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PREPARATORY MEETING ON TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER, COOPERATION AND LOCAL CAPACITIES

The United States and Colombia co-hosted a preparatory meeting on technology transfer, cooperation and local capacities in Cartagena, Colombia from 17-19 November 1993. The objective of the meeting was to contribute to the development of an agenda for the CSD ad hoc intersessional working group on technology, including formulation of a general strategy for promoting technology transfer within the context of the CSD multi-year programme of work. Representatives from 16 countries, the European Commission, and five UN agencies focused their discussions on two technology sub-sectors -- processes that minimize, treat, recycle and eliminate liquid waste and environmentally sound technologies for efficient generation and use of energy for households and small industries.

The discussion on technology transfer for handling liquid waste focused on the following "proposals for action," which could be considered by the CSD working group on technology transfer: improving access to information; monitoring discharges and assessing the risk they pose; improving regulatory frameworks; financing the acquisition of technology; strengthening institutions in receiving countries; improving public awareness and support for needed actions; lowering technological risks; and minimizing legal obstacles and trade barriers. The discussion on energy technologies focused on the following proposed areas for discussion for the CSD working group: promoting and facilitating policy reforms that accelerate the introduction of energy efficient technologies, practices and systems; fostering and financing the development and commercialization of energy efficient technologies; promoting, facilitating and financing international dissemination of information; promoting donor collaboration and coordination; and working directly with recipient nations in developing the necessary absorptive capacities.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Chair, Amb. Arthur Campeau (Canada), commented that the meeting did not solve all the problems before it, as if this was an easy task it would have been dealt with long ago. Campeau concluded that this meeting accomplished a first step towards creative problem solving, towards innovative thinking and honest discourse, as we pursue the objective of sustainable development. Following the meeting, some participants agreed that despite the sponsors' best intentions, little progress was made in resolving some of the deep-seated differences between North and South on technology transfer and, instead, the meeting contained a large amount of well-worn rhetoric.

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