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 broad and inclusive term “transfer” encompasses diffusion of technologies and technology cooperation across and within countries. It covers technology transfer processes between developed countries, developing countries, and countries with economies in transition. It comprises the process of learning to understand, utilize and replicate the technology, including the capacity to choose and adapt to local conditions and integrate it with indigenous technologies.
The IPCC describes three major dimensions necessary to ensure the effectiveness of technology transfer: capacity building; enabling environments; and mechanisms for technology transfer. National development and investment initiatives, foreign direct investment (FDI), official development assistance (ODA), commercial lending and equity investment are all important channels through which technology transfer is financed.


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 Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to finance the transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs), and has evolved into the largest public-sector funding source for these technologies. ESTs have the potential for significantly improved environmental performance compared to other technologies. 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, 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.
Under GEF-5 (2010-2014), funding pledge for climate change mitigation program has expanded to approximately $1.4 billion, and the climate change strategy now embraces technology transfer as a priority, with the entire portfolio supporting it directly or indirectly. Today, the GEF is supporting technology transfer activities in almost 100 developing countries.


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:

(a) Technologies with transformational potential

(b) Acceleration of low emission technology innovation and uptake through demonstration, deployment, transfer using policies and mechanisms

(c) Collaborative initiatives with stakeholders, including the private sector, to adapt technologies to user needs


GEF-5 and Technology Transfer


The GEF-5 Climate Change Mitigation Strategy Document promotes a broad portfolio of environmentally sound, climate-friendly technologies that will achieve large GHG reductions in GEF-recipient countries in accordance with national circumstances. GEF support involves a combination of technology push and market pull interventions; as well as the various stages of technology development in the innovation chain, from demonstration of innovative, emerging, low-carbon technologies to diffusion of commercially-proven, ESTs and practices.

The GEF-5 Strategy on Technology Transfer endeavors to exert a transformative impact in helping GEF-recipient countries to move along a low-carbon development path through investment in, and market transformation of, ESTs.


Technology transfer has been a major component in most adaptation projects and programs financed under the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). Such projects have supported, inter alia, wetland and/or mangrove restoration, beach nourishment, innovative irrigation systems, drought-resistant crops, climate resilient infrastructure, and high-tech solutions for data logging and alert systems. In addition, many of the adaptation projects have included techniques for the improved management of local practices. As a result, capacity building, public awareness, and support for the mainstreaming of adaptation strategies in local economic development, land-use, and environmental planning have been important components of many projects. Below shows how the GEF-5 adaptation objectives are linked to different stages of technology transfer.