Guidelines for technology transfer sought


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 11 Feb 2004

BY SUSAN TAM

KUALA LUMPUR: Delegates from some developing and developed nations want clearer guidelines in setting up facilities to aid technology transfer or co-operation between countries as part of efforts to reduce biodiversity loss. 

Among the issues raised during discussions at the Seventh Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP7), were the lack of proper financial support, capacity-building activities and political will to promote technology transfer from developed nations to developing nations. 

Delegates from countries such as China, Argentina and South Africa have raised these concerns with arguments that without the proper financial support, technology transfer is not possible. 

As pointed by a South African delegate, developing countries have to “play catch-up” with technological advancements taking place in developed countries.  

This is not only limited to monetary concerns but technological know-how as well, as some developed nations do not have the expertise and rely on knowledge-sharing from developed nations. 

Most delegates argued that clear guidelines must be established on how to share knowledge and provide financial aid to those who require it for technology transfer to be successful. 

Science, Technology and Environment Ministry COP7 technical committee chairman Datuk Dr Hashim Hassan said that not all developing nations had the facilities or resources to make possible the transfer of technology. 

“In Malaysia, we have set up infrastructure, labs and institutions to build capacity and resource in this area,” he said, adding that the Government was working with the relevant institutions to develop the skilled resources required to aid technology transfer. 

He added that there were many issues that needed clarification and countries were “progressing cautiously” at the discussion. 

Kenyan delegate Isabella Masinde said the issue of capacity building should be a precondition before technology transfer could take place. 

“Developed nations can facilitate this process by setting up legal and financial frameworks to assist in the transfer process,” she said. 

The issue of protecting traditional knowledge obtained from indigenous communities was also raised with proposals to set up a system to protect this knowledge from being exploited or manipulated. 

Dr Hashim said protection was necessary but a registry on the type of knowledge needed to be established. 

“We can continue with our protection efforts but what is the point if we do not know what we are protecting,” he asked. 

Some delegates from developed nations stated that traditional knowledge from indigenous groups should be shared but others argued that the knowledge must be protected with adequate intellectual property laws or compensation. 

A delegate from Argentina said no new programmes should be set up but instead efforts must be focused on existing projects to transfer technology. 

“The issue of technology transfer is not new, yet we have made little progress as we have taken a small step forward,” he said. 

A delegate from Ireland raised the concern that co-operation should not be limited to North-South co-operation but encompass South-North co-operation as well. 

He added that knowledge should be shared equally to parties interested in the conservation of biodiversity. 

More reports on the conference in our Lifestyle section


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