Climate technology transfer and the Sustainable Development Goals

Following the 2015 Paris Agreement, a global effort to simultaneously address climate change and achieve sustainable development goals, the Technology Mechanism Initiative (TMI) was established to facilitate technology transfer. Below is a summary of a study by Kim et al. (2023) in which they reviewed project documents of the organization under TMI, Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), identify the targeted SDGs using sectoral classification, examine the current national SDG statuses of participating countries and analyzed the general status of climate technology implementation.  

Climate technology aims to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change to mitigate greenhouse gases (GHG). Although the Kyoto protocol initiated GHG emission trading using market-based mechanisms, it lacked the implementation of essential climate technologies relevant for GHG reduction in developing countries. Climate technologies contribute to implementation of climate-related actions and other environment-related challenges, such as poverty, hunger, and water shortages, in developing countries. Technology transfer includes all climate actions needed to mitigate and adapt climate change shared between and among countries. Climate technology transfer has been gaining more emphasis following the foundation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Furthermore, TMI established two separate organizations with distinctive management systems to enhance policy-related issues and their implementation.  While the Technology Executive Committee, addresses the policy component, the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) focuses on  addressing the implementation through the international development of climate technology, dissemination, and transfer to developing countries. Providing the need for technical assistance (TA) service in climate technology transfer is one of its core tasks.  The figure below shows the number of technical assistance (TA) projects submitted per year (a), their distribution among climate adaptation, mitigation, and cross-cutting issues (b), their status (c), the number of nominated sustainable development goals in TA project documents (d).  

Figure: General information summary of submitted Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) technical assistance (TA) project documents. (a) Annual TA project document submissions; the number of TA project documents’ (b) objectives (adaptation, mitigation, and cross-cutting) and (c) phases (design, review, implementation, and completed); and (d) the number of nominated sustainable development goals (SDG) in TA project documents. Source: Kim et al. (2023).  

Developing countries submit their technology transfer request to the CTCN, and CTCN facilitates the transfer from a network member for the requested climate technology. This enables developing countries to benefit from an expanded application of available climate technologies for their adaptation and mitigation efforts. Although the technical assistance on climate technology transfers that CTCN provides is primarily for climate change, relevant to SDG 13, SDGs including SDG 2, SDG 6, and SDG 7, are indirectly connected to climate change. Therefore, other SDGs also benefit from climate technology transfer.  The figure below shows annual changes in the portion of nominated sustainable development goals (SDG) and project objectives in CTCN technical assistance (TA) documents. 

Figure: Annual changes in the portion of nominated sustainable development goals (SDG) and project objectives in Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) technical assistance (TA) documents. Source: Kim et al. (2023).  

  

Figure: Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) status of countries using average SDG scores from Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) technical assistance (TA) project documents categorized by relative income level. Source: Kim et al. (2023). 

Reference: 

Kim, W., Song, C., Lee, S. K., Choi, G., Yang, R., Bak, I., & Lee, W. K. (2023). A way forward for climate technology transfer and sustainable development goals. Environmental Science & Policy, 142, 29-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2023.01.009