Technology and innovation are key to addressing the global energy challenge

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Technology and innovation are key to addressing the global energy challenge

Geneva, Switzerland, 29 November 2011

UNCTAD´s Technology and Innovation Report 2011 calls for greater international support to developing countries to promote technology and innovation in the renewable energy sector

The contents of this press release and the related Report must not be quoted or
summarized in the print, broadcast or electronic
media before 29 November 2011,17:00 [GMT]
(12:00 New York; 18:00 Geneva, 22:30 New Delhi, 02:00 - 30 November Tokyo)

Geneva, 29 November 2011 - International negotiations in the context of climate change and the green economy, as part of the Rio+20 frameworks, raise several important issues for developing countries. UNCTAD´s Technology and Innovation Report 2011(1) calls for the international agenda to place a greater focus on the technological empowerment of developing nations in the area of renewable energy technologies (RETs).

The diffusion of RETs in developing countries involves much more than transferring technology hardware from one location to another. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon points out that it requires a targeted international effort, and states that there is an urgent need to mobilize resources and accelerate efforts to ensure universal access to energy by creating an enabling environment for the promotion and use of renewable energy technologies, given that the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

Greater support from the international community will be crucial for the widespread dissemination of environmentally sustainable technologies. The Report proposes four new forms of international support mechanism to foster technological development and innovation capacity related to RETs in developing countries:

  1. An international innovation network for LDCs, with an RET focus: To address existing initiatives in technology transfer, the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, held in Istanbul in May 2011, approved the creation of a science, technology and innovation centre. The Report recommends that this centre could build an international innovation network focusing on enhancing RET-based learning in LDCs with the purpose of promoting greater access to energy. Such a network would fit in directly with the currently identified key areas of work for the centre.
  2. Global and regional research funds for the development of RETs: RETs constitute a key area of interest to developing countries, but funding for technology development and demonstration has been lacking. Dedicated funds, with designated organizational structures, could act as the focal point for the coordination of ongoing research, both at the national and the regional level, and among private, public and non-profit organizations.
  3. An international RETs technology transfer fund: A technology transfer fund for RETs could act as a licensing pool for renewable energy technologies, offering RETs at a subsidized rate to firms from least developed countries (LDCs) and developing countries with low technological capabilities.
  4. An international RETs training platform: Establishing an international training platform specifically for RETs would serve the important goal of creating a skilled staff base across developing countries for the wider use and promotion of RETs in domestic and industrial contexts.

The Report also emphasizes that a minimum level of technological capability is necessary to make technical improvements to RETs that may enable significant cost reductions, and to allow RETs to be deployed on a larger scale in developing countries. The success of RET-related technology transfer initiatives also depends on the ability of actors in developing countries to absorb and apply the technologies transferred for further learning and innovation.

Downloads [PDF]: | Technology and Innovation Report 2011 (1´889 KB, 179 pages)|