United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Egypt

Mr. President,
1- At the outset, I would like to thank you for organizing these workshops as per General Assembly resolution 67/203. I would like to associate my remarks with the statement of G77 and China
2- As the Concept Note rightly pointed out, technology plays a key role in addressing development challenges across a wide scope of cross-cutting sustainability dimensions, as in food and agriculture, water, energy, green industry development and chemicals and waste management. This is particularly relevant for developing countries, which will rely heavily on technology in order to shift to a more sustainable development path.
3- The Outcome Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) recognised technology as one of the key ‘means of implementation’ along with finance, capacity building and trade. In our view, the outcome of the Conference should be dealt with as a package, where the progress in achieving different elements of it is linked to progress made with respect to means of implementation, particularly, finance, technology and capacity building.
4- Despite progress recently in access to technology, persistent technological and innovation divides between countries and regions continue. Around 70 per cent of R&D spending worldwide still takes place in high-income countries. Although middle- and low-income developing economies have increased their share of global R&D expenditure and patent applications, most of this increase is accounted for by East Asia. Gains have been more modest in other developing countries.
5- Developing countries are still facing many obstacles, particularly with regard to finance, capacity building and training throughout different stages of technology life cycle, from research to development, demonstration, market formation, and eventual diffusion in the marketplace. An effective technology innovation system is one that excels in each stage and seamlessly bridges the gaps between them. In such a system, capacity-building, finance and technology transfer can play an important role in all stages.
6- Furthermore, The rise of strategic patenting and a series of legislative changes to expand monopoly rights has led to a very complex system of patents, which is increasingly geared to support the rights of incumbent large firms over new, smaller, innovative firms. Arguably, the system in many countries has moved from its original objective of stimulating innovation through the provision of incentives to innovators, to preventing new domestic and foreign market entrants, an increasing number of which are from developing countries.
7- It is noted that a certain degree of work has been taken with regard to technology transfer in other fora such as WTO, WIPO, UNFCCC, but didn’t lead to headways up till now. This clearly reflects the need for streamlining all these efforts, which are all related to sustainable development, as well as for making a breakthrough with regard to the issue of technology transfer. This gives more reasons why we need an international mechanism that takes in charge this task, taking into account existing models, and providing collective and coordinated solutions.
8- As we are stressing the need for transformational change in the frame work of SDGs or post-2015 development agenda, it is difficult to envisage how it could take place without making a breakthrough with regard to international cooperation in the field of technology transfer. The transformative change required for sustainable development cannot be achieved without adequate enabling environment at all policymaking levels.
9- There is a need for a technology mechanism that can accelerate technology progress on a global scale and that is commensurate with the sustainable development challenge. It is a paradox of our times that we have failed to make use of our far greater scientific and technological possibilities and global wealth to effectively solve global sustainable development challenges.
10- Moreover, technology-related sustainable development goals and/or targets are worth considering. Any future global technology facilitation mechanism should have some role in suggesting, setting, reviewing and facilitating the achievement of such goals.