United Nation General Assembly 4th June 2014 Structured Dialogue 3 on a Technology Facilitation Mechanism
Statement by the European Union
The European Union and its Member States will continue to engage actively in the dialogues on technology facilitation. We note with regard to the first two dialogues on 29th and 30th April – beside the rather low level of attendance by member states in the dialogues – that there is no broadly acknowledged agreement on the unfulfilled need for a technology mechanism. Furthermore, that there is a differences in approach. Roughly speaking: should we advance in the creation of a new technology facilitation mechanism under a possible UN hat with another organizational bureaucracy and drain on limited funds, or concentrate, first, on understanding and improving coordination and synergies between existing mechanisms and processes and correcting the limited access to information?
It is the opinion of the European Union and its Member States, that at present, the need and usefulness of such instrument has yet to be fully established, and we need to be careful that what we set out to do does not duplicate existing processes and mechanisms, but rather increases the synergies and coordination between various current technology transfer initiatives, programmes and mechanisms already operating within the UN system and under the Rio Conventions (e.g. LDC Technology Bank and UNFCCC Technology Mechanism).
In this connection we note, that despite the reports produced on options for technology facilitation, several delegations and some panelists highlighted that there is still a need for a mapping exercise to further study existing mechanisms and resources to ensure an informed and effective decision. The EU and its Member States stress, that the decision on how best to facilitate technology and innovation for development should be based on a thorough analysis. We support that a mapping is undertaken, with special focus on the functions discussed today.
Unfortunately, Dialogues 1+2 did not provide a full picture. However, the dialogues did reveal, that there is an enormous number of existing activities taking place to promote development and/or transfer of technology to developing countries, with a large number of UN institutions and other agencies involved in promoting technology facilitation at different stages of the technology cycle.
One possible function that was highlighted by a number of delegations in the first dialogue was that of more and better access to public information for member states on existing mechanisms, frameworks and processes. This is important to make effective use of the existing facilities, and can be of particular assistance to member states which might not have the capacity to obtain and operationalise current information from many different sources. In that connection we find that UN-DESA's paper "Summary of Issues for Discussion Arising from Dialogues 1 and 2" is well structured to guide our discussions.
Another issue – or potential function - of technology facilitation highlighted by a number of delegations was that of ensuring better coordination, sharing of best practices and pursuit of synergy between the large numbers of UN institutions involved in technology facilitation, while respecting the mandates of these institutions. Again, we find that the questions raised in UN-DESA's Summary paper could be useful to help us clarify this possible function
We would like to end by recommending that we take a broad look at international cooperation in STI in these dialogues and avoid a narrow, restrictive definition of TT. STI for sustainable development should not be seen only in terms of technology transfer, but more generally understood as the need to promote innovation, technology adaptation and diffusion and the acquisition of capacities and know-how. Successful technology transfer is often a result of a more complex set of activities, rather than a stand-alone activity, which involves access to financing and promotion of entrepreneurship and FDI, STEM education and capacity building in STI, promoting good governance and a regulatory framework, including for IPR. The EU and its Member States are very active in international cooperation in S&T research and innovation, as the Horizon 2020 programme that we might hear more about this afternoon demonstrates. Common interests and mutual benefits are key aspects of our global commitment to co-creation of solutions, as well as knowledge sharing for sustainable development.