ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
EMERGING ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL:
REGIONAL ECONOMIC COOPERATION
(Item 7 (a) of the provisional agenda)
REPORT ON THE ASIAN AND PACIFIC CENTRE FOR TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY
I. ACTIVITIES OF THE ASIAN AND PACIFIC CENTRE
1. The Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) remained committed to promoting regional cooperation by strengthening technology transfer mechanisms and capabilities to achieve sustainable development in the Asian and Pacific region. The activities of APCTT are still targeted on four priority areas: (a) promotion of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs); (b) promotion of technology information and utilization; (c) strengthening of technology management; and (d) the encouragement of more effective participation of women in the field of technology.
2. During the reporting period, APCTT continued to strengthen its database on ESTs, experts and institutions, and to promote environmentally sound technologies among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the ESCAP region. As SMEs play a significant role in and are pivotal to the economic development of developing countries, such enterprises require special consideration to meet the challenges of globalization. APCTT is, therefore, offering SMEs more integrated support packages that include technology assessment, acquisition, transfer, adaptation and adoption. SMEs have also been assisted in their adoption of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 standards, including eco-labelling, and in cleaner production through waste minimization and energy conservation.
3. The Centre continued to upgrade its technology information and utilization services in two directions; through the enhancement of its in-house database and by the strengthening of its regional networks. The Centre uses diverse information dissemination mechanisms, such as technical periodicals and publications, technology information and transfer networks, partnerships with technology transfer intermediaries worldwide, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, business meetings, direct contacts with entrepreneurs, and the Internet. APCTT has access to a wide range of technology information via its own in-house documentation and external databases as well as other information sources. Cooperation agreements were concluded with more than 1,000 technology brokers, allowing rapid access to a wide variety of technologies in many sectors and from many countries. APCTT facilitated about 3,200 matchmaking activities in 1999. Efficient procedures for the processing of requests and offers and their follow-up were developed. Forty-five per cent of matchmaking activities concerned North-South technology transfers while slightly under 50 per cent represented South-South transfers.
4. The APCTT data bank on technology opportunities, experts and institutions, which is available online on the Internet, currently has 5,000 entries as against 3,500 in 1995. The model sub-network entitled the "International Network for Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies" (INTET), which receives direct and up-to-date information on the problems faced by SMEs in EST transfer, has so far attracted 198 members from the following countries: Bangladesh, Canada, India, Nepal, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The package of services offered includes searches for and matching of business partners, technical consultancy sources, assistance in fund-raising for technology transfer projects and marketing assistance. A national network, INTET (Pakistan) has, to date, attracted 30 members, and more such national networks are expected to come on stream. In addition, there was regular exchange of information among the participating members (Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, the Republic of Korea, China, Malaysia, Viet Nam and Thailand) of the SME-oriented technology information network, Mechanism for Exchange of Technology Information (METI).
5. The periodicals of APCTT continue to play a useful role in the dissemination and promotion of technology information and utilization. The Centre's publications enjoy wide circulation and have a perceptible impact on the target groups in the member countries. About 7,000 copies of the Centre's periodicals, the Asia Pacific Tech Monitor and the Value Added Technology Information Services (VATIS) in the areas of ozone layer protection, waste technology, biotechnology, food processing, and non-conventional energy are distributed in 73 countries. Some of these periodicals are published in collaboration with specialized institutions and are self-financing to a large extent. The publications are exchanged with more than 300 journals of other institutions, thus providing APCTT with access to a wide range of information. In addition, the APCTT compendium on technology offers and business opportunities attracts a wide readership, prompting its translation into several national languages. APCTT reports on workshops, proceedings of seminars and case studies, besides serving as repositories of information, are put to good use as training materials.
6. APCTT has effectively linked technology transfer with financing services for several pilot projects. The Technology Bureau for Small Enterprises (TBSE), which is jointly executed by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and APCTT, is an important pilot exercise which allows APCTT to concentrate on technology transfer and technology-related issues while other activities (such as negotiation support, financing and project structuring advice, and consultancy) are relegated to a partner agency. Another such project which is being implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry of the Government of India, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and SIDBI is entitled, "Strengthening the Technology Bureau for International Industrial Partnership (Investment and Technology Promotion Initiative - ITPI - Phase II)". The project is facilitating the growth and development of small enterprises in selected high priority industrial sectors through the promotion of business partnerships, and by assisting SMEs in addressing their critical market and technological needs for sustained competitiveness through innovation, diversification and the upgrading of manufacturing processes.
7. The APCTT technology management programme remained focused on technological capacity-building and human resources development since the dynamic market situation and technological climate were fostering the emergence of new technologies at a rapid pace. Several national and regional training programmes in specialized fields such as innovation management; technology acquisition and marketing; technology evaluation and pricing; and technology assessment, forecasting and monitoring were organized to strengthen the cooperation of community and enterprise in research and development. APCTT also organized specific technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC) workshops in the areas of food processing, leather, pulp and paper, herbal drugs etc. to promote the transfer and utilization of technologies within and of the region.
