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TRANSFER OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGY, COOPERATION AND CAPACITY BUILDING

Discussion on this item took place in Plenary on Friday, 18 June. The Secretariat had prepared document E/CN.17/1993/10, which highlights activities undertaken by UNDP and UNEP and other UN organs, national governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and the private sector on the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies, cooperation and capacity building. The document also lists a number of activities that the CSD may want to consider.

The Plenary discussion brought out the following concerns. A number of countries said that the Secretariat's document insufficiently covered government policies and the work of the private sector. Other issues included: the dissemination of technology; the removal of barriers to the free flow of technology; the provision of financial support for countries that wish to purchase technology; the relationship between technology, employment and training; the importance of efficient operation and maintenance of technologies; strengthening the capacity to develop and adapt environmentally sound technology; access to information on available technologies; a favorable business climate; greater policy coordination; and local capacity building. The Women's NGO Caucus and Senegal said that the vital socio-economic contribution of women and the indigenous sectors was omitted from the document and listed the ways in which women should be involved in the planning, design and transfer of appropriate technologies.

The US stressed an integrated approach to technology, including development, transfer, needs assessment, institution and capacity building. China, the G-77 and Malaysia supported the establishment of regional centres for environmentally sound technology and Japan described the UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre that was set up in Osaka last year. The UK described the Global Technology Initiative launched in Birmingham last March that transfers technology on commercial terms and provides information.

Negotiations on the draft decision on technology began in Informal Negotiating Group II on Monday, 21 June. After introducing the Chair's draft decision, Vice-Chair Arthur Campeau asked for general comments and delayed a paragraph-by-paragraph review until the G-77 had the opportunity to discuss the draft. Hungary said the draft did not address responsibilities of national governments. Campeau responded that paragraphs 3, 4 and 10 address elements of national responsibilities. Japan commented that the CSD should avoid duplication of efforts of other UN bodies. He also mentioned that he did not understand the reference to market and non-market barriers, as intellectual property rights promote, rather than hinder, technology transfer. Korea said the draft missed three points made in Plenary: public owned technology, incentives and intersessional activities. Australia proposed an additional paragraph on the importance of technology transfer on a commercial basis and the need for a supportive legal environment in developing countries. Sweden warned against unnecessary bureaucratization, meetings and reports at the international level and said that the text should reference technology transfer and cooperation between developing countries.

The Russian Federation said that countries undergoing transition to market economies should be mentioned. Sri Lanka noted the importance of collaborative research. Denmark, on behalf of the EC, made a number of specific proposals to the text, including: support for UNDP and UNEP's initiatives on capacity building; development of a favorable environment for investment in developing countries; and avoiding proliferation of reports. The US proposed a new paragraph that would welcome the initiation of activities to facilitate implementation of Agenda 21, including consultations focussed on issues to be discussed by the CSD, and encourage governments and NGOs to provide information to the CSD through the Secretariat. Norway suggested that the document reference private incentives to transfer technology and that existing international organizations, together with the Secretariat, be used in the consultations and preparation for each session. Austria said that in paragraph 5 the CSD is assigning itself the task of promoting environmentally sound technologies when governments should be doing it.

The following day Campeau introduced a revised draft based on these discussions. However, the G-77 and China also distributed their own draft decision. Thus, one of the problems that plagued the negotiations was how to deal with the competing drafts. Campeau suggested working off of Rev.1 of the Chair's text. Yet as soon as discussion began on paragraph 1, which mentions the critical importance of the transfer of environmentally sound technologies, cooperation and capacity building, Colombia, on behalf of the G-77 and China, said that its paragraph 1 better reflected the Rio mandate. The US was concerned with the phrase "operationalizing agreements and commitments made at Rio." Colombia explained that the idea is to put the agreements and commitments into practice. Campeau suggested that the US and Colombia discuss this further.

China requested a break to examine the two texts. Campeau agreed and the meeting adjourned for 20 minutes. Upon reconvening, the group discussed paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of Rev. 1, in conjunction with the corresponding paragraphs of the G-77 draft. There was no agreement on the reference to countries with economies in transition in paragraph 2 and there was no agreement on using the Chair's or the G-77's draft of paragraphs 3 and 4.

Campeau proposed that interested delegations meet during the lunch break to further discuss these paragraphs. However, when this small group of delegates met they decided to redraft Rev.1 to encompass many of the ideas expressed in the G-77 text, as well as other proposals that had not been adequately addressed in either text. At 4:00 pm the small group finished and, while copies were being made of the revised text, consultations took place among regional groups. When Negotiating Group II resumed at 5:00 pm, it was presented with a new draft text, Rev.2.

Most of Rev. 2 was approved that afternoon and the Plenary resolved all but one issue that evening. The final decision, E/CN.17/1993/L.7, addresses the following: Paragraph 1 highlights the critical importance of the transfer of environmentally sound technologies, cooperation and capacity building. Paragraph 2 stresses the need to promote, facilitate and finance the transfer of environmentally sound technologies, cooperation and capacity building. The reference to countries with economies in transition was deleted. Paragraph 3 urges bilateral and multilateral financial institutions and national governments to undertake certain tasks to promote and facilitate the transfer of environmentally sound technologies. Paragraph 4 requests the Secretary-General to prepare proposals on ways and means to implement elements of Chapter 34 of Agenda 21 and paragraph 5 supports the establishment of environmental technology centres. Paragraph 6 addresses the provision of information on the implementation of science and technology provisions of Agenda 21.

Paragraph 7 establishes, on a trial basis, an intersessional ad hoc open-ended working group composed of Governments that will nominate experts to assist in the task of assessing and suggesting specific measures to support and promote access to transfer of technology as indicated in paragraph 34.18 of Agenda 21. The language in this paragraph reflects the consensus reached on intersessional work in the negotiations on finance. Paragraph 8 addresses collaborative arrangements with intergovernmental bodies. Paragraph 9 emphasized the implementation of environmental conventions with respect to technology transfer. Paragraph 10 addresses the importance of dialogue with intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and the private sector.

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