Home >> News >> TWN Poznan News Update No.11: Divergence over IPR Issue in technology transfer
TWN Poznan News Update No.11: Divergence over IPR Issue in technology transfer PDF Print
Written by Meena Raman, Third World Network   
Friday, 12 December 2008 15:36
Developing countries stressed the need to depart from the business-as-usual commercial approach to IPRs in climate friendly technologies to a fundamental paradigm shift in the treatment of IPRs in addressing the climate change emergency, just as in the case of access to affordable medicines.

Developed countries on the other hand stressed the importance of IPRs in climate technologies so as to ensure innovation for technology development and deployment.

The IPR issue arose in the contact group on 'delivering on technology and financing, including consideration of institutional arrangements' which met at its second session on 10 December. The contact group is one of four contact groups formed under the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA). It was chaired by Luiz Machado of Brazil, who is also the current chair of the AWG-LCA.

Machado said that the contact group should focus on the issue of technology, including the institutional arrangements needed to deliver technology development, deployment and diffusion. He also asked Parties to take note of the discussions from the in-session workshop on 'Technology Cooperation in R and D' which was held on 6 December, where the G77 and China referred to a Technology Action Plan, the EU to technology agreements and Japan to a technology roadmap

He said that a key issue is the future framework needed to deliver on technology. If Parties agree that a framework is needed, then Parties will have to agree on what specific functions and structure the technology mechanism would have how the framework will relate to other relevant mechanisms or activities within and outside the Convention and how to effectively engage the private sector in the implementation of the new framework, said Machado.

The Philippines speaking for the G77 and China referred to its proposal on 'Technology Mechanism under the UNFCCC' and said that it was awaiting response to its specific proposal so that Parties can identify convergences and divergences. The Group said that its proposal was comprehensive and has dealt with the institutional arrangements for delivering on technology, including how the mechanism should function, the need for a Technology Action Plan, the establishment of a Multilateral Climate Technology Fund and activities that are eligible for funding. It also stressed that that on the issue of IPRs, there cannot be a business-as-usual approach given the climate emergency and that there was need to have a new partnership and cooperation under the Conve! ntion to enable technology development, deployment and diffusion.

India said that it was imperative to recognise the importance of technology as a transformation agent and initiate urgent action in this regard. It said that there was a need to ensure that existing clean technologies receive the widest possible dissemination. On how this can be done, India said proposed using a method analogous to what has been done for pharmaceuticals in the IPR regime and by setting up a funding mechanism that would procure IPRs and make the technologies available to developing countries in an affordable manner, that would also compensate innovators and that there was a need to look at action in the future.

In this context, India called for the UNFCCC to foster collaborative R&D between developing and developed countries and their institutions as was done fifty years back in agriculture in the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). It suggested the establishment of a collaborative platform, a CleanNet (a network of climate technology development and diffusion centres) and of regional innovation centres that would ensure local capacity building as also local research, innovation and diffusion of appropriate technologies locally.

India also said that Parties are meeting at an extraordinary time which is referred by many as a second Great Depression. The bold responses by developed countries during these trying times have also highlighted two very relevant things, it said. “First, the importance of government action. Markets are important but cannot do it all by themselves. Governments must take direction setting and paradigm setting action. Second, given political will, there are huge abilities of developed countries to raise huge financial resources at short notice. We hope to see the same galvanized zeal by governments of developed countries for climate change action, given the huge need for financial resources for both adaptation and mitigation.

“The UNFCCC should establish a mechanism for raising finances from developed countries on an assessed basis. Innovative ideas of using CERs (Certified Emissions Reductions) etc can be used to supplement these resources but these innovative ideas need to be brought in consonance with the provisions and principles of the Convention. Regarding disbursement of the funds, we need to prioritise the largest needs first,” said India.

Pakistan said that as regards technology transfer and the IPR issue, it was time to consider a framework similar to that in the WHO (relating to access to medicines) to create the necessary flexibilities that promote technology transfer in climate technologies. It suggested a commission or a technical paper to address the IPR issue and the flexibilities available which can be used in the development of a framework for planned action.

