By Tirthankar Mandal
Technology is one of the rare areas where in the potential to arrive at a substantial agreement here in Durban. The task on the table was to operationalise the Technology Mechanism by 2012. The components of the technology mechanism consist of establishing a Climate technology Centre and Network (CTCN), and Technology Executive Committee (TEC). During the beginning of the year after Cancun, the work programme of the Mechanism was supposed to be established by 2012, and the TEC is to be decided at Durban.
If we classify the technology group work, we will identify three strands of issues to be addressed. First, the CTC and the RFP for the CTC host, secondly the reporting line between the CTCN and TEC, finally the governance of the CTC. In Durban, the Parties get together to discuss about the RFP first and then address the issues of governance and the reporting lines between the TEC and the CTC. The proposals that came out in Panama were focused on the RFP and less on the governance structure that was proposed by the G77 and China. In Durban, unfortunately, the focus was mostly on the RFP process completely ignoring the necessacity of the discussion on the governance and linkages issues. The discussion on governance and linkages and reporting are equally important to have an efficient and robust technology mechanism.
The governance issues would determine the way technology mechanism functions and also keeps the balance of the adaptation and mitigation technology. However, focusing mostly on the issues of the RFP would therefore mean that we would leave governance and reporting structure to be decided in future. The G77 and China have been very categorical on the fact that the governance issue has to be resolved because once we have the governance issue resolved, we would be able to resolve the accountability and guidance of the mechanism from the COP. It was clear that the TEC is not going to get an oversight role for the Mechanism. In that regard, the role of the proposed Board /Steering committee of the CTC has become critical. The current approach is definitely a Plan B for the mechanism, where the Parties are probably coming together to agree on the Board/Steering Committee arrangements which will deal with the accountability for the mechanism. The guidance would be coming from the Cop directly to the CTC and the Steering committee/Board would act under the guidance. Even with this arrangement, the Umbrella group is pushing for a loose reporting structure with the COP. This would extremely undermine the objective with which the Mechanism has been conceived.
Even if we have some progress in the Mechanism discussion, we would be not in a position to get a fully functional Mechanism. There are few elements which need to be ensured during the work of the next one year. First the Mechanism needs to come up with clear initial capitalization plan of the Mechanism, the balance between the adaptation and mitigation technologies, and if there is a non-availability, then there has to be arrangements which will ensure the balance is maintained. Given the fact that technology negotiations are pretty much progressed in relation to the other the threat to move it slowly is cropping up and in days to come there is potential that it might slow down substantially as the other linked discussion on finance and MRV are not moving well. Technology is an important element of the overall support and operationalisation mechanism under the BAP. Parties should ensure that we progress substantially in this regard and establish a robust system on technology cooperation.