United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Women

Silvia Ribeiro, Latin America Director
Action group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC group) and Women Major Group
Interactive dialogue with Major Groups engaged in the FfD and post-2015 processes
The importance of technology has been clearly recognized as a crucial tool for the implementation of the post 2015-sustainable development agenda. The Women Major Group is convinced that cooperation, transfer, assessment and development of technologies that strengthen gender justice and environmental sustainability are essential to realize this agenda.
The core objective of the Technology section must be the transfer of environmentally safe, socially appropriate, gender-sensitive and economically equitable technologies to developing countries, along with the recognition and protection of endogenous and indigenous knowledge systems and technologies, that are proven pathways for sustainability. Systemic obstacles, such as restrictive intellectual property rights, corporate control and trade regimes, must be addressed and overcome.
To ensure a technology transfer that truly promotes sustainability and addresses economic and gender inequalities, Parties needs to establish a global Technology Facilitation Mechanism at the UN, affirming the decisions of paragraph 275 in The Future We Want declaration, followed by related decisions at UNGA 68 and 69, and as requested by G77 and others at the Structured Dialogues on technology.
Rio+20 also recognized the need to develop the capacity of countries to assess the potential impacts of new technologies. Monitoring and assessment of potential impacts of technologies with the active participation of women and affected communities must be an integral component of the whole technology cycle and a key function of the proposed Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the Technology Bank for LDCs.
Technologies are responsible for a big percentage of economic development, but also for many environmental, social and gender impacts. There is a notorious absence of UN capacity to evaluate and qualify technologies, a capacity that would be of great benefit for developing countries to make decisions on the technologies that are best suited for their need and conditions.
Any technology facilitation mechanism should have technology assessment as an integral function that includes scanning the horizon for new technologies, their application across sectors and borders and the potential impacts to society, women, environment, health and the economy.
Any steps towards technology facilitation, including the proposed global online platform, must be guided by clear principles and criteria on what technologies are gender and economically equitable, environmentally-sound and socially appropriate, to ensure that technology transfer is not an end by itself but is a mean to attain sustainable development goals. Complementary, regulatory frameworks based on a strict precautionary principle on hazardous technologies, including wastes and substances of technological innovations must be enforced. Stringent requirements on life-cycle analysis of technological products from the design phase must be imposed. There should be an outright ban on dangerous technologies that put people and the planet at grave risks such as nuclear and geoengineering.