|Industrial Metabolism: Restructuring for Sustainable Development (UNU, 1994, 376 pages)|
|Part 3: Further implications|
|13. Transfer of clean(er) technologies to developing countries|
The following, to my mind, are the crucial elements of endogenous capacitybuilding that facilitate the move from concept to reality:
1. Provision of a favourable policy climate, based on equity concerns and on participatory decision-making; stakeholders' dialogues will help people focus on opportunities for market stimulation and public intervention regarding clean(er) technologies and products.
2. Generation of portfolios of prioritized initiatives on clean(er) technologies, to guide programmes and projects in focused niches.
3. Domestic and international research partnerships to overcome critical mass limitations.
4. Provision of basic education, including environmental education; this should include emphasis on the education of women.
The implementation of these crucial elements requires domestic resources, reallocated to promote the priorities agreed upon, as well as newly conceived international cooperation schemes in support of clean(er) technology transfer. While this is an ongoing process in most countries, history suggests that linkages are missing between science and technology initiatives and the mainstream of socioeconomic activities - that there has not been an adequate consensus among the relevant stakeholders, and that equity has often been neglected.
Thus, technology assessment must be expanded to encompass the industrial metabolism concept in its methodologies. It should constitute a basic approach for the future regarding sourcing, developing, adapting and evaluating technologies (Trindade, 1991). After all, the environment is fast becoming an important source of business opportunities. Gustav Berle's The Green Entrepreneur (1991) could be a useful primer, with a wealth of cases that illustrate the fundamental role of private initiative in converting sustainable development into concrete business propositions. Although it concentrates on the United States, it could inspire entrepreneurs in the developing countries as well.
Governments are stakeholders with special responsibilities. Sometimes they are representative of the population, often they are not. The current wave of demands for participatory, transparent, societal decision-making that is sweeping all societies on earth offers an ideal opportunity for governments to play a more constructive role in building up, among all relevant stakeholders, the consensus that is necessary for sustainable development. The resource demands raised by environmental concerns compound, of course, the debt burden of the developing countries, and therefore call for new concepts in international cooperation. It is thus expected that more open and participatory decision-making will enhance equity, both intranational and international, in future development strategies.