Guest Article #11

Meeting the challenge of the Poznań Strategic Program on Technology Transfer

Promoting the transfer of environmentally sound technologies and know-how to developing countries is a key mandate for all countries, rich and poor, committed to facilitating change through an international climate change treaty. And as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has the mandate to provide finance resources to support this vision.

Over its history the GEF has delivered US$2.5 billion to support more than 30 climate-friendly technologies in over 50 developing countries. And because of the GEF's comparative advantage as a networked institution, we have leveraged an estimated additional $15 billion in co-financing from our partner agencies, national and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. In addition, the GEF has provided funding for technology needs assessments and other enabling and capacity-building activities in over 130 countries throughout the world.

The completion of the Poznan Strategic Program on Technology Transfer supports GEF's response to the decision taken by the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC in Bali requesting the GEF to elaborate a strategic program on technology transfer. Over the past 17 years, GEF has been carrying out its mandate in promoting transfer of environmentally sound technologies under the guidance of the COP. The Poznan announcement is a step forward in the technology transfer negotiations by the COP. It is also our hope that the Poznan announcement will help pave the way for the upcoming negotiations on technology transfer and climate change financial architecture leading up to Copenhagen.

Timeframe and funding

The Strategic Program on Technology Transfer proposed by the GEF consists of three funding windows: (1) technology needs assessments (TNAs); (2) piloting priority technology projects; and (3) dissemination of successfully demonstrated technologies. The program will have a target level of funding of US$50 million, and will be implemented during the remainder of the current replenishment period of the GEF, i.e., until June 2010.

The program is intended to complement other ongoing GEF climate change strategic programs, including those under the GEF Trust Fund, as well as those under the Special Climate Change Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund. It will also complement other ongoing GEF initiatives, such as the public-private partnership known as the Earth Fund. The funding level of the GEF Trust Fund alone in the climate change focal area during the current replenishment period (FY2007-FY2010) amounts to about US$1 billion.

Clearly, as we move forward, the impact the private sector cannot be overstated in promoting the deployment, diffusion and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. Most GEF-funded climate change projects already have some direct or indirect engagement of the private sector, but we are working hard to further expand their presence.

Benchmarks of success

An obvious benchmark of success for the program is to promptly initiate and expeditiously facilitate the preparation of projects for approval and implementation of the strategic program on technology transfer, as requested by the COP14 decision on the GEF. To this end, the GEF Secretariat organized a planning meeting for the implementation of the TNAs in January 2009. Experience and lessons learned from implementing previous TNAs were discussed by the UN Development Programme and the UN Environment Programme.

My team is now working on a draft work plan for TNA implementation; the GEF will provide an interim report to the 30th session of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation of the UNFCCC in June 2009, and will also report on the progress and results to COP15. Further consultation with parties, the Expert Group on Technology Transfer, and other stakeholders will be carried out throughout 2009.

Meanwhile, the GEF Council this June is also expected to approve a global program for TNAs; funding for all pilot projects on technology transfer, as well as other activities under the strategic program (with a target funding level of US$50 million), will be approved before the end of the fourth replenishment of the GEF (i.e. June 2010).

Furthermore, as requested by the Poznan decision, the GEF will “consider the long-term implementation of the strategic program.” This will be undertaken through the development of the GEF climate change strategy for the fifth replenishment of the GEF (GEF-5) Trust Fund, which is currently underway. Therefore, another important benchmark of success for the Poznan Strategic Program on Technology Transfer will be to ensure that the GEF-5 climate change strategy will properly respond to the Poznan decision.