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From Bali to Cancun: the debate on technology transfer and IPRs in the climate change negotiations

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Title: From Bali to Cancun: the debate on technology transfer and IPRs in the climate change negotiations


1
From Bali to Cancun the debate on technology
transfer and IPRs in the climate change
negotiations
  • Ahmed Abdel Latif ICTSD
  • Geneva Roundtable on Climate Change
  • Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property
    Rights
  • 13th July 2010

2
Enhanced transfer of climate friendly
technologies A key element of a global climate
change deal
  • With targets for CO2 emissions reductions and
    financing, enhanced technology transfer is one of
    the key issues under discussion in the climate
    change negotiations.
  • Emerging agreement on the establishment of a
    Technology Mechanism under the United Nations
    Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • Disagreements on the role of intellectual
    property rights are part of this overall
    discussion on how to accelerate diffusion of
    clean technologies, particularly to developing
    countries.

3
Provisions on Technology Transfer in the UNFCCC
(1)
  • Article 4.5
  • The developed country Parties and other
    developed Parties included in Annex II 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. In
    this process, the developed country Parties shall
    support the development and enhancement of
    endogenous capacities and technologies of
    developing country Parties. Other Parties and
    organizations in a position to do so may also
    assist in facilitating the transfer of such
    technologies.

4
Provisions on Technology Transfer in the UNFCCC
(2)
  • Article 4.7
  • The extent to which developing country Parties
    will effectively implement their commitments
    under the Convention will depend on the effective
    implementation by developed country Parties of
    their commitments under the Convention related to
    financial resources and transfer of technology
    and will take fully into account that economic
    and social development and poverty eradication
    are the first and overriding priorities of the
    developing country Parties.

5
Technology Transfer in the Kyoto Protocol
  • Article 10 (c)
  • Cooperate in the promotion of effective
    modalities for the development, application and
    diffusion of, and take all practicable steps to
    promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate,
    the transfer of, or access to, environmentally
    sound technologies, know-how, practices and
    processes pertinent to climate change, in
    particular to developing countries, including the
    formulation of policies and programs for the
    effective transfer of environmentally sound
    technologies that are publicly owned or in the
    public domain and the creation of an enabling
    environment for the private sector, to promote
    and enhance the transfer of, and access to,
    environmentally sound technologies

6
Challenges towards Implementing Art. 4.5
(1994-2007)
  • Definition of technology transfer and how to
    implement Art.4.5
  • In 2002, COP 7 adopted a framework for meaningful
    actions to effectively implement Art 4.5
  • Technology Needs Assessments
  • Technology Information
  • Enabling Environments
  • Capacity building
  • An Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT) was
    established.

7
The Bali Action Plan and technology transfer
(2007)
  • The Bali Action Plan called for enhanced action
    on technology development and transfer to support
    action on mitigation and adaptation, including,
    inter alia, consideration of
  • (i) Effective mechanisms and enhanced means for
    the removal of obstacles to, and provision of
    financial and other incentives for, scaling up of
    the development and technology to developing
    country Parties in order to promote access to
    affordable environmentally sound technologies
    (EST)

8
Climate change discussions since Bali (1)

9
Climate change discussions since Bali (2)
  • A diversity of proposals.
  • Technology transfer or technology diffusion?
  • The role of innovation in the development of
    clean technologies

10
Emerging Consensus on a Technology Mechanism
  • Establish a Technology Mechanism pursuant to the
    provisions on enhanced action on technology
    development and transfer in support of action on
    adaptation and mitigation which will be guided by
    a country-driven approach and be based on
    national circumstances and priorities.
  • (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/8, 9th July 2010)
  • We decide to establish a Technology Mechanism to
    accelerate technology development and transfer
    which will be guided by a country-driven approach
    and be based on national circumstances and
    priorities.
  • Copenhagen Accord

11
Structure of Technology Mechanism
12
Main functions under the Technology Mechanism
  • Increased RD cooperation
  • International and National Technology Action
    Plans
  • Creation of a network of regional technology
    innovation centers
  • Strengthening of national innovation systems
  • Capacity Building
  • Develop Partnerships

13
Scaling up joint RD?
  • Widely shared and recurrent policy option. But
    why is it not done more ? And how can it be
    scaled up?
  • Overall, there is little joint RD in the areas
    of climate change technologies, even between
    OECD countries.
  • Focus tends to be on pre-competitive stage of
    technology development.
  • In some countries, universities are not allowed
    to license technology funded by their national
    government to foreign firms.

14
The Technology Transfer and IPRs debate
  • Discussions on the role of IPRs in the transfer
    of clean technologies have been controversial.
  • Disagreements focus on whether IPRs are a barrier
    to the transfer of clean technologies or an
    essential pre-requisite to promote innovation,
    technology development and transfer.
  • Discussions have been confined to general
    statements and lacked solid empirical basis.
  • Language on IPRs remains bracketed in the
    negotiating text. Some countries would favor no
    language at all on IPRs.
  • However, this is not an entirely new debate
    (Chapter 34 of Agenda 21, Rio Summit 1992).

