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WORKING GROUP II

The Chair of Working Group II, Anne de Lattre, proposed that a small group of volunteers, three representatives from the North and three from the South, meet with her in the afternoon and during the next two weeks to provide advice and summarize the discussions. Several delegations, including Benin, Mauritania, Brazil and India, disagreed arguing that it was premature to establish a drafting group and that the proposed group was not truly representative. The rest of the morning dealt with the transfer of technology and cooperation as stipulated in Section III(c) of A/AC.241/12.

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND COOPERATION: There appeared to be consensus on most issues. Botswana, on behalf of the African Group, said technology transfer must address: water provision and purification; energy development, particularly renewable alternative energies; and agricultural technologies for improved husbandry and food security. Israel, Iran, India and Uzbekistan shared some of these views. Niger stated that agricultural production and processing should be developed simultaneously. Norway and ICRISAT stressed the need to strengthen the extension services. Mexico suggested the establishment of pilot projects for the transfer of technology.

Cameroon stated that the adaptation and utilization of any technology must be culturally relevant. India, the EC and Australia supported this view. Finland explained that technology development should be demand-driven and that its development largely depends on its adaptability and acceptability. Mexico, supported by Bolivia, the EC and Iran, suggested that new technology be in harmony with the social, environmental, economic and cultural conditions. Cameroon added that it is better to refer to "traditional" instead of "indigenous" technologies, as the latter excludes generation-tested knowledge and expertise. China proposed five aspects that should be addressed: provision for the transfer of patented technology to developing countries; development of mechanisms that facilitate the utilization of traditional experiences; integration of these with modern technologies to improve them; stipulation of the role of IGOs and NGOs in technology cooperation; provision of a financial mechanism; and capacity building. India, Kenya and Uzbekistan underscored the need for financial commitments.

Belgium, on behalf of the EC, stressed the need to cover patent issues and to involve the private and government sectors in technology transfer. Austria suggested that countries with unpatented know-how that is considered common knowledge should be made available for South-South cooperation. Canada warned that many unpatented technologies exist, and that this issue should be addressed.

The US, Norway and the EC supported the use of existing institutions in the process. Niger highlighted the need to identify the weaknesses of these institutions so they can be improved. Burundi preferred the creation of new institutions.

Benin, supported by Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Australia, emphasized the need for training and Burundi underscored the need to train peasants and women. Sudan stressed the need to prevent dumping of technologies.

The US sought clarification on the "precautionary principle" proposed by the Africans. Cameroon and Benin said that the Africans supported a "subsidiary," not "precautionary," principle that refers to strengthening the capacity of indigenous and local NGOs. Austria suggested that countries compile lists of technology needs. However, Belgium, on behalf of the EC, suggested that only general requirements should be indicated and detailed lists be incorporated in the regional instruments. These lists, however, should be developed in partnership with local communities to give preference to traditional systems.

In response to Tuesday's request, the Secretariat said that a list of institutions involved in desertification was published in 1988 in Arizona. An update of which will be available on computer in January 1994 and in print in the first quarter of next year. The Panel of Experts can be requested to identify those areas where research should be carried out, the priority areas and objectives.

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