Technology transfer




Under the Bali Action Plan, the nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries are to be supported and enabled by technology transfer (paragraph 1 (b) (ii)). Furthermore, under 1 (d) there is agreement for “enhanced action on technology development and transfer to support action on mitigation and adaptation”.  

Quick summary
This is a highly divided terrain. The G-77 countries want to create an instutitional arrangement to facilitate technology transfer and development under the rubric of unfccc.

China calls it the Multilateral technology Acquisition Fund; India calls it the Multilateral Climate Technology Fund. By contrast, the EU and the US suggest the scope of the issue goes beyond the UNFCCC, and demand efforts taken outside be recognised.

The US believes new institutions under the UNFCCC are not required; the EU is all for ‘voluntary co-operative technology-oriented agreements’.

Smelling an opportunity to push its Cool Earth programme (a technology roadmap for 21 innovative technologies), Japan is enthusiastic about the issue, but has a devastating rider: to support actions by developing countries, it wants ‘sectoral sub-groups with the participation of private sectors’.

It is clear that negotiations will revolve around the visible reluctance of the developed world to share technology via transfer. This attitude is most visible in the differing vocabulary used: the EU, for instance, wishes technology transfer to be limited to ‘research, deve­lopment and demonstration’; India, for instance, also wants ‘manufacture, commercialization, deployment and diffusion’ of technologies.

It is also clear that the question of intellectual property rights (IPR) related to environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) will be debated; as always, without agreement.

While China, for instance, clearly states the current IPR regime does not match the need to transfer technologies, specifically ESTs, the US wants developing countries to create ‘an enabling atmosphere to attract private funds for ESTs’.

It also expects major emerging economies to improve technologies ‘through their own policies and resources’. Thus, while China and other developing countries want innovative IPR sharing arrangements to jointly develop ESTs, or criteria for compulsory licensing for patented ESTs, the US wants IPR enforcement and protection and the promotion of competitive and open markets for ESTs.

China (September 28, 2008)
A subsidiary body under the Convention should be established by the COP for the development and transfer of technologies as an operational and implementing body.


The aim of the financial mechanism supporting the development, transfer and deployment of technology is to develop private partnerships by linking public finance with carbon markets, capital market and technology market and in this way, leveraging large amounts of private finance using smaller public finance.

A Multilateral Technology Acquisition Fund (MTAF) should be established with sources mainly from public finance from developed countries. The sources for the technology fund would be from regular fiscal budgets for research and development, revenues from taxation on carbon transaction and or auction of emission permits in carbon market.

The existing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) system does not match the increasing needs for accelerating the development, transfer and deployment of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) to meet the challenge of climate change.

Compulsory licensing related patented ESTs and specific legal and regulatory arrangements are needed to curb the negative effects of monopoly powers of these technologies. An innovative IPR sharing arrangement should be developed for joint development of such technologies.

Sector-specific action will enhance the implementation of article 4.1 (c) of the convention. To this end, priority areas should be identified sector by sector and technology by technology and considered for technology development, transfer and deployment.

A list of major environmentally sound technologies needs to be assessed on a regular basis with analysis of reliability, costs, and market obstacles.

India (October 17, 2008)
An Executive body on Technology should be established as a subsidiary body of the Convention under the authority and guidance of the COP and be accountable to it.

A Multilateral Climate Technology Fund (MCTF), financed by assessed contributions from Annex I parties, should be established under the COP as part of the enhanced multilateral financial mechanism.

Financial transfers to the Fund will be counted as measurable, reportable and verifiable commitments under para 1 (b) (ii) of the Bali Action Plan. Any funding on technology not under the authority and guidance of the UNFCCC shall not be regarded as the fulfillment of commitments by developed countries.

A three-year technology action plan will serve as a starting point for the work of the executive body. It will include specify policies and actions, with regards to the following:

  1. Public domain technologies, including transfer of know-how to use and maintain technologies and adapt them to local conditions;
  2. Patented technologies, to ensure that privately owned technologies are available on an affordable basis. This will include measures to resolve barriers posed by IPR and address compulsory licensing of patented technologies.
  3. Future technologies, supporting the establishment of national and regional technology excellence centres.
MCTF will pay for technology transfer (Compulsory licensing, cost of patents, designs, and royalties), for research, development, manufacture, commercialization, deployment and diffusion of technologies, pay for capacity building etc.



Brazil (September 30, 2008)


It is important to bear in mind that the extent of actions by developing countries will depend on the level of financial and technological support that they receive from developed countries. The Bali Action Plan adds that the technological support from developed countries should be measurable, reportable and verifiable.

A new mechanism should be created under the Convention to address these issues, as suggested by G77.

EU (misc.2)
The EU underlines that the scope of the technology challenges stretches beyond the remit of the UNFCCC alone. A future climate change agreement should acknowledge the efforts undertaken outside the Convention.


An enhanced Framework on technology for mitigation and adaptation should include agreement by:

  • Developed country parties would scale-up both their RD& D (research, development and demonstration) efforts and support developing countries efforts for technology needs assessments, human and institutional capacity building, design of national deployment schemes, and participation in voluntary cooperative technology-oriented agreements;
  • Developing country parties would create an enabling environment for technology diffusion through the identification and removal of barriers to attract domestic and international investment. These policies would include, standards for energy efficiency, emissions limitations, abolishment of perverse incentives for carbon intensive technologies, IPR protection regulation and public procurement.