8. APCTT continued to give priority attention to women's participation in the field of technology and worked towards the accessibility of technical training, information and technology, particularly, for low-income women. The Centre carried out a range of development activities like the facilitation of technical training and exposure programmes, technology exchanges among women's organizations, and dissemination of technical information material. These activities included the training of trainers in technology dissemination for women, technology sharing events for grass-roots women's groups in food processing; establishment of a database for low-level food-processing technologies; a two-year project on the establishment of a boat-building training centre for fisherwomen; development of a solar fish drier for poor women in coastal areas; and training in technologies for the production of poultry feed from fish refuse. To improve access to credit for technology-minded women entrepreneurs, APCTT collaborated with other multilateral and bilateral agencies to document noteworthy examples of appropriate facilities providing women with micro-credit.
9. To strengthen its institutional framework, APCTT enhanced its networking with ESCAP, other United Nations agencies, and national and international organizations in various areas of concern and by the implementation of joint programmes. Given the growth of the Centre's operations, office space was increased within the existing premises and additional working and exhibition areas have been provided. A request has been made to the Government of India for building an additional floor.
10. To strengthen its financial base, APCTT continued to render fee-based technology transfer services. APCTT has also taken some new initiatives to secure financial support for its activities.
11. APCTT was selected as an implementing agency for a project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) entitled "Support to the subprogramme science and technology entrepreneurship parks (STEPS) and technology business incubators (TBIs)". The duration of the project is three years from January 1999 to December 2001. The project budget is US$ 1,650,000.
12. APCTT implemented three projects funded by UNDP and budgeted at US$ 179,500 under the Support Services for Programme and Policy Development (SPPD). The projects are as follows:
13. The Centre also joined hands with the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India and a non-governmental organization to develop a model technology demonstration programme to promote rural industrialization in specific sectors.
14. In rendering fee-based services, APCTT has conducted studies on market entry strategies for Rationalisierungs-Kuratorium der Deutschen Wirtschaft (RKW), Germany and had undertaken an advisory mission for the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) for the establishment of technology stations in institutions of higher education.
15. With regard to the personnel infrastructure of the Centre, the financial contribution from the Government of Germany is continuing to fund the post of the Director. The post of one professional staff member is financed partly through institutional support and partly through project funds. APCTT also had the services of two associate experts, from the Netherlands and Germany, who were placed at the Centre by United Nations Headquarters in New York. In addition, the Centre has applied for three associate experts from Headquarters and one expert on non-reimbursable loan (NRL) from the Government of Japan in the following areas: environment, waste treatment technologies, women entrepreneurship development and environmental management (hazardous waste management).
16. The Centre used the services of many consultants, resource persons and specialists for specific activities in the reporting period. To upgrade and enhance the skills of the staff of the Centre, the staff were encouraged to attend staff development courses on a regular basis and to receive appropriate job-related training.
17. Following the usual procedures for technical cooperation activities between ESCAP and GTZ, a progress review was carried out at APCTT from 25 January to 5 February 1999 at APCTT in New Delhi, by a team of consultants.
18. Based on the positive assessment of the ongoing project by the review team on the one hand, and on the request of APCTT member countries to strengthen the regional network for technology-related information and services at the intermediary level on the other, the conceptual framework for a new project on the promotion of the technology transfer network for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Asian and Pacific region was designed during a planning workshop at APCTT from 8 to 11 February 1999 with the participation of representatives of national focal points. The project proposal was endorsed and is being supported by the Government of Germany.
II.ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION
19. The Commission may wish to consider the following recommendations with regard to institutional arrangements:
20. The Commission may also wish to consider and endorse the report of the Governing Board, which is contained in the annex to the present report, and to provide guidance on the work of APCTT, particularly with regard to its recommendations.
REPORT OF THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE ASIAN AND PACIFIC CENTRE FOR TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY ON ITS FOURTEENTH SESSION
Kish Island, Islamic Republic of Iran, 24 and 25 November 1999 (1)
I. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CONSIDERATION AND ADOPTION BY THE COMMISSION
1. The APCTT work plan as proposed by the Technical Advisory Committee for 1999-2000 was endorsed by the Governing Board. The following recommendations were made with regard to institutional arrangements:
II. SUMMARY OF THE DELIBERATIONS
2. The Board had before it the following two documents: (a) Report of the activities of the Centre during the period November 1998 to November 1999 (agenda item 4); and (b) Report of the Technical Advisory Committee of APCTT on its fifteenth meeting (agenda item 5).
