Climate Change, Technology Transfer and IPRs: Issues, Options and Challenges on the way to Cancun

Geneva Roundtable Series on Climate Change, Trade, and Development

13th July 2010

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Enhanced action on the development and transfer of technology is a key priority of global climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The creation of a Technology Mechanism to facilitate access to “affordable and appropriate technologies by developing countries for enhanced action on adaptation and mitigation” is envisaged in these negotiations. The Copenhagen Accord also includes an agreement to establish such a mechanism indicating that it should be “guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities”.

While the current negotiating text in the UNFCCC discussions includes provisions dealing with intellectual property rights (IPRs), all such provisions remain bracketed, reflecting the polarisation that has characterised the debate on intellectual property and climate change, particularly since the Bali meeting in 2007.

In this context, the roundtable will provide an overview of the range of issues and options in relation to climate change, technology transfer and IPRs which have been discussed in the climate change negotiations, as well as implications for the future Technology Mechanism.

The main findings of the joint project by UNEP, the European Patent Office (EPO) and ICTSD around patent ownership and licensing practices in the area of clean technologies will be presented. There will also be a demonstration of the new classification for clean energy patents developed by EPO.

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