There should be sector technology oriented agreements, to guide and regulate technology related cooperation within and outside UNFCCC is areas like, energy efficiency related standards, large scale demonstration projects etc.

Japan (August 13, 2008)
Considering the importance of innovative technology and the urgency with which these technologies must be developed by around 2030, UNFCCC must promote its acceleration. Investment in energy technology has been stagnant since, its peak of 1980s.

Japan has announced investment of US$ 30 billion over the next five years. It has a technology roadmap for 21 innovative technologies under its Cool Earth programme.

Similarly, developed country government’s must strive to meet the commitments made at the G-8 Hokkaido Toyako summit to spend US$ 10 billion over the next several years in government funded research and development. 


In order to support the actions by developing countries, sectoral sub-groups should be established with the participation of private sectors. The result of the examination of issues by the sub-groups will assist technology transfer under the financial mechanism.

US (misc.5)
Enhancing financial and technology promotion tools does not necessarily mean creating new institutions under the UNFCCC. Wants the Convention to take in to account technology activity outside the Convention (Asia Pacific Forum, Clean Technology Fund etc).


Wants developing countries to reform institutions and create enabling environment to attract private funds for getting ESTs.

Says many non-Annex I Parties, and in particular the major emerging economies, have a level of financial and technical capacity far greater than two decades ago. Expects these countries to contribute towards improving technology through their own policies and resources.


Mechanisms to address intellectual property right issue were proposed by Parties, including:

(a) Appropriate mechanisms to promote actions leading to technology development, deployment, diffusion, and transfer taking into account intellectual property issues (Argentina, MISC.1); a suitable intellectual property rights (IPR) regime for accessing technologies owned by the private sector in developed countries (India, technology workshop);

(b) An innovative IPR sharing arrangement for joint development of ESTs (China, MISC.5), considering criteria on compulsory licensing for related patented ESTs (China, MISC.5; India, sectoral approach workshop; Brazil, technology workshop);

(c) Mechanisms to strengthen legal and economic institutions to promote the protection and enforcement of IPR, promote competitive and open markets for ESTs, and provide a well-defined, efficient and transparent system of contract enforcement (United States, technology workshop);

(d) Ways to examine the benefits of innovation protection systems and how joint R&D collaboration among developed and developing Parties could instil IPR and bring cobenefits such as endogenous technology development (Canada, MISC.1/Add.2);

(e) Mechanisms to ensure protection of IPR and guarantee access to and use of technologies by avoiding over-protectionism (Ghana, MISC.2/Add.1).

On the strategy on disbursement of financial resources, Parties proposed: 

(a) Developing a technology action plan that define specific policies, actions and funding  requirements for all relevant technologies, on public domain, patented and future  technologies (G77 and China, MISC.5); 

(b) Developing a package of means for implementing for technology, finance and capacitybuilding  sectors. Each developing country can define a package suitable for its individual  needs (South Africa, technology workshop); 

(c) Funding mechanisms following the model of the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund  to ensure the rapid diffusion and absorption of technologies needed for mitigation and  adaptation (Micronesia (Federated States of), MISC.1); 

(d) Comprehensive incentive mechanisms that can prompt mitigation actions and enable  capacity-building; and a technology transfer fund for financing technology transfer to  enable easy access to all developing countries regardless of their status in the annexes of  the Convention (Turkey, MISC.5); 

(e) Establishing joint ventures to accelerate deployment and diffusion of technologies. These will contribute to effectively dealing with IPR issues by sharing these rights among  Parties involved (Argentina, MISC. 5).

On specific sectors and technologies, Parties proposed that:  

(a) Enhanced multilateral cooperation regarding agricultural emissions should be considered   important and new initiatives are welcome in this regard (Argentina, MISC.1; New   Zealand, MISC.5);   

(b) Improved energy efficiency and renewable energies should be promoted (Argentina,  MISC.1; Norway, Singapore, MISC.5);  

(c) The priority areas in strengthening the adaptive capacities of the most vulnerable   countries could include technologies to facilitate monitoring, forecasting and modelling   of climate change; for improving the resilience of agriculture to the impacts of climate   change, and technologies for coastal zone management (EC and its member States,   MISC.2);  

(d) Bilateral channels should be encouraged, including for capacity-building and transfer of   technology to stimulate REDD (Indonesia, forest workshop);  

(e) It should be recognized that technology is sector-specific (South Africa, MISC.2/Add.1;   Ghana, technology workshop). The efficiency of technologies for adaptation needs to be   assessed. In some cases, modification would be necessary. There is also a need to assess   the potential of scaling up different technologies to deal with specific problems, taking   ecological and social circumstances into account (LDCs, MISC.1);  

(f) CCS should be promoted as a key technology to address mitigation of climate change   (Norway, MISC.5);  

(g) International cooperation on nuclear energy should be promoted, taking into account the   need for safeguards (nuclear non-proliferation), and for nuclear safety and security   (Japan, MISC.2); 
(h) It is especially important to focus on sectors with relatively homogenous technologies   and to ensure international equity in these sectors, namely the iron and steel, cement,  aluminium (industry), coal-fired generation (power generation) and road transport   (transport) sectors (Japan, MISC.4);  

(i) Technologies in the energy and transport sectors, including energy exploration   technology (i.e. gas or coal or renewable sources of energy), efficiency improvement in   the production and distribution of electricity, and efficient transport planning and overall   improvement in the fuel consumption in the transport sector, should be assessed for  LDCs (LDCs, MISC.1). &nbsp