Progress!

A draft text on technology transfer has been agreed. After desperately gloomy prospects on Tuesday night, when talks broke down over the words “facility” and “programme”, negotiators have managed to settle on a text without brackets. This means none of it is still under dispute.

The text must still be rubber-stamped by ministers, but no problems are foreseen since it has been agreed by officials representing all parties.

This is a milestone on the road to a post-2012 agreement.

Privately, European delegates were jubilant, if surprised at the breakthrough. It was inconceivable that developing countries would come on board a Bali roadmap that did not address technology transfer. The deal also puts industrialised nations on firmer ground for the remaining negotiations.

On the very first day of the Bali conference, the G77 loudly accused the developed world of neglecting its technology transfer commitments. It demanded the subject be discussed not only in a subsidiary body dedicated to technology but also in one dedicated to financing and implementation. This duly happened and it was in the latter committee that discussions stalled on Tuesday night.

The final draft abandons both “facility” and “programme” in favour of “strategic programme”, which lies somewhere between the two I’m told. The term refers to a new entity to be set up under the Global Environment Facility (note the word!) (GEF), dedicated to technology transfer. GEF funds environmental programmes (note the word!) in developing countries.

It is not clear whether funding will come from elsewhere in GEF or from outside.

This “strategic programme” is the technology leveraging facility UN climate chief Yvo de Boer has been talking about. It is not however, the multilateral fund proposed by developing countries I wrote about earlier today. Yet the G77 are reportedly happy – sources say some were under pressure to obtain immediate results here in Bali and this qualifies.

More importantly for the long-term however, is that the draft text takes the developing world’s multilateral fund wish list and agrees to analyse current and potential funding sources with a view to filling gaps. An expert group will do this and must report back by 2010 “with a view to consider the role of new financing mechanisms and tools for scaling up development and transfer of technologies.”

These new tools could be anything from an enhanced carbon market to public-private partnerships.

The expert group is also requested to develop a set of performance indicators to monitor technology transfer implementation, another clear developing country demand.

EU sources said they were particularly happy with the text because it undertakes to review existing funds. Many of these could be better targeted, they say, and in any case the UNFCCC predicts it is private capital rather than public money that will hugely dominate future investment flows into clean energy. Thus it is more important to leverage the private sector than establish new public funds.

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