriented
framework for capacity-building;
(c) Recommends that capacity-building efforts be intensified where necessary, based
on participatory approaches, with the aim, as called for by the General Assembly, at its
nineteenth special session, of having national sustainable development strategies, or their
equivalent, fully in place by 2002 for implementation and taking into account the
environmental, social and economic needs of developing countries, and urges financial
institutions and operational agencies, particularly through the United Nations Development
Programme?s Capacity 21 programme, to enhance their assistance in this regard;
(d) Encourages Governments at all levels to share experiences with and support
innovative capacity-building programmes that feature greater public access to information,
and broad participation, including by the private sector, at national and local levels. Full use
should be made of existing information-sharing facilities such as the United Nations
Development Programme Subregional Resource Facilities and the World Bank?s Knowledge
Network System;
(e) Urges that more resources be devoted to training and information-sharing activities
such as case studies for practitioners, more action-oriented research and electronic and other
networking;
(f) Encourages countries to increase their national capacity through South-South and
subregional cooperation focused on common programmatic themes, and self-help efforts and
by assessing ways in which capacities can be shared appropriately at the regional and
subregional level. South-South cooperation in this regard should be further strengthened and
supported through triangular arrangements;
(g) Requests that systematic attention be paid by the corresponding task managers
to the capacity-building-related issues of the sectoral themes for future sessions of the
Commission;
(h) Invites the United Nations Development Programme, in cooperation with other
relevant bodies, to promote the exchange and dissemination of information on successful
capacity-building efforts and to make information available, as appropriate, to future sessions
of the Commission.