A. Report of the activities of APCTT in relation to its institutional aspects (November 1998 to November 1999) and presentation of the programme of work
3. Introducing agenda item 4 of the report of the activities of the Centre, the Director mentioned that the document entitled "Report of the activities of APCTT during the period November 1998 to November 1999" would provide a general overview of the Centre's main programme initiatives including the specific activities in the current year.
4. The Director then briefed the delegations about the efforts made to strengthen the institutional framework, the financial base and the personnel infrastructure of APCTT and new initiatives taken, in the light of the recommendations emanating from the ESCAP/GTZ (German Agency for Technical Cooperation) Progress Review and Planning Workshop held early in 1999, to improve the level and scope of its work. The Director of APCTT described those aspects of the planning matrix dealing with the institutional strengthening of APCTT as highlighted below.
5. As in previous years, the Centre continued to receive support and guidance from ESCAP in all administrative, financial and personnel matters. APCTT had worked closely with ESCAP and other United Nations bodies in organizing several joint programmes particularly in the areas of environment, technology management and women entrepreneurship development, to optimize available resources and expertise. Further, the Centre had evolved and implemented several programmes in the thrust areas of the Centre in close cooperation with the national focal points and relevant agencies in member countries.
6. In order to enhance the operational capabilities of the Centre for the implementation of projects and programmes, several modernization measures had been taken: communication facilities were upgraded with state-of-the-art installations, the homepage on the Internet was enlarged to enable online information search, and a fast microwave Internet link was installed. As a result, the Centre was able to expand its outreach, improve its communication with partners and target beneficiaries and provide faster and better services to them.
7. On the financial side, the Centre had received funding support for various projects. The Government of Germany had confirmed support for a new three-year project on the promotion of the technology transfer network for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Asian and Pacific region to commence at the end of 1999. The Government of the Netherlands had provided support for a one-year project in the area of women entrepreneurship development focusing on tropical sericulture. In addition, the Centre had been able to secure financial support from UNDP through the Support Services for Programme and Policy Development (SPPD) for three projects in technology development and transfer related fields. APCTT had also started to implement a three-year UNDP-funded project for the promotion of science and technology entrepreneur parks and technology business incubators. That financial support had enabled the Centre to carry out a wide range of activities. Several other project proposals had been prepared by APCTT and submitted to donors in developed countries for possible funding in 2000.
8. As far as institution-building was concerned, there had been considerable achievement in strengthening the institutional infrastructure of APCTT. The internal organization of the Centre corresponded well to its functions while, at the same time, the comprehensive host agreement with the Government of India provided substantial support for facilities and employment of local staff.
9. With regard to personnel, the post of Director was funded by the Government of Germany. The post of one professional was being partly financed through institutional support and partly through project funds. APCTT had used the services of two associate experts, from the Netherlands and Germany, placed with the Centre by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations in New York, as well as long-term consultants and experts. However if APCTT was to implement its technology transfer activities successfully and meet the imperatives of its work programme, its institutional capacity needed to be commensurate with the programme demands placed on it. Under the new GTZ-funded project, therefore, there was provision to induct experts from the member countries to assist in the Centre's programme of work. Member countries were urged to identify suitable experts who could work at the Centre. The countries were also asked to provide institutional support at the indicative levels agreed to at earlier sessions of the Governing Board as well as to build up the endowment fund, as agreed, as an interest-free loan to the Centre.
10. The Technical Advisory Committee of APCTT at its fifteenth meeting had reviewed the accomplishments and progress of the Centre over the year and had set new milestones for its future growth. Furthermore, the Committee had earmarked new activities that could be undertaken by APCTT to expand and diversify its activities and level of cooperation with the member countries. The focus of work would be in the five priority areas identified in the new project to be funded by the Government of Germany.
11. To facilitate implementation of planned activities within the thrust areas, it was planned that under the new project on promotion of the technology transfer network for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Asian and Pacific region, APCTT would strengthen the role of designated intermediaries and increasingly rely on them to reach specific target groups in its member countries in order to achieve multiplier effects and a more cost-effective utilization of resources, as well as to better involve those intermediaries in the work of APCTT. However, in involving substantive intermediaries in this regard, a more comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system would be needed to measure sufficiently the impacts at intermediary and target group levels in the member countries. The impact of involving intermediaries could be further intensified by focusing on sector-specific and cluster-specific activities, as multiple benefits could be realized more effectively than through individual projects. This would include particularly the proactive identification of the technology needs and the service requirements of industry agglomerations.
B. Report of the Technical Advisory Committee on its fifteenth meeting
12. The fifteenth meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee was held at Kish Island, Islamic Republic of Iran on 22 and 23 November 1999. The meeting was attended by representatives of 13 countries namely Armenia, China, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Representatives of ESCAP also attended the meeting.
