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Poznań Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer

The Poznań Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer was welcomed by Parties at COP 14 as a step towards scaling up the level of investment in technology transfer in order to help developing countries address their needs for environmentally sound technologies. In the following interview for the UNFCCC newsletter, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) climate change team gives an insight into the Programme and what it can achieve.

What is the background to the Poznań Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer, and how can it help developing countries address their technology needs to support mitigation and adaptation?

Promoting the transfer of environmentally sound technologies and know-how to developing countries is a provision of Article 4.5 of the UNFCCC.  As an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC, the GEF has the mandate to provide financial resources to support the development, diffusion and transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries.  At COP 13 in Bali, the GEF was requested to elaborate a strategic programme on technology transfer

During its 17 years of existence, the GEF has allocated $2.5 billion to support more than 30 climate-friendly technologies in over 50 developing countries. This funding has leveraged an estimated additional $15 billion in co-financing from the GEF partner agencies, national and local governments, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector. In addition, the GEF has provided funding for technology needs assessments and other enabling and capacity-building activities in over 130 countries throughout the world.

The Poznań Strategic Programme is a step forward in enhancing the implementation of technology transfer activities under the Convention. It is also hoped that the Programme will help pave the way for the upcoming negotiations on technology transfer and climate change financial architecture leading up to Copenhagen, which are of particular importance for developing countries.

What elements does the Programme comprise, how much funding is available, and can it be deployed at speed?

The Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer proposed by the GEF consists of three funding windows:

  • Technology needs assessments (TNAs)
  • Piloting priority technology projects
  • Dissemination of successfully demonstrated technologies

The Programme will have a target level of funding of $50 million, and it will be implemented during the remainder of the current replenishment period of the GEF, i.e., until June 2010.

It should be noted that the Programme is intended to complement other ongoing GEF climate change strategic programmes, including those under the GEF Trust Fund, as well as those under the Special Climate Change Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund. The funding level of the GEF Trust Fund alone in the climate change focal area during the current replenishment period (2007-2010) amounts to about $1 billion. The Programme will also complement other ongoing GEF initiatives, such as the public-private partnership known as the Earth Fund, which aims to engage the private sector directly in promoting the transfer of environmentally sound technologies. The GEF recognizes the important role of the private sector and has stepped up its efforts in engaging the private sector. Most GEF-funded climate change projects have some direct or indirect private sector engagement.

What is the current scope of technology transfer cooperation among international and regional financial institutions? (e.g. the World Bank, the GEF and regional development banks)?

The Global Environment Facility operates as a network of international institutions, and activities are implemented by agencies. The projects funded by the GEF are implemented by the World Bank, regional development banks, UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO, FAO and IFAD.  In this sense, there is natural cooperation between the GEF and its partner institutions, be it on technology transfer or other programmes and initiatives. 

Many bilateral and multilateral technology initiatives have also emerged or are under discussion, along with the proliferation of new funds for climate change. There is tremendous scope and potential for technology transfer cooperation among international and regional financial institutions. More effective cooperation is needed among these institutions. Furthermore, better coordination among the donor communities is also desired.

What will be the benchmark of success for the Programme?

An obvious benchmark of success for the Programme is to “promptly initiate and expeditiously facilitate the preparation of projects for approval and implementation” of the Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer, as requested by COP14. To this end, the GEF Secretariat organized a planning meeting for the implementation of the technology needs assessments (TNAs) in January 2009. Experience and lessons learned from implementing previous TNAs were discussed by UNDP and UNEP. A draft work plan for TNA implementation has been drawn up for 2009. 

The GEF will provide an interim report on the implementation of the Programme to the thirtieth session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation in Bonn in June, and will also report on the progress and results to COP15 in Copenhagen in December.  Further consultation with Parties, the Expert Group on Technology Transfer and other stakeholders will be carried out throughout 2009. A global programme for TNAs is expected to be submitted and approved by the GEF Council in June 2009. Funding for all pilot projects on technology transfer as well as other activities under the Strategic Programme (with a target funding level of $50 million) will be approved before the end of GEF-4 (i.e., June 2010).

Furthermore, as requested by the Poznań decision, the GEF will “consider the long-term implementation of the Strategic Programme.”  This will be undertaken through the development of the GEF climate change strategy for the fifth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund, which is currently underway. Therefore, another important benchmark of success for the Poznań Strategic Program on Technology Transfer is to ensure that GEF-5 climate change strategy will properly respond to the Poznań decision.