Main Issue

Technology transfer plays a critical role in the effective global response to the climate change challenge. Since technology is a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, achieving global reduction of GHGs requires innovation to make current technologies cleaner and climate-resilient. 

The transfer of environmentally sound technologies is embodied in the very fabric of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 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) in 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...

What We Do

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 in this area. These technologies have the potential for significantly improved environmental performance. They include know-how, goods and services, and equipment, as well as organizational and managerial procedures.

The GEF 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 at addressing elevated risks associated with innovation, mitigating the barriers of technology transfer, and piloting promising approaches.

GEF supports technology transfer to developing countries, as they move towards a low-carbon development path, following the following process:

In December 2008, COP14 welcomed the GEF's Strategic Program on Technology Transfer (renaming it the Poznan Strategic Program on Technology Transfer) as a step towards scaling up the level of investment in the transfer of ESTs to developing countries. The GEF has the following roles in the long-term implementation of the Poznan Program:

  • Support for Climate Technology Centers and a Climate Technology Network;
  • Piloting Priority Technology Projects to Foster Innovation and Investments;
  • Private Public Partnership for Tech Transfer;
  • Technology Needs Assessment;
  • GEF as a Catalytic Supporting Institution for Tech Transfer.


The GEF supports projects in the following categories:

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

During the UNFCCC COP18 (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.

The GEF is supporting four regional projects and the Climate Technology Centers and Network through one global project. GEF has invested over $40 million and leveraged over $300 million for these projects, which include: promoting accelerated transfer and scaled-up deployment of CCM technologies through the CTCN; Pilot Asia-Pacific Climate Technology Network and Finance Center; and the Pilot African Climate Technology Finance Center and Network.


Looking Ahead

Guidance from the UNFCC COP23 encouraged the GEF to further enhance engagement with the private sector and invited the GEF to support developing countries in piloting priority technology projects to foster innovation and investment. Prior guidance also encouraged GEF to align GEF-7 programming with priorities identified in nationally determined contributions (NDC) and to continue to promote synergies across focal areas. In view of the GEF’s comparative advantage in fostering innovative project designs, its proven track record of support for technology transfer, and its ability to attract private sector co-financing, and pursuing complementarity with the Green Climate Fund, the GEF-7 Climate Change Focal Area Strategy is focused on promoting innovation and technology transfer for sustainable energy breakthroughs as one of its key objectives.

In light of the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and consistent with COP guidance, GEF-7 will build on its unique capacity to integrate multi-focal area priorities across the multilateral environmental agreements to deliver greater global environmental benefits. GEF-7 will also build on the GEF’s proven track record to support technology transfer, pilot, and demonstrate innovative business models and technologies, and catalyze climate finance.