After the presentations by experts, the co-chairs asked the participants to reflect on two questions relating to technology transfer:
- How could we accelerate the pace of technology transfer to match the increasing demand of appropriate technology to address climate change issues in developing countries?
- How can we improve Kyoto mechanisms (clean development mechanism and Joint Implementation)? Can we develop other flexibility mechanisms?
The complete coverage of this discussion session can be found at <unfccc.int>
During the discussion on the question "How could we accelerate the pace of technology transfer to match the increasing demand of appropriate technology to address climate change issues in developing countries", many participants observed that technology transfer is an important subject for all countries and that this was evident given that most of the presentations made during the seminar addressed aspects of technology transfer. The technology transfer framework under the Convention as well as the work of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT) were cited as commendable efforts, especially in capacity-building, preparing technology needs assessment, and providing a handbook, among others.
At the same time, some participants highlighted obstacles to the transfer of technology. These were being political as well as financial in nature. The political obstacles mentioned included the ban on export of certain technologies and the negative effects on employment in developed countries resulting from shifting the production of technologies to developing countries. The financial obstacles included inadequate levels of the public funding that is needed to meet technology needs of developing countries, complicated and slow procedures for the approval of funds provided through the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC, and difficulties in mobilizing public and private funds.
Other participants questioned the relationship between technology transfer and its cost, as well as the confusion of equating technology transfer with that of technology needs assessments. While recognizing that not all developing countries can have access to technology at the same time, it was stressed that some developing countries are ready to deploy some of these technologies and that there is no mechanism in place to enable them to do so. In this regard, there were several calls for governments to play their part in providing a clear, stable, transparent and predictable environment and for donor countries, in particular, to provide credit and tax incentives to the private sector to ensure that technology transfer can take place.
Others suggested that there is also a need to transfer know-how and build capacity on climate-friendly technologies, in order to allow countries to adapt these technologies to their national circumstances and context.
Most participants agreed that more concrete action for technology transfer under the Convention is needed. Others reassured the forum that this is a major dilemma but that through united efforts, resources can be mobilized and solutions found.
Several participants presented proposals on how to move forward and on some issues for consideration in a next phase. It was proposed that the forthcoming discussions on the framework for technology transfer that was adopted in Marrakesh could form the basis for countries to review some possible elements, but that consideration be given to the fact that the time between research and development of certain technologies is much longer than the time frame of the technology transfer framework of the Marrakesh Accords.
A proposal was made to discuss how to accelerate technology transfer thorough international cooperation using a multilateral approach at COP/MOP 1 that would consider criteria for such an approach including urgency, seriousness, political commitment, transparency, common but differentiated responsibilities and transformation of the technology transfer framework.
It was also suggested that, to date, there has been a lot of attention on developing strategies on specific technologies such as clean coal technologies and renewable energy, and that there is a need to unleash the potential of existing and emerging technologies through exploring further how to pursue and achieve technology deployment more effectively. This could be done through such mechanisms as deployment protocols, research and development agreements, and innovative financing.
One participant suggested that more aggressive and ambitious targets are needed for Annex I Parties in order for technology transfer accelerate. This point was made in the context of technology transfer meeting the needs of the increased energy demand in developing countries where large populations still do not have access to electricity, but are willing to pay to improve their livelihood. Such a demand can be seen as offering a potentially large market for future energy investments that can also provide an opportunity for the development of clean technologies by developed countries over the next few decades.
Others noted that there was no need to develop new mechanisms given that many initiatives were already available and these should be completed first in order to provide input to work under the Convention. These initiatives included leveraging resources for technology transfer such as partnerships (public-private, public-public), engaging the private sector in a more creative way, and participating in multilateral initiatives such as the climate technology initiatives. Specific reference was also made to the discussions of the EGTT workshop on innovative options for financing technology needs assessment outputs as well as working with experts from those countries that have completed these assessment in order to discuss specifics of particular projects and to prepare proposals on how to move forward.
One participant welcomed the proposal of a "Montreal mandate" to support activities in developing countries with respect to innovative ideas under the Convention that could be replicated under other conventions, but he stressed the need to provide financial support to developing countries for the completion of their technology needs assessment and to enable the UNFCCC process to move from theory to implementation.
