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WORKING GROUP I

EDUCATION, SCIENCE, TRANSFER OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGIES, COOPERATION AND CAPACITY BUILDING: Savitri Kunadi opened consideration of Item 5, noting: the "Report of the Intersessional ad hoc open-ended working group on technology transfer and cooperation" (E/CN.17/1994/11); the Secretary-General's report on "Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity building" (E/CN.17/ISWG1/1994/2); and the Task Manager's "Report on the transfer of technology." The Secretariat called the delegates' attention to Section 3 of the overview report, which covered the transfer of environmentally sound technologies (EST). The Chair of the intersessional Working Group on technology transfer and cooperation reported on the February 1994 meeting. The group recommended: conducting case studies on instances of successful technology transfer; focusing on operationalizing existing data rather than generating new data; conducting national needs assessments; and examining possible financial arrangements. Colombia and the US reported on their co-hosted workshop, which addressed EST's for liquid waste and energy production and use. Norway reported on the workshop co-sponsored with UNCTAD. The participants noted that technology transfer cannot take place without appropriate training.

Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies: The G-77 and China requested facilitation of finance, access to and transfer of EST's and training on favorable terms. They believed undue emphasis has been placed on national policy adjustment, and suggested a focus on: case studies, clearing houses, information systems, EST centres and biotechnology. Germany stated that general discussion on this issue has come to a dead-end and further progress can be made only in the context of addressing specific sectors. The Nordics recognized the importance of medium- and small-sized enterprises in developing countries. Egypt concurred, and suggested that international organizations assist these industries. Poland noted that technology transfer is an acute problem for countries with economies in transition. Morocco underscored the unique constraints on African countries. Austria said that the task of CSD is to make policy and not look at individual projects. The Third World Network called attention to the implications of intellectual property rights on access to technology. The G-77 and China supported the continuation of the ad hoc working group on technology transfer, whereas many developed countries disagreed.

Mechanisms for Diffusion: The US believed the role of the private sector is critical for EST diffusion, and distributed the Green Pages -- a listing of US firms that supply EST -- and suggested a global equivalent. The G-77 and China requested transfer of publicly owned EST. Korea suggested tax reductions to facilitate the transfer of privately owned ESTs. Germany stated that the private sector should accept more responsibility in EST transfer, but also stated that sound national policies in recipient nations are important. Switzerland also emphasized the importance of market conditions and regulatory frameworks. Japan highlighted the role for cooperation between business and government. Morocco noted possibilities for the diffusion of ESTs through modalities such as capital risk funds.

"Software" and Capacity-Building: The Czech Republic suggested that public money be used to build domestic capacity. Germany stated that capacity building and institutional development is important. Malaysia called for cooperation between governments, NGOs and industry. The ICC noted that it has placed a priority on business-to- business cooperation. India stated that developing countries need to assess and adapt management techniques in ESTs. Hungary noted that the UN system can play a role in this area by providing joint ventures and EST banks. The UK discussed its technology partnership initiative for small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries.

Information Systems: The EU called for an assessment of existing information systems, and the US added that it will distribute a proposal for such an assessment. Germany noted general problems in access and availability of information. The Czech Republic proposed establishing a task force of experts to facilitate the implementation of an INTERNET-based information system about ESTs. Switzerland suggested using existing information rather than creating new systems. The OECD called attention to their energy and technology databases.

Other Proposals: The G-77 and China recommended the establishment of a venture capital fund, development of BOT (build-operate-transfer), and EST Rights Bank. Australia also called for a venture capital fund for some types of technology and BOT. Canada said that the proposal for an EST Rights Bank is not currently feasible. The EU suggested highlighting successful initiatives that promote EST transfer or build capacity. The Nordics suggested needs assessments and case studies at the national level and also proposed the concept of teaming. Egypt identified the need to establish a high-level panel of experts on finance and technology transfer to operate a venture capital fund.

Cooperation Examples: The EU informed the delegates about the EU-Singapore Regional Institute of Environmental Technology. Germany discussed their Information and Advisory Service on Appropriate Technology. The Russian Federation mentioned national activities and international collaboration. Malaysia discussed related ASEAN activities. ICSU discussed its START programme that creates regional networks to mobilize human and institutional resources. Switzerland and Pakistan cooperate on selected sector needs.

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