South Korea said that there was a need for a positive mechanism for technology transfer. In order to make proposals operational, there was a need for fundamental change in policies on IPRs and R and D it said. “The present regime does not integrate climate change as a goal. IPR is purely to protect the private interest of companies. How can IPR work for climate change? IPR currently is working for the profit of the private sector,” it said. The issue is how Parties can make IPR work for climate change as well, it stressed. It said that government intervention was necessary for change in public policies in this regard. The legal framework in many industrial countries is for IPRs given to the private sector, while R and D funding is coming from the government! s, it said. Governments maintain leverage but only for domestic industrial competitiveness, it added. South Korea said that the climate crisis should call for fundamental change and a paradigm shift in the treatment of IPRs.

China stressed that the mandate under the Convention was technology cooperation and transfer from developed to developing countries and that Parties should focus on this issue. It supported the views of South Korea in relation to IPRs and said that there was a need for innovative arrangements instead of commercial interests but as a matter of public good. It stressed the need for change and for a new ideal institution that removes barriers and other negative market forces so as to enable technology transfer. It said that there was a need to find a way to share IPRs in technology development and research. China also reiterated its proposal for a Multilateral Technology Acquisition Fund to support regional and national R and D in developing countries. It said that the fu! nd could not cover everything and is small compared to effective demand and the role of the fund can be that of a seed fund to develop policy instruments.

Brazil, supporting the Technology Action Plan proposal of the G77 and China, said that the plan should offer significant mitigation potentials for both new and existing technologies. Collaborative joint development for new technologies is important, it said. Technology is linked to finance and the G77 and China proposal establishes this link it said, drawing reference to the idea of the Multilateral Fund for Technology. On the operational dimension, Brazil said that there was a need to consider the full cycle of technologies. There was a public- private relation with strong public involvement and the issue of IPRs is an essential aspect of this. It was important to establish a balance between adequately rewarding the innovators of technology with the need for massive s! caling up and diffusion of technologies. The approach of IPRs in the health sector made it clear that more flexible rules can be established without negative impacts on innovation, it said.

Argentina said that institutional arrangements that are necessary for a future framework to deliver on technology are a new subsidiary body on technology to give a high level of priority for this issue and technical and institutional support for mechanisms to be constructive. The subsidiary body on technology could be supported by a Strategic Planning Committee to provide short-term, mid-term and long term guidance on programmes, studies and necessary activities needed. The Strategic Planning Committee could relate to Technical Panels within a sectoral approach that is useful for national implementation and national programmes, it added. Argentina also said there could also be a Verification Group which dove tails with the “measurable, reportable and verifiable&r! dquo; requirement of the Bali Action Plan for financial and technological contributions. It also stressed the need for a Multilateral Climate Technology Fund as proposed by the G 77 and China with predictable financing.

Japan said there was a need for enhanced investment in innovative technologies. For global action, it proposed the establishment of sectoral sub-groups with private sector support. The sub-groups could be advisory bodies that could compose of experts from the private sector and international industrial organisations and agencies as well as governments, it said. The responsibility of the sub-groups is to identify effective energy efficient environmental technologies; analysis of barriers on technology transfer and challenges to promote actions; identify polices and measures for donors and donees, it added. Enhanced global action through delivery of technology would be a core function. On the IPR issue, proper investment in IPR is important and is necessary for inventors! so that R and D can take place.

[In the workshop on technology cooperation held on 6 December, Japan said that it was important to keep a proper balance between competition and cooperation. It said in relation to climate-related technologies, there are no dominant companies like Microsoft in software or Pfizer in the drugs sector. It also said that IPRs promote market competition and governments should support IPR protection.]

France speaking for the EU said that the current technology framework is inadequate. There was a need for a strengthening of the framework, it said. A key focus should be on capacity building. Training and exchange need to be accelerated. It supported the idea of regional centres for technology. It said that there was a clear link between the technology framework and mitigation and adaptation programmes and plans. These plans and programmes need to ensure that they have a technology dimension in them. On the G77 and China proposal, it said that there was a need for a flexible and equitable framework. There is a need to build on the work of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer.

Australia said that there was a lot going on not just under the Convention but also outside. It stressed the need for the engagement of the private sector. There was also a need for enhanced technology needs assessments in developing countries and enhancing information exchange.

The US said that technology development and cooperation was important such as in the area of carbon capture and storage and biofuels. It said that technology cannot be seen in isolation and that it was key for countries to strategise actions on mitigation and adaptation, so that resources can be directed correctly. It said that IPR is an essential component and there was a need to be clear on the IPR costs in every technology and project, and that the IPR costs in the energy sector was small. It said that it was best to make use of whatever mechanism that exists both inside and outside the Convention.

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