Many agreed that the adaptation and utilization of any technology must be culturally, environmentally, socially and economically relevant. Finland explained that technology development should be demand-driven and that its development largely depends on its adaptability and acceptability.
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.
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 Africans supported the need to develop alternative renewable energies, but Saudi Arabia stated that the issue of energy security should be deleted since it is being addressed by other institutions. Malaysia suggested deleting reference to the utilization of biodiversity, since it is covered under the Biodiversity Convention. Tanzania suggested an amendment that stresses biodiversity in "dryland areas." Tanzania also said there is need to promote technologies that improve traditional ones, such as water harvesting and agroforestry techniques as well as remote sensing facilities that supplement traditional monitoring mechanisms.
Belgium re-emphasized the need for demand-driven technology transfer. Zimbabwe concurred, but emphasized that demand is also influenced by the awareness of existing technologies. She said that technology transfer should include the know-how necessary to build local capacity.
Bolivia suggested that direct exchanges between countries with similar characteristics would be useful. Gambia charged that government policies were not always conducive to technology transfer and needed to be re-assessed. UNESCO mentioned the need to encourage the private sector to invest in these marginal areas, while providing patented and subsidized technology.
IV. OTHER AREAS OF COMMITMENT
A. CAPACITY BUILDING: All delegates supported the need to address capacity building and many stressed that capacity building is the cornerstone of the Convention. Finland and Belgium, on behalf of the EC, suggested that due to the close linkages between capacity building and the next section on education and public awareness, these sections be combined. In fact, many delegates addressed both of these sections in their interventions.
Belgium (EC), the US and Sweden agreed that aid agencies must increase their knowledge of affected populations. Not only should capacity be developed among local populations, but local populations should contribute their special knowledge to decision-making. It was noted by a number of countries that decision making should be decentralized and include the full participation of women, youth, children, NGOs, and local populations. Niger pointed out that strengthening the capacity of local populations includes, in part, combatting illiteracy and sharing knowledge, assets and power.
Some delegates, including Canada, suggested that capacity building should be included in other sections of the document. Canada also mentioned that the OECD is exploring how to increase the effectiveness of capacity building. They will share the results when available. Canada and the Russian Federation highlighted the need for more effective utilization of existing institutions. Israel stated that capacity building should be enhanced by an initial process of long-term interactive learning and study of the problems, their causes, and the available and missing means for capacity building. This process should be executed through long-term, mutual exchange of expertise. Israel expressed its willingness to participate in these learning processes with all prospective partners.
Japan urged that capacity building measures should be regionally and nationally relevant. Zimbabwe stated that capacity building should be locally driven, not donor driven. This point was echoed by China and Benin who said that local communities must take over their resources on a democratic basis.
Lesotho, supported by Norway, stated that capacity building should be carried out in conjunction with public awareness and education. Kenya highlighted the importance of promoting capacity building at the primary, secondary and university levels. Sweden suggested that non-formal education should also be addressed, and that there is a need to educate decision-makers.
Norway asked UNDP, within its Capacity 21 initiative, to prepare a comprehensive review of national level capacity and to identify where capacity will be needed to implement the Convention. Armenia referred to the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions as useful models for capacity-building regimes.
Bolivia highlighted the importance of an integrated approach in national training. He also stated that poverty eradication should be one of the factors considered in this section since it is an essential pre-condition to capacity building. Sweden pointed out that awareness raising must be carried out in those countries that are not directly affected by desertification. [Return to start of article]