C. Education, public awareness and training

6. The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Recognizes education, public awareness and training as underpinning all the crosssectoral
themes of Agenda 21;
(b) Reiterates that a fundamental prerequisite for sustainable development is an
adequately financed and effective educational system, at all levels, that augments human
capacity and well-being and is relevant to the implementation of all chapters of Agenda 21.
Education is a lifelong process and should be fully accessible to all;
(c) Recalls that education, public awareness and training includes, inter alia, nonformal
and informal modes of teaching and learning, for example, within the family and
community, and maintains that education for sustainable development should take an
interdisciplinary approach incorporating social, economic and environmental issues;
(d) Notes that public awareness is a prerequisite for public participation in decisionmaking
for sustainable development and is closely linked to access to information;
(e) Recognizes that educating women has a crucial impact on sustainable development
and on changing the attitudes and behaviour of families, society and nations;
(f) Expresses its appreciation to the Government of Greece and the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for organizing an inter-sessional conference
on ?Environment and Society: Education and Public Awareness for Sustainability?, which
was held at Thessaloniki from 8 to 12 December 1997;
(g) Welcomes the contributions of major groups in sharing case studies of innovative
practices in promoting, in particular, education, public awareness and training within their
respective contexts, including youth-sponsored initiatives, encourages their continued action
through such activities, and requests that the Commission continue to be informed of such
work at future sessions;
(h) Recognizes the important role of schools and universities in the further
implementation of Agenda 21, especially at the local level;
(i) Notes that the World Conference on Higher Education, to be held in Paris in
October 1998, provides a good opportunity to address the challenge of how to promote and
strengthen an interdisciplinary approach in university curricula and research agendas for a
sustainable future and to consider the further adaptation of higher education systems, as
appropriate, in this regard;
(j) Takes note of the International Registry of Innovative Practices Promoting
Education, Public Awareness and Training for Sustainability being developed by the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and encourages its further
development.
7. Taking into account the work programme on education, public awareness and training
initiated at its fourth session, the Commission:
(a) With regard to clarifying and communicating the concept and key messages of
education for sustainable development:
(i) Urges the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and
other United Nations organizations, Governments and major groups to pursue the
implementation of chapter 36 of Agenda 21, and the work programme on education
approved by the Commission at its fourth session, as part of the integrated follow-up
to the major United Nations conferences and conventions related to sustainable
development, taking into account the work of the Economic and Social Council in this
regard;
(ii) Calls on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
to continue its efforts to clarify and communicate the concept and key messages of
education for sustainable development, with emphasis on assisting in the interpretation
and adaptation of these messages at the regional and national levels;
(b) With regard to reviewing national education policies and formal educational
systems:
(i) Calls on Governments at all levels, with the assistance and participation, as
appropriate, of international organizations, the educational and scientific communities,
non-governmental organizations and local authorities, to develop policies and strategies
for reorienting education towards sustainable development, including roles and
responsibilities of actors at the local, national and regional levels;
(ii) In this context, Governments may wish to include the establishment of national
centres of excellence in such strategies;
(iii) Calls on Governments at all levels to include sustainable development objectives
into curricula or equivalent instruments corresponding to the level of education, and
encourages them, where appropriate, to consider the effectiveness of education for
sustainable development;
(iv) Invites the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
working closely with relevant educational institutions and international organizations,
to develop guidelines for the reorientation of teacher training towards sustainable
development;
(v) Calls on Governments to take appropriate steps, in consultation with international,
national and subnational representatives of teachers, including unions, as well as
specialists in higher education and youth, to reorient teacher training in formal education
systems towards sustainable development;
(vi) Urges institutions of higher education, with the support of Governments and the
academic community, to adapt their teaching and research to introducing an
interdisciplinary approach conducive to addressing sustainable development issues;
(vii) Invites the World Conference on Higher Education to give due consideration to
ways in which the reform of higher education systems may support sustainable
development;
(c) With regard to incorporating education into national strategies and action plans
for sustainable development:
(i) Urges Governments to make education and public awareness significant
components in regional, national and local strategies and action plans for sustainable
development;
(ii) Invites the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
working with the United Nations Development Programme, the Department of
Economic and Social Affairs and other relevant bodies, to complete the survey of
existing regional and national strategies and action plans for sustainable development
to determine the extent to which education has been adequately addressed to date to
develop recommendations resulting therefrom and to make such information available
to the Commission;
(iii) Encourages Governments at all levels to integrate education, as appropriate, into
national and local strategies for sustainable development, and calls upon the
international community and the United Nations system to assist developing countries,
as needed, in this regard;
(iv) Urges Governments to integrate the aspect of gender balance and the
empowerment of women into national education strategies;
(d) With regard to educating to promote sustainable consumption and production
patterns in all countries:
(i) Requests the task managers for chapters 4 and 36 of Agenda 21 (the Department
of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization), working together with other relevant bodies, including the
United Nations Environment Programme, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation
and Development and representatives of business and industry, trade unions and
non-governmental organizations, to continue their efforts to raise awareness of the
implications for sustainability of current patterns of consumption and production, in
particular in the developed countries, making better use of educational tools and
consumer feedback mechanisms to facilitate policy-making, and developing and
promoting social instruments through education and training intended to change
consumption and production patterns, with industrialized countries taking the lead, and
in this context, to continue the work on indicators for sustainable consumption and
production patterns;
(ii) Calls upon the media as well as the business community, including the World
Business Council for Sustainable Development, the International Chamber of
Commerce and other business institutions, trade unions and civil society, to work with
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United
Nations Environment Programme, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the
United Nations Industrial Development Organization and other key bodies, to collect
best practices in media and advertising that address concerns related to promoting
sustainable consumption and production patterns, particularly in the developed
countries;
(iii) Requests the Secretary-General, in cooperation with the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to report on progress made and
actions taken in this area, including those identified by the General Assembly at its
nineteenth special session, to the Commission at its seventh session, when consumption
and production patterns will be the cross-sectoral theme;
(e) With regard to promoting investments for education:
Calls upon the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and
other international financing institutions to consider the current levels of financing for
education for sustainable development, with a view to developing a strategy or policies
for mobilizing new and additional resources from all sources for ensuring greater
financial support for education for sustainable development;
(f) With regard to identifying and sharing innovative practices:
(i) Invites the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to
continue to work on the international electronic registry and knowledge management
system for chapter 36 and requests that this information be made available in both
electronic and conventional formats to all countries, in particular the developing
countries. Innovative programme and projects from all sources, such as various major
groups, including industry, women, youth and non-governmental organizations, should
be encouraged and included in this inventory;
(ii) Encourages the development and strengthening of international and regional
alliances, associations and networks among universities and other educational and
training institutions and professional bodies in all countries, in particular among those
in developing and developed countries. These alliances should include distance learning,
training for trainers, exchanges and mentoring;
(iii) Calls on Governments to encourage and strengthen networks and partnerships
for education for sustainable development, including, inter alia, schools, parents,
private and public institutions and organizations, as well as private firms;
(iv) Encourages the recognition and use of traditional knowledge, innovations and
practices of indigenous people and local communities for the management of natural
resources in education for sustainable development;
(g) With regard to raising public awareness:

