Intellectual Property Rights With Pachauri

11/12/2013 02:24 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014


In an interview with The Verb, Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, director general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), has called for greater collaboration between organisations from all over the world in the development of new technologies to tackle the challenge of climate change. Dr Pachauri also called for developing countries to take on more responsibility for resolving the challenges posed by intellectual property rights (IPR) when it comes to technology transfer.

An outcome of last years UN climate change conference was the appointment of a consortium lead by the UN Environment Programme as host of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). TERI will serve as a member of the UNEP lead consortium.

The CTCN has been created under the UN climate change framework to act as a one-stop-shop for the research and development of climate friendly technologies.

Dr Pachauri, who also serves as the chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), expects to draw from TERI's experience as both a creator of new technologies as well as a provider of policy insight and institutional support.

"TERI is an organisation of over 1,200 people now, we are working on a whole range of issues right from the development of technologies through to policy analysis.

"I think when you talk about technologies, one shouldn't only look at the hardware aspects, its important for us to look at some of the policy aspects of how technology can be developed and disseminated. I think TERI has a range of expertise, by which I think we can contribute to the working of the CTCN."

Dr Pachauri hopes that TERI can take a leading role in helping to propagate climate friendly technologies in developing countries through leading by example.

"We ourselves are developing a number of technologies. Just to give you a few examples, we are working with the Australian CSIRO in developing cooling technologies that would use renewable energy technologies on a decentralised basis." Dr Pachauri told The Verb.

"This could be a game changer, in a number of developing countries, farmers either have to sell their produce at existing prices, which may not be the very best they can get, or they have to let a lot of their produce to perish because there is no cold chains or cold storage. "

"This would bring about a substantial increase in the income for farmers and it would also prevent a lot of wastage that also takes place, particularly with fruits and vegetables that you really can't store."

Technology transfer is often portrayed in the context of climate change negotiations as a one-way process of transferring technologies out of developed countries and into developing countries. Dr Pachauri believed that this was due to a misunderstanding of the approach needed in creating technologies for the developing world, calling for greater international collaboration between innovators.

"I think that [technology transfer as a one-way process] can be a very misleading view, because you know you really can't paradrop technologies from the developed world into developing countries. " Dr Pachauri stated.

"Even if the essential technology has been developed in a developed country, it would need to be customised to conditions, and that can only be done if you have a full partnership with local organisations."

"I think it's sort of become a slogan that technology transfer from the developed to the developing world has to be facilitated, but in fact what we need is collaborative development of technologies. Where there is an equal involvement on the part of organisations in the developing countries."

One of the most contentious negotiating issues for technology transfer last year was that of IPR. Several developing countries claimed that strict IPR licensing rules act as a barrier to fluid technology transfer. Dr Pachauri disagreed, saying it was already within the power of organisations within developing countries to overcome this challenge.

"The WTO has clearly laid down very clear principles on issues of intellectual property right and I think if you have clearly specified contractual terms there really shouldn't be any room for dispute on this subject."

"This subject has to be dealt with upfront in any contractual arrangement involving technology. I think the principles and legal provisions for ensuring that you have a fair and equitable arrangement for development or transfer of technologies means that there should not be any serious problems on that account."

By Michael Mazengarb, photo by Simon Donner. For more stories, please visit The Verb.