WORKSHOP ON THE TRANSFER AND DEVELOPMENT OF ENVIRONMENTALLY-SOUND TECHNOLOGIES
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and
the Government of Norway co-sponsored a Workshop on the Transfer
and Development of Environmentally Sound Technologies, which was
held in Oslo from 13-15 October 1993. The workshop, which was
attended by more than 40 experts acting in their personal capacity,
was structured around the following four themes: general
technology-environment issues; supply side issues; demand side
issues; and new initiatives. The report of the workshop identifies
the following priority elements for an action programme:
- Lack of information, awareness and training needs to be tackled urgently. This means keeping decision-makers from the South, in both the public and private sectors, aware of developments in environmental regulation, technical change and management practices in the North, where the parameters of future developments are currently being defined.
- Benchmarking provides an effective instrument by which to assess, monitor and encourage best practice standards at the firm level.
- Efforts in the area of technological cooperation need to encourage continual upgrading of environmental standards. Funds need to be mobilized and made available to provide incentives for helping the private sector to undertake technological initiatives in countries and sectors where market incentives do not induce such behavior.
- A major initiative needs to be undertaken to document existing initiatives in environmentally-oriented technical assistance within both national environmental agencies and the corresponding international bodies, and to stimulate a consistent multi-donor approach to the provision of environmental services and institutional capacity building.
- The absence or weakness of effective regulatory structures and enforcement mechanisms presents a major obstacle to the attraction of environmentally sound technologies. Priority should probably be given to starting the process of designing at least minimally effective, simple regulative systems and then move on to the gradual development or more effective measures over time.
The participants also called for further research in the following
three areas: (a) a number of proposals for action are currently
stalled because the relevant decision-makers in government and
industry do not have sufficient empirical evidence of the realities
of the situation to make a decision or because there was no
consistent view on the nature of the problems involved; (b) a
number of apparently successful institutional innovations need to
be documented and tracked over time. Benchmarking and other best
practices could be disseminated to inspire innovations elsewhere;
and (c) there are weaknesses in the methodological approaches to a
number of environmental issues.
- There is a need for a financial instrument, comparable to the global conventions, for addressing local problems with environmental, technological and developmental dimensions.
[Return to start of article]