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UNSG Issues Recommendations on Clean Technology

United Nations18 September 2013: A report of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on 'Options for facilitating the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies,' finds that Member States and stakeholders share the objective of accelerating technology facilitation, but differences exist on the details and approaches. The report follows on a mandate in the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

The report (A/68/310) summarizes written inputs and discussions from four workshops that discussed, inter alia: developing countries' technology needs; options to address these needs; capacity building; and options for a technology facilitation mechanism. 

Workshop participants supported a comprehensive approach for technology facilitation, stressing the challenge goes beyond technology transfer. They found that capacity building focuses on later stages of the technology cycle, particularly diffusion, with little emphasis on strengthening capacity in earlier stage activities such as research and development.

On renewable energy, the report urges action on, inter alia: increasing energy access, particularly for the poor; closing the gap between what needs to be done to avoid rising temperatures and what has been pledged at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and addressing the 'artificial divide' between climate mitigation and energy access. To help eradicate poverty, it calls for greater attention to clean, environmentally sound technologies in sectors such as agriculture, noting that renewable energy and sustainable transport dominate technology transfer discussions in the context of climate change mitigation.

The report concludes with three types of recommendations. Recommendations on initiatives that can be acted upon without institutional reforms include: conducting methodological examinations of achievements and needs on the topic through a framework such as the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF); fostering a global reporting system and demonstration projects on relevant technologies; and mobilizing UN support for the agreed technology bank for Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Recommendations on initiatives that individual countries or groups could voluntarily act upon include: considering a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) or targets on technology; and promoting voluntary national peer reviews of relevant technologies and options.

Recommendations on initiatives proposed by participants but not universally accepted include: creating a forum within the UN for a regular dialogue on the topic; and creating a UN global technology facilitation mechanism.

The report, dated 18 August, was circulated as an official document on 18 September. It is expected to be taken up in the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Second Committee during the 68th Session. [Publication: Options for facilitating the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies: Report of the Secretary-General] [IISD RS Story on Workshop Report] [Reports of UN Secretary-General to Second Committee]