Tech transfer talks inch forward; US still holding back on IPRs

Tech transfer talks inch forward; US still holding back on IPRs
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First Published: Thu, Dec 13 2007. 11 15 PM IST

Union minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal
Union minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal
Updated: Thu, Dec 13 2007. 11 15 PM IST
Bali: While the United Nations climate change talks continue to be stuck on differences over emission reduction targets, some progress was made on the issue of transfer of cleaner technologies from developed nations to developing nations.
Union minister for science and technology and earth sciences Kapil Sibal, who is leading the Indian ministerial delegation to the conference, said, “I am very happy the chair of the session acknowledged and agreed with the Indian position on technology transfer. Principle of Doha (Round of negotiations under the World Trade Organization) should be applied, same as what happened with pharmaceuticals.”
Union minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal
In the Doha Round, it was decided to permit technology transfer in the case of HIV drugs, Sibal explained.
The US, however, has argued that it will not be party to any multilateral agreement that requires or forces companies in the US to give away its intellectual property rights (IPRs).
Yve De Boer, the executive secretary to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was more optimistic. “I am definitely more hopeful than I was yesterday. Technology transfer issue has been solved in a small group. Now it will go to the larger group. Maybe I am unfairly hopeful on that, but we expect a positive outcome.”
According to the draft, the Global Environment Facility, UNFCCC’s financial arm, will put together a strategic programme to look at the kinds of technology developing countries need, turn them into programme proposals and blend public and private finance to ensure implementation.
On Wednesday, talks on technology transfer and capacity building in poorer countries fell through because of the US’ stance, which came under severe criticism from the G-77 (a caucus of developing nations) and China, which are united to push through a mechanism on technology transfer and finance.
“US is one of the largest (sources of) FDI (foreign direct investment) in the world. We are massively transferring technology to the whole world. In clean tech, US has a net import of technology. Let there be no doubt that US is engaged in import and export of tech on a massive scale,” said the US delegation spokesperson.
The European Union (EU) has threatened that it will boycott the meeting of major emitters, which is organized by the US, if the US continues to block the goals of setting emission targets. “We are disappointed that at this stage we haven’t heard from the US their exact level of target and engagement. The world is waiting. This is the moment for US to say what their position is. Because of them, the game is still entangled,” said Humberto Rosa, the EU’s lead negotiator at the Bali conference.
The US, while not agreeing to any mandatory emission cuts, has invited all major emitters (and economies) for a series of meetings in a parallel process. The first one will be held in January in Honolulu. “We don’t see the point of the major emitters meeting if a Bali road map for the future doesn’t exist. The major economies meeting is supposed to feed into the Bali process,” added Rosa.
India, however, has maintained that it will go for these meetings. It is also against the draft text of the dialogue right now. Sibal said a complete overhaul of the framework convention is non-negotiable.
Despite growing dissent against the US, it says it hopes for a positive outcome of the conference.
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First Published: Thu, Dec 13 2007. 11 15 PM IST