In the same vein, it was noted that the exiting energy efficiency technologies are too expensive for developing countries and that one solution is to localize production of these technologies to reduce equipment cost. It was also proposed that consideration be given to dispersing plants for manufacturing renewable energy technologies in developing countries in order to assist with training, capacity-building, employment creation, combating poverty and reducing costs associated with imported technologies.
Some participants expressed the view that the two questions posed by the co-chairs are linked, noting that the CDM is an effective way to transfer technology. For this reason efforts should be made to strengthen the CDM as a means of attracting business in developing countries. These participants also noted that countries can make the CDM a success by empowering the private sector. Examples of success stories of CDM and JI projects were presented and a proposal was made to develop guidelines and modalities at COP/MOP 1 on JI as a mechanism that supports the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol.
Others, concerned that not all developing countries will get their fair share of projects under the CDM if market forces alone determine the selection of projects, stressed the need to develop an appropriate procedure to guarantee access to CDM projects by all. To this end it was suggested that selection could include such criteria as contribution of projects to sustainable development, the alleviation of poverty, and promotion of economic growth, recognizing that the least cost of certified emissions reductions is not always compatible with sustainable development criteria. One participant called for a strong compliance system after 2012 to ensure that there is a market for CDM projects and for technology transfer, because many of these projects are still awaiting approval, and that the current price of carbon is not favourable for Parties to support CDM projects.
A view was expressed that the CDM, in its current structure, provides little incentive for decarbonization and that to date, it has not demonstrated its effectiveness in transferring technology. It was argued that the CDM should also be extended to projects in the transport sector where GHG emissions are very high. Others proposed improvement to the CDM, by analysing why the mechanism is not fulfilling its objectives, learning from difficulties, and designing better mechanisms in the future. A suggestion was made to promote CDM projects and technology transfer through the establishment of a new funding mechanism that would subsidize development of renewable and energy efficiency technologies, and provide a rebate system for developing countries meeting national targets established by each country.
Increasing certainty on what will happen beyond 2012 was quoted by many participants as being an essential precondition for ensuring greater use of mechanisms and for allowing them to make a contribution to the objective of the UNFCCC. One group of countries called for a discussion to further understand how post-2012 strategies can address the issues mentioned above, among others.
The co-chairs posed the following questions to the participants:
- How can the knowledge base be enhanced on vulnerabilities, impacts and cost-effective adaptation options? What is required to enhance adaptive capacity?
- How can we ensure that adaptation to adverse impacts of climate change be integrated into the technology transfer and funding policies, development cooperation and national level decision-making?
The complete coverage of this discussion session can be found at <unfccc.int>
Participants noted the importance of mitigating climate change and adapting to it, some underscoring that mitigation and adaptation should be seen as complementary strategies to address climate change. One participant observed that there need to be flexible approaches to adaptation and that the international approach to adaptation should be different from that to mitigation. Some called for a bottom-up approach to adaptation, accompanied by intersectoral dialogue and information flow across sectors.
Other participants described their countries' vulnerability to climate change as well as the programmes they are implementing to address these vulnerabilities. The loss of agricultural land due to sea-level rise and the loss of biodiversity due to hypersalination, extreme weather events and natural disasters were cited as impacts that are already adversely affecting communities.
On the challenges facing countries when dealing with adaptation, some participants mentioned how difficult it is to separate natural climate variability and climate change, and proposed that research in this area, particularly in the use of regional climate models, be given priority. On the use of models one participant cautioned against the replication of the models that have been used in the mitigation assessment, especially those that include incremental costs. He advised Parties to use models that generate workable solutions to address natural climate variability and human-induced climate change.
Other challenges mentioned included the need to develop capacities for monitoring and assessing climate change impacts, to enhance the understanding of vulnerabilities and adaptation and to build capacity to introduce adaptation strategies. The transfer of technology that will positively affect people's livelihood and at the same time protect the environment, and access to financial resources, were also highlighted as issues that still need to be addressed.
On the challenges for undertaking national adaptation actions one participant stressed the need to consider the role of the international community and that of the UNFCCC in particular, in order to maximize the use of the scarce global resources (human, institutional, etc).
