In the UNFCCC process, governments periodically meet to explore how to enhance climate technology development and transfer. The UNFCCC negotiations provide a political forum through which all countries may openly communicate their interests and challenges regarding enhancing climate technology action. Read further about the UNFCCC here.
This page contains links to comprehensive information on UNFCCC negotiations related to climate technology. It includes documents for upcoming sessions, decisions of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and conclusions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). There is also information on the work of ad-hoc bodies.
So what have been the major steps in the UNFCCC process to enhance climate technology development and transfer? There are five key milestones that define UNFCCC technology efforts over the 20 years of the UNFCCC process.
When countries established the Convention, they included specific provisions on technology in the original text. These form the basis for all technology efforts under the Convention:
Article 4, paragraph 1
“All parties…shall: (c) Promote and cooperate in the development, application and diffusion, including transfer, of technologies…that control, reduce or prevent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases…”
Article 4, paragraph 5
“The developed country Parties…shall take all practicable steps to promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies and know-how to other Parties, particularly developing country Parties, to enable them to implement the provisions of the Convention…”
Countries initially focused on developing a shared understanding of climate technology issues at the global level. They explored what information was available on technology development and transfer, what were the technology needs of developing countries and how the international community was providing support. They also considered what technologies could support countries to reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change.
From 1997 to 2001, building upon this initial work, countries stepped up their efforts by engaging in a consultative process on climate technology development and transfer. Regional workshops in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean explored a broad range of issues related to climate technology at the national, regional and international levels. In 1997, countries also included a provision on technology as Article 10(c) of the Kyoto Protocol.
Building on the understanding developed during the consultative process, in 2001 countries created the technology transfer framework (known officially as the framework for actions to enhance the implementation of Article 4, paragraph 5, of the Convention). They also established the expert group on technology transfer (EGTT) to analyse technology development and transfer issues. The technology transfer framework covers five key technology themes:
• Technology needs and needs assessments
• Technology information
• Enabling environments for technology transfer
• Capacity-building for technology transfer
• Mechanisms for technology transfer
In 2007, countries added four sub-themes to the mechanisms theme: innovative financing; international cooperation; endogenous development of technologies; and collaborative research and development.
Between 2001 and 2010, both the EGTT and the technology transfer framework supported developing countries to address technology transfer issues and implement technology activities. Through these institutions, countries established and consolidated the technology needs assessment process. With developing countries identifying their technology needs, the EGTT explored how technology financing and capacity-building could help countries address their needs. It wrote a guidebook and held regional workshops which trained project developers in preparing project proposals for financing. In addition, the EGTT explored how to monitor and evaluate the technology transfer framework’s effectiveness. It also developed strategies and evaluated options to accelerate technology development and transfer in the long term. In 2010, countries ended the EGTT’s mandate when they established the Technology Mechanism. They requested the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) to further implement the technology transfer framework.
Since 2008, the GEF has supported climate technology activities under the Poznan strategic program on technology transfer. This programme aims to scale up the level of investment for technology transfer thus helping developing countries to address their needs for climate technologies. The GEF initially created the programme with three windows: supporting technology needs assessments (TNAs); supporting pilot projects linked to TNAs; and disseminating experience on climate technology activities.
In 2010 countries scaled up efforts on climate technology by establishing the Technology Mechanism. The Technology Mechanism consists of two complementary bodies: the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). Read more about the Technology Mechanism.
Agreed by countries in Paris in 2015, the ground-breaking Paris Agreement paves the way for a new chapter in global action on climate change. It also sets the stage for urgently needed climate technology development and transfer. In addition, in Paris countries also strengthened the Technology Mechanism, requesting further work on technology research, development and demonstration, as well as on endogenous capacities and technologies. Furthermore, the Paris Agreement established a technology framework to provide overarching guidance to the Technology Mechanism. Together, the Technology Mechanism and the technology framework will support countries to limit the rise in global temperature and adapt to climate change.
Article 10, paragraph 1
“Parties share a long-term vision on the importance of fully realizing technology development and transfer in order to improve resilience to climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”