Increasingly, attention here in Poland is focusing on determining the mechanisms and transfers that will underpin the more contentious issues around targets that have largely been deferred to COP15. Specifically, one of the Bali Road Map groups (focused on long term cooperative action) has been almost exclusively focused on questions about regional and North-South transfer.
In the Plenary session of AWG-LCA that took place on Saturday delegates from parties were invited to give their viewpoints on financial mechanisms for transfer. Bernarditas Muller, the chair of this section of the G77 and China grouping, told delegates that both new and existing technologies need to be transfer to the South, and that the speed of this transfer needs to be accelerated.
As Mr Muller himself said, these are not new claims–in fact they precipitated the development on this AWG last year. However, Saturday’s plenary session also went further to flesh out some details about what the G77 and China maybe asking for in the closed sessions.
For example, in the statement Muller suggested that something needed to be done about the barrier to transfer created by Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). He suggested that one method for this was a more institutionalised transfer framework, where states in the North and indeed the UNFCCC transfered funds for technology, rather than simply leaving it to the private sector and so work in the IPR system.
Such suggestions are unlikely to be agreed upon easily. There are two main issues. Firstly, financial transfer would essentially be an development aid package; with it would come questions about efficiency, such as it would be more difficult to see precisely where money was being used and what technology transfer was taking place. Secondly, centralised transfer would be extremely complex to administer. Would the collection of funds take place through state contribution? How would the funds be distributed among recipients?
Some of these questions are connected to similar debates in the Adaptation Fund (AF)–the session that followed the technology transfer session. However, tech transfer is far more complicated because–unlike the AF–the scale of money being talked about is currently much larger (potentially billions USD) and the scale of the administration would be considerably greater. Further, the role of the private sector even in a publicly-administered financial transfer remain unclear: would developing countries use the money to employ companies? What would companies be asked to do? These questions tends to worry states in the North as they suggest to them that their contribution may have to be higher yet.
Nevertheless, while this looks like a rather bleak discussion with four days to go, it is in fact one of the more likely outcomes of the final week in Poznan, simply because of the volume of discussions taking place on it.