Most participants mentioned that the development of the 5-year adaptation work programme under the UNFCCC provides an opportunity to discuss the development of adaptation issues. Others noted the importance of the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol in implementing adaptation actions. Emphasis was also given to the need to facilitate cooperation among scientists in the developing regions through south-south cooperation, that includes training in research and development and bridging the gap between research and policy development. Cooperation with other organizations and forging collaboration with other conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was also encouraged.
There was a call for education, training and public awareness to be given due attention and not to be limited to workshops; they should be included in the development of curricula for schools. Such efforts should include sharing indigenous knowledge on adaptation and assisting developing countries with the acquisition of basic information to assess their vulnerabilities. One participant indicated that adaptation to climate change is varied, localized and sector-specific, and for this reason technology and funding needs should be specific to sectors.
The national adaptation programme of action (NAPA) process was cited as an important step in the demonstration of technology transfer for adaptation. These are likely to facilitate policy development on technology transfer and its eventual integration into national planning. It was stressed that successful experiences should be shared among Parties and can be adopted as best practices.
The co-chairs asked the participants to reflect on two questions relating to climate change mitigation:
- What type(s) of climate change goals would best ensure the necessary deep reductions of emissions while securing sustained economic growth for both industrialized and developing countries?
- How can we formulate climate change policies that produce co-benefits for health, employment, etc; and formulate sectoral policies that produce co- benefits for climate change mitigation?
The complete coverage of this discussion session can be found at <unfccc.int>
To ensure the necessary deep reductions of emissions while securing sustained economic growth for both industrialized and developing countries, it was proposed that lessons from economic difficulties faced by developed countries in meeting their targets under the Kyoto Protocol should be taken into account as part of any discussion on future regimes. In addition it was highlighted that a post-2012 regime should be based on the principle of "common but differentiated" responsibilities, utilizing market forces and technological opportunities, and should be sufficiently flexible to attract wide participation, use technology opportunities and consider nuclear energy positively.
It was pointed out that similarities in national strategies provide possibilities to pool efforts when designing a post-2012 regime. Similarities also exist between developed and developing countries in tackling climate change. In this regard, co-benefits and collaborations were cited as important: development and climate change are not mutually exclusive, and sustainable development and climate change mitigation are not contradictory.
A group of countries supported the idea to identify synergy between addressing climate change and sustainable development. The group also agreed that to achieve the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC temperature change must be limited to 2o C; and that this translated into reducing GHG global emissions by 50 per cent by 2050. This group expressed its desire to explore the possibility of developed countries achieving reductions of 15-30 per cent by 2020.
The challenges in reducing emissions were outlined. These included how to combine objectives such as security of supply, competitive energy market, social objectives; how to use opportunities provided by low-carbon technologies; and how to address environmental challenges of climate change. It was also stressed that there is a need for a long-term analysis to define how to meet short-term challenges, the paths to get there and their related costs, and what could be considered as economically efficient approaches.
One participant said that the Convention sets a clear framework for mitigation and that countries need to implement it. Another outlined a direction for developing countries to follow whereby climate change is integrated into development policies. It was noted that developing countries are already implementing development policies that bring co-benefits for climate change, including GHG reductions.
Closing remarks by the co-chairs
After the general discussions were completed, co-chair Mr. Konishi acknowledged that everyone had learned a lot from each other given the wealth of discussion. He also recognized the usefulness of the dialogue during the seminar, in making individual and collective efforts more effective and efficient as countries think ahead together, and in creating and consolidating confidence among all, in their common endeavour to fight climate change.
He thanked all participants for their outstanding contributions and said he hoped that this could help pave the way for Montreal conference. He expressed his sincere appreciation for the kind hospitality extended by the Government of Germany and his pleasure in working with his co-chair Mr. Chow.
For his part, co-chair Mr. Chow remarked on the frank exchange of information among experts and thanked them all for sharing their common vision on the important issue of climate change. He left the forum with a Malaysian saying that "We have more than 100 rivers but all flow to the sea" and remarked that even though countries may take 100 different paths, it is hoped that one ends up with the same goal of protecting the climate for sustainable development for the future. He hoped that these positive discussions would continue in paving the way for the future.
After thanking all the experts from all governments in making the seminar a success, it was declared closed.