28 April 2022

Fostering Access to and Transfer of Environmental Technologies: Trade-Related Policies and Incentives

Faced with multiple environmental crises and pressing sustainable development priorities, there is broad recognition of the need for a rapid transformation to a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient global economy. To contribute to this work, TESS hosted a roundtable that explored options for international cooperation to foster access to and transfer of environmental technologies through trade-related policies and incentives.

Achieving this transformation and a just transition, particularly for the most vulnerable economies, will require massive scaling up and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies coupled with careful attention to wider sustainable development considerations. Across the world, there are calls for various forms of government intervention to increase technology access, transfer, absorption and adaptation to local circumstances, especially given the urgency of climate mitigation and adaption. While technology transfer has been a recurring topic in international policymaking for several decades, it has gained renewed urgency and policy relevance in light of unprecedented global environmental problems and sustainable development challenges.

The creation of a dedicated Technology Mechanism linked to the UNFCCC, for instance, reflects the importance of technology transfer to achieving rapid decarbonization and climate resilience. There is also renewed interest in how trade and trade policies can support the technology transfer, innovation, and technological development vital to sustainable trade and the economic prospects of developing countries in a green global economy. Alongside long-standing discussions in a range of WTO regular committees, for instance, recent Ministerial Statements on Trade and Environmental Sustainability (cosponsored by 71 WTO members) and on Plastic Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (IDP) (cosponsored by 70 WTO Members) each highlight the relevance of trade and trade policies to promoting access to and uptake of environmental technologies.


Welcome Remarks

  • Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Director, TESS

Overview of Developing Country Priorities and Needs for Accelerated Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies for Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Development.

  • Rajiv Garg, Regional Manager for Africa and Central Asia, UN Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), UNFCCC Technology Mechanism

Click HERE to view Rajiv Garg's presentation.

Experiences from Developing Countries in Promoting Access to Environmentally Sound Technologies and Developing Regional Productive Capacities

  • Faizel Ismail, Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, South Africa

Click HERE to view Faizel Ismail's presentation.

Options for International Cooperation on Trade-Related Policies and Incentives to Foster Access to and Transfer of Environmental Technologies

  • Silvia Weko, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Germany

Click HERE to view Silvia Weko's presentation.


  • Joel Richards, Senior Technical Specialist – Trade, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
  • Nirmalya Syam, Senior Programme Officer, South Centre (tbc)
  • Antony Taubman, Director, Intellectual Property Division of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Open Discussion

Closing Remarks

Fostering Access to and Transfer of Environmental Technologies Through Trade-Related Policies and Incentives

You can view this video of the webinar on environmental technology transfer here.