15
Options in the negotiations on Transfer of
Technology and IPRs
  • Negotiating text reflects a wide range of views
    and proposals
  • ? No mention of IPRs
  • ? Global Technology Intellectual Property Rights
    Pool for Climate Change to promote access to
    IP protected technologies and the associated
    know-how to developing countries on non-exclusive
    royalty-free terms
  • ? Ensure sharing of publicly funded
    technologies including by making the
    technologies and know-how available in the public
    domain in a manner that promotes transfer to DC
    on royalty-free terms
  • ? Right of developing countries to use to the
    full TRIPS flexibilities including compulsory
    licensing
  • ? Exclude from IPRs protection, and revoke any
    such existing IPR protection in developing
    countries and least developed countries on
    environmentally sound technologies to adapt to
    and mitigate climate change

16
What is needed? Deconstructing the Role of IPRs
in Technology Transfer
  • TT is a complex and multidimensional process
    contingent on many factors (finance, local
    absorptive capacity, enabling environment).
  • TT involves knowledge which is embodied not only
    in IPRs such as patents but also in blueprints,
    designs, know-how and trade secrets.
  • IPRs are important to promote innovation. By
    offering protection against a loss of control of
    information in technology-related transactions,
    IPRs facilitate the transfer of technology.
  • IPRs have also an impact on cost of technology
    acquisition and rate of technology diffusion.
    Licensing conditions play a key role.
  • Role of IPRs varies according to technology and
    sector. IP issues raised in the context of
    mitigation technologies are different from those
    in the context of adaptation.

17
Capitalizing on previous research on TT and IPRs
  • Since early on, ICTSD sought to promote a better
    understanding of issues relating to transfer of
    technology and IPRs in order to advance
    international processes in this area, in
    particular through evidenced based policy
    oriented research.
  • ? Examples of recent publications on technology
    transfer include
  • ? Technology transfer in the TRIPS age the need
    for new types of partnerships between the least
    developed and most advanced economies, by
    Dominique Foray, EPFL, 2009.
  • ? New Trends in Technology Transfer, By John H.
    Barton George E. Osborne Professor Emeritus
    Stanford Law School, Issue Paper 18, IP and
    Sustainable Development Series, 2007.
  • ? Encouraging International Technology Transfer,
    by Keith Maskus, Professor of Economics,
    University of Colorado at Boulder, Issue Paper
    No. 7, IP and Sustainable Development Series,
    2004.
  • ? Nutrition and Technology Transfer Policies, by
    John H. Barton, George E. Osborne Professor
    Emeritus Stanford Law School Issue Paper No. 6,
    IP and Sustainable Development Series, 2004.

18
How to respond?
19
Policy Research (I)
  • 1) Drawing lessons from other policy debates
    involving IPRs, such as public health
  • ? Innovation and technology transfer to
    address climate change lessons from the global
    debate on IP and Public Health, by Frederick
    Abbott, Issue Paper, No.24, June 2009.
  • 2) Drawing lessons from other technology transfer
    models
  • ? Fostering the development and diffusion of
    technologies for climate change lessons from
    the CGIAR Model, by Carlos. Correa, Policy Brief
    No.6, December 2009.
  • 3) Analyzing some of the proposals in the
    negotiations from a practical perspective
  • ? Access to climate change technology by
    developing countries a practical strategy, by
    Cynthia Cannady, Issue Paper No. 25, September
    2009.
  • 4) Identifying issues and challenges for LDCs
  • ? Technologies for Climate Change and
    Intellectual Property Issues for Small
    Developing Countries, Information Note No. 12,
    October 2009.

20
Empirical Evidence (II)
  • Empirical evidence on transfer of climate change
    technologies and IPRs is limited and recent.
  • Study by John Barton for ICTSD in 2007 IP and
    Access to Clean Energy Technologies in Developing
    Countries. An Analysis of Solar Photovoltaic,
    Biofuel and Wind Technologies.
  • The UNEP-EPO-ICTSD Project on Patents and Clean
    Energy is based on the premise that the scale of
    the challenge is such that only a broadly based
    partnership can succeed. The project was
    announced in April 2009.

21
Conclusion
  • The urgency of addressing the climate change
    challenge could present us with a unique
    opportunity to re-energize and move the
    decades-old discussion on technology transfer
    beyond entrenched beliefs and well known
    positions..
  • This calls for innovative approaches and creative
    solutions to address unresolved issues, including
    IPRs, with a view to accelerate the transfer of
    climate change technologies to developing
    countries.
  • Viability of new international architecture on TT
    for climate change contingent on levels of
    financing.

22
Thank you
  • www.ictsd.org
  • aabdellatif_at_ictsd.ch
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