Negotiating (iphone) Technology On The Way To Durban

5 October 2011

Manjeet Dhakal on the Technology Mechanism

Manjeet Dhakal
Clean Energy Nepal
Program Director


One of my hobbies that I love is to use new and recently developed applications and technologies. On my last birthday, I was blessed with an 'iphone' from my colleague. I was very excited that day; I threw party on the same night when I got my iphone via DHL. Also credit goes to DHL for its service up to my far-flung apartment. And also I am grateful to my friend, that's the nicest thing that anyone's ever done for me. Otherwise, I would have never got chance to use such a wonderful thing, which would have cost almost six months of my personnel expenses in Nepal. As I remember now, I don’t know how that 'full iphone-week' passed; it felt like I was flying-up above Himalayas most of the time. My excitement continued when by the weekend, when my younger sister, studying civil engineering, asked me to find a map of our town on my iphone for her project work. Another hit was when my laureate brother asked me to find the meaning of some familiar Nepalese words, however, either my iphone does not support my language or not I could type on it. The next day I went to a local mobile service center on my town and discussed my problem with them. They tried all the possible solutions they could think of: they connected it with other devices, they installed and uninstalled software, but all of their efforts ruined root and branch.

Now, while having discussions with the friendly delegates here in Panamá, I realize that the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) has become like my friend (who gave me the iphone) and Climate Technology Centers and Network (CTCN) is like the service center in my town. Sometimes when the technology discussion is about service delivery, these institutions also seem like DHL, who did the hard job of delivering my iphone up to my apartment.

On the other side, the Technology Mechanism at Cancun was established to set-up institutions, which will help to protect the vulnerable from climate change and to deploy the money and technologies that developing countries need to plan and build their own sustainable futures. The Technology Executive Committee is foreseen as the policy arm and the Climate Technology Centre and Network as the mechanism’s implementation component. Its overarching goal was to sharpen the focus, step-up the pace, and expand the scope of environmentally-sound technology development and transfer to developing countries in a highly qualitative way.

Whereas, here, in Panama when the parties are tossing about the criteria and host of Climate Technology Center, we should request DHL to apply for it. The service delivery is well appreciated and it has outreached to all parts of world. And the important thing is that it will not charge a flat 10% of it service like some of our home institutions (banks and other sisters of the UNFCCC). Oh, but it may not have a good understanding about what adaptation is and where as it has greatly contributed to mitigating the cause of climate change.   

Then I realize, it's of no use to use those technologies which do not have local applications and applications that are not of your use. Take the example of my iphone; the company has filed more than 200 patent applications related to the technology, which seems to be preventing the over-reach of its own technology. Actually such right should have to retain a public balance in property rights and support its promotion. As decided in Cancun in order to make the Technology Mechanism fully operational in 2012, criteria and host of the Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN) need to be finalized here at Panamá or very soon, so that, after Durban, we can focus on activities related to implementation, and more specifically deployment and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies.    

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