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1. At its first session, the Conference of the Parties (COP) by its decision 13/CP.1 on transfer of technology, requested the Convention secretariat “to prepare an inventory and assessment of environmentally sound and economically viable technologies and know-how conducive to mitigating and adapting to climate change. This inventory should also include an elaboration of the terms under which transfers of such technologies and know-how could take place” (FCCC/CP/1995/7/Add.1).
2. The COP further requested the secretariat "to submit the documents ... through the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice, to the Conference of the Parties at its second session, and to update them at regular intervals (each interval not to exceed a year) for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at each of its sessions; (and) to take the advice of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice ... in implementing these responsibilities and to coordinate this matter with the relevant United Nations agencies and other organizations and institutions" (FCCC/CP/1995/7/Add.1).
3. Furthermore, the Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate (AGBM), at its first session, requested the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) "to provide, for consideration at its third session (4-8 March 1996), a report on innovative, efficient and state-of-the-art technologies and know-how that could advance the implementation of the Berlin Mandate. This should be periodically updated" (FCCCIAGBM/1995/2, para. 19 (1)).
4. The SBSTA took note of the requests for inputs from the AGBM and requested the secretariat "to prepare an initial progress report relating to technology identification, assessment and development, as well as an inventory of state-of-the-art, environmentally sound and economically viable technologies and know-how conducive to mitigating and adapting to climate change, in implementation of decision 13/CP.1" (FCCC/SBSTA/1995/3,
B. Scope of the note
5. This note contains information on the action taken so far by the secretariat to prepare an inventory and assessment of technologies. It identifies the main question, "What type of information on technologies and know-how would be most useful to the Parties?", and seeks guidance on a number of issues related to this question, as well as describing further work to be undertaken. The term "technologies and know-how”, as used in this report, encompasses 'soft technologies' and 'hard technologies'. Examples of 'soft' technologies include capacity building, information networks, training, and research, while examples of 'hard' technologies include equipment and products to control, reduce or prevent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases in the energy, transportation, forestry, agriculture, and industry sectors, to enhance removals by sinks, and facilitate adaptation.
6. In this context, the secretariat notes that the language in decision 13/CP.1 and the request of the AGBM differ: the former uses the words "environmentally sound and economically viable and the latter uses the words "innovative, efficient, and state-of-the-art". This initial report has been prepared to address both requests.
7. A discussion of the transfer of technology by Annex II Parties may be found in FCCC/1996/SBI/S and a discussion of the guidelines for the preparation of first communications may be found in FCCC/1996/SBSTA/3.
C. Action by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice
8. The SBSTA may wish to note the activities of the secretariat and consider the issues raised in this report, particularly the priority for future work. It may also wish to transmit its conclusions to the AGBM.
I. STEPS IN THE PREPARATION OF THE PRESENT REPORT
9. As its first step, the secretariat sent a letter to the 145 Parties to the Convention and 42 relevant United Nations bodies and intergovernmental organizations on 13 November 1995, requesting copies of reports summarizing information on mitigation and adaptation technologies by sectors or categories rather than detailed reports on specific technologies. As a guide, the letters contained a list of mitigation technologies provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Second Assessment Report, chapter 28, “Inventory of technologies, methods, and practices for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases" (FCCC/SBSTA 1996/7/Add.2).
10. Secondly, the secretariat drew upon many activities already under way in relevant United Nations agencies and other bodies. For example, it utilized the "Survey of information systems related to environmentally sound technologies" prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in April 1995. The survey identifies 51 institutions that operate information systems on environmentally sound technologies, many related to climate change issues. Thirty-three of the institutions that were likely to have information on mitigation and adaptation technologies and know-how, as referred to in decision 13/CP.1, were contacted. In addition, the secretariat expanded collaboration with
the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) which has an information system and experience with industrial processes in developing countries. The secretariat also used the Internet to begin searching for additional on-line information sources.
Finally, the secretariat designed a database to organize the information received from contributing Parties, specialized agencies and other bodies of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations, and other institutions and organizations. It contains written materials, technical reports, journal articles, books, and reports on conferences and workshops. In addition, information is available on institutions, information centres, databases, and "web sites" which disseminate information on mitigation and adaptation technologies.
12. For illustrative purposes, the contents of the database are reproduced in the addendum to this document (see FCCC/SBSTA/1996/Add.1) and arranged according to the contributing entity, that is, contributing Parties, United Nations Secretariat units and other bodies, specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations, and other institutions and organizations. The structure comprises the report title, issuing organization, an abstract of the content, intended users, types of technologies considered, access, and price. The database is still in a preliminary stage and can be expanded and adapted to meet specific needs. In the future, records could be sorted by different categories and searches undertaken.
M. GENERAL RESULTS CONCERNING SOURCES OF INFORMATION
13. The secretariat received 31 responses from Parties and intergovernmental organizations to its request for information by 15 Jamuary 1996. In addition, it received seven responses to inquiries made via electronic means. Four Parties acknowledged the letter, but did not provide specific information and are therefore not represented in the database.
14. The information forwarded to the secretariat revealed that a large number of technologies are either currently being developed or are in use. This information is available via:
The Internet was developed to enable researchers to transfer information electronically. Since then it has become a world-wide network through which texts, images and personal messages are exchanged electronically over long distances almost immediately. It is growing rapidly and now has some 40 million users in the world of which about half are in North America. The World Wide Web, one service of the Internet, is a tool to make information publicly available. Organizations, institutions, companies, and individuals establish "home pages” and “web sites” to enable users to access information (some free of charge and others for a foc). In some countries, the high cost to users of being connected to the Internet, insufficient telecommunication infrastructure and other factors, may currently limit access to Internet.
(a) Written materials. Journal articles, technical reports, books, and pewsletters (such as the International Energy Agency/Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (IEAJOECD)) study "Energy and environmental technologies to respond to global climate change concerns");
(b) Databases. Information stored in computerized databases, which can be obtained on diskette or accessed on-line. In addition, a hard copy of information contained in the database is often available upon request (for example, The Greenhouse Gas Technology Information Exchange (GREENTIE) Directory listing 3000 research institutions and technology suppliers);
(c) Workshops and training courses. Some institutions conduct workshops and training programmes on specific technologies (for example, the training courses on environmental information services conducted by the Environmental Systems Information Centre (ENSIC), Bangkok.).
The type of information available on technologies varies considerably. For illustrative purposes, table 1 below gives selected examples of different types of reports. However, in many cases it is difficult to categorize a report since the contents address several subject areas.