United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


General Assembly Sixty-Ninth Session
22 April 2015

Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Statement by Ms Rosemary O’Hehir
Policy Officer, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Thank you Mr Co-facilitators.

Technology, innovation and capacity building are critical enablers of sustainable economic growth and development.

Australia thanks Ambassador Serger and Ambassador Patriota for their briefing on last year’s General Assembly Structured Dialogues. These dialogues were a useful opportunity to exchange views on ways to improve technology cooperation.
With regards to the proposal to establish a new technology facilitation mechanism, we believe that form must follow function.

Over the past two years, we’ve discussed a range of ways the technology landscape could be improved. But we have not yet reached consensus on which of these improvements we should pursue, and what are the gaps we need to fill.

The FfD process, as the MOI pillar of the post-2015 development agenda, is the appropriate forum to reach this consensus, and Australia is very open to looking at practical ways to improve technology cooperation, in support of the post-2015 development agenda.

Only once we have come to a common understanding on the actual outcomes we are seeking, would it make sense to address the issue of whether any institutional housing is needed.

We should also keep in mind that significant technology cooperation is already occurring, between governments, research institutions, civil society and the private sector. Multiple international mechanisms currently exist to facilitate this flow of knowledge and capacity, including the UNFCCC’s technology transfer mechanism which is still rolling out and WIPO Green. Australia sees merit in exploring ways to establish stronger links between these existing structures, to harness all of the cooperation that is occurring across sectors.

Australia also supports the process established to consider the proposed technology bank for LDCs. We welcomed the appointment of a High-level Panel to study its scope and feasibility and look forward to considering the Panel’s report in due course.

But any discussion on technology should not simply focus on technology transfer, but consider the whole technology life cycle. Successful technology cooperation improves enabling environments and enhances capacity through building skills, expertise and processional know-how which contributes to long-term transformative changes.

Innovation, science and technology – in areas such as agriculture, transport and communications – have been the driving forces behind advances in global development, and if we are to find the development solutions for the future, we must look to new ideas.

Much of the world’s advanced technology is generated by private sector organizations. The private sector has long been the driver of innovation, looking for ways to do business better. Innovation applies as much to achieving good sustainable development outcomes as it does to business.

For Australia, the crux of this technology debate is how best to harness innovation through partnerships, with the private sector but also with civil society, research institutes and academia. Broad based involvement of a range of stakeholders, providing different elements of technology cooperation, is essential for speedier uptakes of technology. We have been advocating for this throughout the week, as a core component of a renewed global partnership.

Australia is focused on applying new and innovative approaches our development cooperation. We have created a new innovation eXchange to come up with new ideas, embrace creative thinking and create new partnerships with the private sector, civil society, academics and individuals with great ideas. We see value in focusing on how we can use this agenda to catalyse support for public-private partnerships for innovation and development.

Our sustainable development objectives are best served by looking at the whole picture, which means not just the transfer of technology, but how we can innovate and give developing countries the capacity and support they need to develop tailor made solutions to their country contexts. In this way we can generate the transformational shifts to which this agenda aspires.

Thank you.