(i) Calls on Governments to facilitate the development of capacities for raising public
awareness and access to information on sustainable development and on social,
economic and environmental impacts of unsustainable production and consumption
patterns at the global, regional and national levels;
(ii) Calls on Governments at all levels, the media and advertising agencies to
undertake information campaigns to communicate to the public the key messages of
sustainable development;
(iii) Calls on Governments to take fully into account the provisions of relevant
international conventions when providing information in order to raise public
awareness.
8. The Commission:
(a) Calls upon the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
as task manager, to further strengthen and accelerate the implementation of the work
programme on education for sustainable development in cooperation with, inter alia, the
United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme and
non-governmental organizations;
(b) Requests the Secretary-General to include in his report to the Commission at its
seventh session information on progress made in implementing the work programme.

D. Science for sustainable development

9. The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Recognizes the serious gaps in scientific capacities, especially in developing
countries, and stresses the need for strong and concerted action at the national and
international levels to urgently build up and strengthen the national scientific infrastructure
and research management capabilities of these countries, to formulate national strategies,
policies and plans for that purpose and to strengthen their science education programmes at
all levels;
(b) Stresses the need to improve the processes of generating, sharing and utilizing
science for sustainable development and for more action-oriented interdisciplinary research,
with greater focus on the prevention and early identification of emerging problems and
opportunities;
(c) Notes that the World Science Conference, to be organized jointly by the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Council of
Scientific Unions in Budapest in June 1999, in cooperation with other United Nations agencies
and international scientific organizations, provides a good opportunity to address key issues
of science for sustainable development;
(d) Urges the scientific community to work with government authorities, the education
community, major groups and international organizations to strengthen science education
at all levels and to overcome the communication gaps within the scientific community and
between scientists, policy makers and the general public;
(e) Invites Governments, the United Nations system and major groups to provide
information on best practices and other illustrative examples related to the future sectoral
themes of the Commission where science has been effectively employed to support the
development and implementation of policies in these sectors;
(f) Invites relevant international scientific advisory bodies and programmes to
contribute, as appropriate, to the consideration of the sectoral themes of the Commission
sessions in 1999, 2000 and 2001 on issues relevant to their interest;
(g) Calls on multilateral and bilateral donor agencies and Governments, as well as
specific funding mechanisms, to continue to enhance their support to strengthen higher
education and scientific research capacities related to sustainable development in developing
countries, particularly in Africa and the least developed countries. Such efforts should aim
at:
(i) Strengthening research and teaching infrastructures in universities and their
proper re-equipping as a critical precondition for the development of capacity in science
and technology;
(ii) Linking technical assistance programmes to education and research in the broad
field of environment and sustainable development;
(iii) Fostering university/business/civil society partnerships within and among
countries;
(iv) Promoting regional and subregional cooperative training and research
programmes and networks;
(v) Acquiring modern information technologies so as to ensure easy access to
information sources around the world, as well as to be part of existing global and
regional scientific and technological information networks to address the scientific
needs of developing countries;
(h) Encourages Governments of all countries to join forces with international
organizations and the scientific community to strengthen the global environmental observing
systems;
(i) Invites the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and
the International Council of Scientific Unions, in planning the World Science Conference
in 1999, to take fully into account the interdisciplinary nature of sustainable development
issues, with a view to strengthening the role of natural and social science in sustainable
development and to mobilizing increased investment in research and development of scientific
themes of 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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