United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Talking points for dialogue on tech transfer

Let me start by congratulating the two facilitators on their assumption of this important role. I would also like to thank the panelists for their rich and insightful presentations.

It goes without saying that technology is key to achieving sustainable development. However, the challenge ahead of us is quite complicated; it is not just that we lack a mechanism. I participated in last year’s workshops, and I found them useful in helping us to understand the complications of the challenge before us. The discussions were well summarized in the Secretary General’s report A/68/310.

My delegation does not support all the recommendations made in the SG report; however, we share the views expressed during the workshop and reflected in the report, which include, as follow:

Para 5: the challenge is broader than that of cross-broader technology transfer and goes well beyond a narrowly defined technology agenda.

Para 6: the workshops provided further examples highlighting the increasing importance of factors and channels outside the traditional domain of science and technology policy and of official development assistance frameworks, such as trade, foreign direct investment and industrial policy.

Para 14: it is generally accepted that both technology needs and capabilities differ among developing countries. Certain technologies may be better suited for some countries than for others, given resources endowments, existing technological capabilities and other factors.

Para 25: A large number of capacity-building activities are on offer or in development in the area of clean environmentally sound technology facilitation at the bilateral, regional and global levels.

Para 34: On IPR, they shed light on the complexity of the issue and the need to consider intellectual property on a case –by case basis, since its importance either as a facilitator or as a barrier varies greatly, depending on the industry and the technology.

Para 35: According to a survey conducted by the International Center for the Trade and Sustainable Development, the licensing of clean technology to developing countries is concentrated in big emerging economies. More importantly, the survey adds support to the view that IPR is one among a number of important factors (scientific capabilities, investment climate) affecting the propensity to license technology or enter into cooperation with a developing country.

Para 37: it is worth noting that China counts for the most significant increase in the use of codified and protected knowledge offered by the IPR system.

Para 38: there is a need to better understand patenting landscapes for clean and environmentally sound technologies in developing countries and in particular, identify concrete cases where IPR do pose an obstacle towards technology transfer. There is a need to better understand the role of non-patented know-how for clean and environmentally sound technologies and how such know- how is best transferred.

I believe that the aforementioned points are all still valuable and useful inputs, and that they should serve as the basis for our discussions both today and in the coming dialogues.

Now, I have a number of questions for the panelists:

1. I was quite impressed by the presentation made by Dr. Hamid about the Malaysian Government’s strong determination to emphasize R&D and human resource development. My question is: if a new mechanism is created at the global level, how do you think that such a mechanism could help your country?

2. As explained by Mr. Rijsberman, from CGIAR, the private sector is a key factor in sustainable development. We feel more work needs to be done at global level on this aspect. How do you think this could be achieved or facilitated through the UN?

3. We learned today that there are already many ongoing efforts and initiatives. We also heard that these efforts could be better coordinated, and that various entities are already making efforts to enhance coordination as much as possible and even to scale up existing initiatives. Do you think that a new mechanism under UN would be able to coordinate the efforts and activities that have already been decided on by or are being implemented through different governing bodies, including UNESCO, WIPO and World Bank? I would also note that I was surprised to hear Japan being referenced as a donor in several of the presentations. To be honest, I do not know much about many of these initiatives; which demonstrates the difficulties of coordination even within Japan. How do you think a new mechanism under UN would be able to coordinate such initiatives? Do you think there is a possibility that it could result in further fragmentation?

4. We know that technology needs and capabilities differ among developing countries, sectors and regional localities. In this regard, you mentioned the importance of a ‘bottom up approach’. But this raises concerns of its own. What are your views on ‘fragmentation’ and ‘decentralization’? In other words, how can we strike a balance between a global perspective and a local perspective?

I would like to make it clear that there is difference of opinion regarding what precisely was mandated by the Rio+20 conference. My delegation is of the view that there was no agreement among member states to create a new mechanism under UN. I would like to request the Moderators to include my remarks on this point in the record.

I thank Mr. Sagar for your very concrete suggestions on the potential modalities of a new mechanism; however, it looks very complicated and would require a great deal of expertise. For this reason, I am not sure that we are the right group of people to discuss this topic. At least we need more time to consider these proposals.

I also have another concern. Just looking around room, it is clear that this dialogue does not enjoy great participation from the Member States. We know the importance of technology for achieving Sustainable development. And we also know that the private sector plays a key role in this regard. How do you think we will be able to attract more attention from other Member States and other important stake holders, including the private sector, in to process of discussing the modalities of a new mechanism?

I thank you.