The application of environmentally friendly technologies helps to ensure environmental protection. These technologies are less polluting, use all resources more efficiently, recycle more waste and products from their use and provide more acceptable treatment of residual waste than the technologies they replace.
Environmentally friendly technologies are low-waste or non-waste “processing and final product technologies” and thus contribute to the prevention of environmental pollution. They also include “end-of-pipe processing” or cleaning technologies designed to eliminate the contamination that occurs.
Ecologically sound technologies are not merely stand-alone technologies, but are complex systems that require specific scientific and technical information, procedures, goods, services and equipment, and methods of appropriate organizational and management activities.
Therefore, discussions on technology transfer should take into account its potential impact on human resource development and local capacity-building, as well as on women. Environmentally clean technologies should meet national socio-economic, cultural and environmental priorities.
An enabling environment should be created to ensure access to and transfer of environmentally sound technology, especially to developing countries, through supportive measures aimed at promoting technology cooperation and enabling the transfer of the necessary scientific and technological information as well as economic, technical and managerial capacity-building for the effective use and further enhancement of the technology obtained.
Technology cooperation involves joint efforts by enterprises and governments, both as suppliers and recipients of the technology. To maximize the benefits of technology transfer, such cooperation should be ongoing and involve governments, the private sector and research and development institutions. A successful long-term partnership in such cooperation invariably requires continuous and systematic training and capacity-building at all levels over an extended period of time.
The activities proposed are aimed at improving the conditions and processes related to information exchange, access to and transfer of technology (including emerging technology and associated scientific and technological information), in particular to developing countries, and at building capacities and mechanisms for technology cooperation and partnerships in order to promote sustainable development.
The introduction of new and efficient technologies is a prerequisite for empowering, in particular developing countries, to achieve sustainable development, maintain a stable global economy, protect the environment and reduce poverty and human suffering. An integral part of this activity is to improve the technologies used and, where necessary, to replace them with more accessible and environmentally friendly [safe and] clean technologies.
The availability of scientific and technical information and access to and transfer of environmentally sound technology are prerequisites for sustainable development. Providing adequate information on the environmental aspects of existing technologies includes two interrelated components: improving information on current and emerging technologies, including on the risks they may pose to the environment, and increasing access to environmentally sound technologies.
The main objective of improving access to technological information is to enable technology choices based on relevant information, thus facilitating the transfer and acquisition of such technologies and strengthening countries’ own technological capacity.
A significant amount of valuable technological information is in the public domain. Developing countries need to gain access to technologies that are not covered by protected patents or in the public domain. Developing countries also need to have access to scientific and technical information and experience to make effective use of the above-mentioned technologies.
The role of patent protection and intellectual property rights should be considered and their impact on the transfer and acquisition of environmentally sound technology, in particular by developing countries, and the concept of guaranteed access to environmentally sound technology by developing countries, taking into account the existence of property rights, should be effectively addressed with a view to identifying effective ways to meet the needs of developing countries in this area.
Patented technology can be obtained through commercial channels, and international business connections are an important means of transferring such technology. It is necessary to use this information potential in combination with technological innovations that are emerging on the ground to develop alternative technologies.
While continuing to explore the concepts and modalities for guaranteeing access to environmentally sound technologies, including advanced technologies, in particular for developing countries, activities related to enhanced access to environmentally sound technologies need to be promoted, facilitated and funded, as appropriate, while providing sufficient incentives to innovators to promote research and development on new environmentally sound technologies.
Recipient countries need such technology and additional support to further develop their scientific, technological, professional and related capacities, taking into account the technology and capabilities available to them. This support would enable countries, in particular developing countries, to make more rational choices about technology.
In this way, these countries could better assess environmentally sound technologies before they are transferred and then properly use and manage them, as well as improve existing technologies so that they respond to their specific development needs and priorities.
A critical mass of research and development capacity is critical to the effective dissemination and use of environmentally sound technologies and their development at the local level. Education and training programmes should reflect the needs of specific and targeted research and should aim to train professionals with knowledge of clean technology and a broad technical background.
Achieving this critical mass requires upgrading the skills of workers, technicians, mid-level managers, scientists, engineers and teachers, as well as establishing appropriate systems to provide social or managerial support. The transfer of environmentally sound technologies also involves their innovative adaptation and implementation in accordance with local or national cultures.