On the sidelines of the fourth session of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, participants met for a discussion around 'Rethinking technology,' covering topics such as a technology facilitation mechanism (TFM) and technology assessment.
22 April 2015: On the sidelines of the fourth session of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, participants met for a discussion around ‘Rethinking technology,’ covering topics such as a technology facilitation mechanism (TFM) and technology assessment.
The event, which took place in New York, US, on 22 April 2015, was organized jointly by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) New York Office, the Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS), the Women’s Major Group, the Global Forest Coalition (GFC), Tebtebba Foundation, and the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group).
Moderating the session, Susan Alzner, UN-NGLS, highlighted calls for the post-2015 development agenda to establish an inclusive, transparent and forward-looking TFM under the UN, and include the scanning and evaluation of new and emerging technologies as a key function of that mechanism.
Chantal line Carpentier, Chief, UNCTAD New York Office, said UNCTAD’s role includes supporting the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and producing the Technology and Innovation report. She also noted the establishment in 2014 of a UN inter-agency group that works on: mapping existing technology initiatives; identifying gaps and areas of synergies and collaborations; and identifying options for an online platform. A full mapping exercise is expected to be ready by May 2015, she said, and will be shared with stakeholders. Later during the session, and referring to the event, Carpentier noted that UNCTAD was pleased to offer a non-negotiating forum to allow Member States and civil society organizations to discuss among themselves so as to help “bridge the gap” in the technology facilitation positions.
Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Mission of Brazil, asked to “break the resistances” that prevent the UN from moving ahead on a TFM. He called for educational systems capable of producing scientists, and remarked “we are losing investments” by not ensuring that women stay in the business of science and technology.
Olivier Brochenin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, France, suggested discussing the added value of each proposal already put on the table, and structuring multistakeholder partnerships, to help reach an agreement on the TFM.
Amit Narang, Permanent Mission of India, remarked that technology, in particular the TFM, is one of the most debated issues “at least since Rio+20.” He cautioned against a sole focus on environmental technologies, considering that the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include other areas as well. He said technologies should not be left to the private sector only, and emphasized the need for collaboration when “rethinking” technology.
Simone Lovera, Executive Director, Global Forest Coalition (GFC), said formal innovations and traditional knowledge systems’ contributions should receive equal recognition, and noted that technologies do not always need to be complex. She suggested facilitating the deployment of locally-appropriate, environmentally sound and proven technology, innovation, knowledge and practices that contribute to all SDGs.
Grace Balawag, Tebtebba Foundation, called for: non-financial means of implementation (MOI) to receive equal importance in the post-2015 development agenda; developing capacity to assess new technologies at regional, national and local levels; and evaluating the impacts of technologies on environmental, social and economic components in local communities.
Neth Daño, ETC Group, stressed the need to include technology assessment in the TFM. She noted that assessment was called for in Agenda 21, and urged incorporating it throughout the technology cycle. She added that technology assessment is applicable to existing technologies, as well as new technologies, and should include long-term impacts.
Taking the floor, participants asked to ensure the protection of data related to digital technology, and to address discrimination-related barriers to technology access. Several participants underlined the importance of recognizing the role of women in technology, innovation and in generating knowledge, and to find common ground to achieve an agreement on the TFM. [Concept Note] [IISD RS Story on Background Note on Technology] [IISD RS Coverage of Post-2015 Negotiations] [IISD RS Sources]