13. The Committee had commended the Centre's programmes relating to the promotion of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs), the promotion of technology information and utilization, technology management, and the participation of women in the field of technology. The Committee noted that most of the activities had been carried out according to schedule and the achievements at the operational level were remarkable. This reflected the full engagement of the APCTT team who had coped with an ever increasing workload.
14. It noted with satisfaction, the various initiatives taken by the Centre to facilitate technology flows in the region and serve as a catalytic link between suppliers and users of technology. Further, the Centre's efforts to strengthen its database on ESTs experts and institutions were appreciated as well as the links established with international technology networks and institutions involved in the transfer of ESTs. The Committee found especially noteworthy that the Centre had carried out 38 technology transfer related events (training programmes, regional workshops, exhibitions, seminars and expert group meetings) in 13 countries of the region in cooperation with 54 partner institutions. More than 750 business meetings between prospective technology suppliers and technology seekers were arranged and about 3,500 technology transfer services were provided. The Centre had also organized specific technology upgrading programmes in selected priority sectors to promote regional technologies and strengthen technical cooperation among developing countries. Expert group meetings, reports and specific demonstration programmes were carried out to promote rural industrialization. As far as increased participation of women in the field of technology was concerned, APCTT had successfully organized information exchange and technology transfer between enterprises that were owned or run by women in member countries. The Centre had successfully demonstrated the possibility of linking gender and environmental issues in its work.
15. The Committee had recommended the following special activities, some of them member country specific, for incorporation in the Centre's future work programme:
Technology information and transfer
Environmentally sound technologies
Technology transfer agencies
Technology transfer for women entrepreneurs
16. On the basis of these recommendations, the Centre was presented with some specific directions to meet the growing needs and demands of its members in their quest for technological self-reliance. The Committee urged the member countries to make every effort to assist the Centre to implement the proposed programmes through increased cooperation, enhance coordination and on a cost-sharing basis.
17. The Board deliberated on the recommendations of the Technical Advisory Committee at its fifteenth meeting and endorsed the report.
C. Date and venue of the fifteenth session of the Governing Board
18. The Board expressed appreciation of the offers of the representatives of the Governments of Indonesia and Sri Lanka to consider hosting the fifteenth session of the Governing Board of APCTT in their countries in late November or early December 2000.
D. Other matters
19. Statement by the host country of APCTT. The representative of India made a statement on behalf of his government, the host country of the Centre. His government had been closely associated with the Centre and had supported it since its inception. His country was the largest donor of institutional support to the Centre providing annually US$ 100,000. His government had been happy to assist as well as participate in several programmes organized by the Centre for the benefit of the member countries of the region. He appreciated the continued role of APCTT in organizing programmes and studies on skills development on specific issues of interest to member countries as well as in assisting SMEs in the acquisition, development and utilization of relevant technologies. Those programmes could be continued in collaboration with the relevant agencies in member countries based on their needs.
20. He was glad to note that the Centre had greatly enhanced its activities and had played a pivotal role in various aspects of technology transfer and development. He complimented Mr. J. Bischoff, the Director of the Centre, for his efforts to reorient the activities of APCTT so as to be need-based. The Centre's activities could be strengthened further and national mechanisms could be utilized for the proliferation of its programmes in member countries and also to have a multiplier effect. He urged the members to increase their contributions to the Centre's institutional support to the prescribed levels. Finally, he reiterated his Government's continued support for APCTT.
21. Regional cooperative policy mechanism (RCPM) to promote the transfer of environmentally sound technologies. The first session of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Development as well as the Workshop on a Regional Cooperative Policy Mechanism (RCPM), held in October 1998, had recommended that RCPM could be a useful mechanism to facilitate the transfer of ESTs within the ESCAP region. The RCPM, it was proposed, would be coordinated by APCTT initially until a permanent secretariat could be identified. Discussing this issue, the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran mentioned that his country would be willing to host the permanent secretariat for the RCPM to facilitate the transfer of ESTs within the framework of chapter 34 of Agenda 21 in the ESCAP region.
22. It was pointed out that a final decision on the matter could be made by an appropriate intergovernmental body of ESCAP after more details were provided by the potential host country regarding possible allocation of resources that could be offered to establish and support a secretariat for RCPM. It was suggested that the matter be referred to the Executive Secretary of ESCAP, who, in turn, would refer the matter to an appropriate intergovernmental body of ESCAP.
23. The Governing Board at its fourteenth session expressed appreciation to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and in particular to the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST), the Kish University and the Kish Free Zone Organization (KFZO) for the generous host facilities provided and excellent organizational arrangements made for holding the current session of the Governing Board at Kish Island.
E. Adoption of the report
24. The Board adopted the present report on 25 November 1999.
1 Section III (Organization of the session) does not appear in this annex, which includes only the substantive sections of the report.