Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts home page

About us | Contact us | Publications

header imagesheader imagesheader images

Publications archive - International Activities and Commitments


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Australia's report to the UNCSD - 1996

Implementation of Agenda 21
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1996
ISBN 0 6422 4868 0

Technology transfer

Chapter 34 of Agenda 21

Since the adoption of Agenda 21, Australia has put in place institutional arrangements to facilitate the development and transfer of environmentally sound technologies (EST), cooperation and capacity-building. This has involved creating an 'enabling' and supportive environment, based on economic and fiscal incentives, to encourage private sector investment in ESTs. In addition, Australia has sought to provide access to ESTs through technology and cooperation programs whilst also promoting the development of information networks which link national, sub-regional and international systems.

Government, the private sector and the transfer of ESTs

Australia recognises the key role played by the private sector in the development, transfer and diffusion of ESTs, and the concomitant increase in research and development that is currently taking place. The scope and speed of these developments has been fostered by economic and fiscal incentives which include:

The promotion, facilitation and financing, where appropriate, of access to and transfer of ESTs and the corresponding know-how should be needs driven and sensitive to the social, cultural, economic and environmental conditions of the recipient country.

An important mechanism for technology transfer through Australia's development cooperation program has been the Development Import Finance Facility (DIFF). A special Green DIFF component of the scheme was announced in the 1994-95 budget, providing opportunities for Australian businesses to supply developmentally important goods and services. Under Green DIFF, projects are undertaken in areas such as sustainable land, water and waste management, pollution control and energy efficiency including clean coal technology and considerable support for activities which introduce renewable energy technologies, particularly solar. In the past, clean production projects funded under DIFF have included the manufacturing of CFC-free refrigeration compressors, introduction of energy efficient kilns and coal gasification projects.

Another example of Australia's commitment to sustainable development through broad-based economic growth, can be found in the Private Sector Linkages Program (PSLP). This program encourages economic growth and technology transfer in the Asia region by linking Australian enterprises with similar enterprises in developing countries. Under the funding arrangements of the PSLP, which commenced in early 1993, up to A$250 000 is provided on a cost-sharing basis to assist Australian companies to work with market-oriented developing country counterparts, through the funding of pre-investment feasibility studies and short-term training, secondments and work attachments.

The Australian Government sees the Environmental Cooperation with Asia Program (ECAP) as a key vehicle for the promotion of technology transfer. ECAP seeks to strengthen commercially based environmental relations in the region by enhancing the awareness in Asia of Australian environmental management expertise. The program aims to enhance Australia's share in the growing Asian market in environmental technologies, as well as contribute to stronger environmental management in partner countries through measures aimed at developing markets for Australian environmental goods and services. To meet these objectives ECAP has funded activities including trade missions, workshops, training, capacity building and feasibility studies.

Australia will continue to work with the private sector to promote sustainable development. Other initiatives, such as the use of build-operate-transfer (BOT) arrangements, and a well developed system for the protection of intellectual property rights, will strengthen the links between private sector research and development, and the transfer of ESTs to the developing world.

The Australian Government also supports the expanding role of non-government organisations (NGOs) in technology transfer from donor to recipient countries. NGOs such as APACE (Appropriate Technology for Community and Environment Inc) are engaged in providing access to, and developing Indigenous capacity for, appropriate technologies.

Activities to promote the transfer of ESTs

Australia , through its development cooperation program, facilitates the transfer of ESTs to developing countries. Examples of projects at the bilateral level include the following.

Australia considers that establishing closer institutional links to promote technology transfers is an essential first step in creating sustainable production and the requisite capacity to manage these technologies. To this end, Australia contributes to the transfer of ESTs through multilateral as well as bilateral channels. This includes contributions to the Global Environment Fund (A$42.8 million for the period July 1994 to June 1997), the Montreal Protocol (to which Australia will contribute A$10 million over three years, from 1994-96) and the United Nations Development Program (A$17.3 million for the period 1994-95).

In line with Australia's commitment to the South Pacific, contributions have been made to the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), and to funding a draft code of conduct for the sustainable logging of indigenous forests as part of the 1994 South Pacific Forum.

Australia's commitment to EST transfer is further evinced through the funding of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), international research centres, and institutions such as the ASEAN Australian Economic Cooperation Program (AAECP). Through these programs Australia is able to promote research and technology transfer in such key areas as science and technology and sustainable agriculture. ACIAR recently supported research for a socio-economic evaluation of native forest in Vanuatu leading to that Government's declaration of the first nature protection reserve on the island of Erromango in May 1995. Phase III of the AAECP (1994-95 - 1997-98) has special significance for technology transfer with three of the six projects looking expressly at this issue. These projects are: the Waste Water Treatment Technology Transfer and Cleaner Production Demonstration Project; and the Environmentally-Sound Energy Production and Waste Disposal from Biomass/Wastes Supplanted by Fossil Fuels project.

Human resource development continues to be a key element in the achievement of sustainable development and, as such, remains an important priority in Australia's development cooperation program: seventeen per cent of the total program is allocated to the education sector. This includes tertiary scholarships which enable over 6000 overseas students to study in Australia at any one time.

Australian NGOs are also an integral part of technological transfer and capacity-building. NGOs undertake training and capacity-building activities as part of their programs in developing countries, including in the area of ecologically sustainable agriculture. For example, the Development Advice and Training Unit of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid was contracted through the development cooperation program to undertake training courses for staff of the African National Congress in financial management and project planning, monitoring and evaluation.

Exchange of information on ESTs

Australia recognises the need to facilitate the exchange of information on ESTs by linking national, sub-regional and international systems. Australia has developed an information network on its environment management capabilities. This network, the National Environment Industries Database, aims to deliver, throughout Australia and its trading partners, information on technologies and skills currently available in Australia to solve environmental problems. The network is wide-ranging, including information on technologies, environmental education and training, legal services, research and development, government capability and consulting services. The network will be promoted to, and linked in where possible, with other international databases.

Research organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) also promote collaboration between Australia and developing countries. For example:

AusAID has also prepared country environmental profiles which outline the countries' main environmental issues in the context of ecologically sustainable development and provide an overview of domestic environmental situations and identify areas in which Australia has relevant expertise, particularly in relation to technology transfers. To date profiles for Papua New Guinea and Indonesia have been published. Profiles for China and Laos will be released in early 1996.