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Technology Transfer for Climate Change

What is Technology Transfer for Climate Change?

Technology transfer plays a critical role in an effective global response to the climate change challenge, since technology is the source of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions. Achieving the global reduction of GHGs requires innovation to transform current technologies into cleaner and climate-resilient technologies. For this reason, innovation is the foundation for sustainable economic development.
While there are many definitions of technology transfer, the GEF has adopted the concept of technology transfer as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer, IPCC 2000 - and embodied in the UNFCCC technology transfer framework. Technology transfer is defined as: “[...]a broad set of processes covering the flows of know-how, experience and equipment for mitigating and adapting to climate change amongst different stakeholders such as governments, private sector entities, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research/education institutions[...].

The role of the GEF in Technology Transfer 

Since its inception in 1991, the GEF has been facilitating technology transfer to help developing countries address the global climate change challenge. The GEF has a mandate from the UNFCCC to finance the transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies, and has evolved into the largest public-sector funding source for these technologies. These technologies, if compared to others, have the potential for significantly improved environmental performance. They include know-how, goods and services, and equipment, as well as organizational and managerial procedures.
In recent years, GEF has invested about $250 million annually in energy efficiency; renewable energy; emerging, low-carbon, and energy-generating technologies; cost-effective short-term response measures; and sustainable urban transport. The GEF has allocated a total of nearly $3 billion to support climate change activities since its inception, and leveraged more than $15 billion in cofinancing.

GEF-6 and Technology Transfer

The GEF-6 Climate Change Mitigation Strategy supports innovation and technology transfer at key early and middle stages, focusing on the demonstration and early deployment of innovative options. The GEF support aims to help address elevated risks associated with innovation and mitigate the barriers of technology transfer, and to pilot promising approaches.  

Under the GEF-6 Program 1, the GEF will support projects in the following categories:

  1. Technologies with transformational potential;
  2. Acceleration of low emission technology innovation and uptake through demonstration, deployment, transfer using policies and mechanisms;
  3. Collaborative initiatives with stakeholders, including the private sector, to adapt technologies to user needs.

During the first year of GEF-6 (July 2014 – June 2015), 14 projects with technology transfer objectives were approved with $221.4 million of GEF funding and $2.5 billion of co-financing. They include the Sustainable Cities IAP and projects addressing the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy in SIDS

Climate Technology Centers & Network 

During the UNFCCC COP18 held in Doha, Qatar, in December 2012, Parties agreed to launch the operationalization of the Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN). They selected a consortium led by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) as Climate Technology Center host. The CTCN is an important part of the Technology Mechanism established by UNFCCC.

In response to UNFCCC Decision 2/CP.17, GEF consulted with UNEP and UNIDO, and the middle sized project to support the CTCN was approved in June 2015. 

This project supports the implementation of climate technology transfer and deployment projects in seven countries, enabling the CTCN to design and test a framework to work with financial institutions to help developing countries towards designing practicable investment opportunities. The project is expected to serve as a pilot helping draw lessons to help mobilize national allocations to further support CTCN activities under GEF-6.