Goals and instruments of environmental-technology transfer
Both Agenda 21 and the Kyoto Protocol ascribe a key role to environmental technology transfer when it comes to tackling global environmental problems. Technology transfer, which occurs both in Germany and abroad, involves not only the transfer of technical processes, products and services, but also the transfer of knowledge concerning technical and organizational solutions in the field of environmental protection.
Many different environmental policy measures have already been established that promote capacity building, in the broadest sense of the term. Such measures include, in Germany, the Federal Environment Ministry's Advisory Assistance Programme, and in the EU so called administrative partnerships: twinning, the TAIEX study abroad program, and the INTERREG program. All such measures seek to enable their foreign project partners to face up to the challenges of environmental protection. Further information on UBA sponsored projects of this nature is available from the project data database of the Advisory Assistance Programme.
The UBA – a valuable source of information on environmental technology transfer
Apart from the UBA’s commitment to the aforementioned programs, we also provide information on environmental technology transfer online and through other electronic media. One example of this is our Cleaner Production Germany (CPG) – das Informationsportal zum Umwelttechnologietransfer website, which for more than a decade has been providing information, in both German and English, on government funded best practice measures and research findings that are intended to serve as positive examples and spur further efforts. The CPG is supported by a program known as Forschungsinitiative für nachhaltige Entwicklung (Research initiative for sustainable development) via funding from the Ministry of Education and Research (Ministerium für Bildung und Forschung).
In the field of waste-technology transfer, a CD-ROM titled Best Practice Municipal Waste Management/Bewährte Verfahren zur kommunalen Abfallbewirtschaftung (in German, English, Russian and French) describes proven municipal waste management methods and contains structured technical-data sheets with information about EU laws, waste management principles and practices. Of particular value to non-Germans are the links on the CD to German technology companies. To download specific technical-data sheets or order the entire CD-ROM, contact Ralf Menzel (see contact information box; only one CD-ROM per user, as supplies are limited). The entirety of the information from the CD-ROM can be also be downloaded under “Documents.”
For Polish users, this information has now been updated and optimized via a Polish translation, which enables Polish municipal officials to obtain information concerning German best practices in the field of waste management. An eBook version of this resource can also be downloaded from the Advisory Assistance Programme database.
Visualisierung von abfallwirtschaftlichen Best Practice-Beispielen (“Visualization of examples of best practices in the field of waste management”)
Technology transfer cannot be efficient unless it is accompanied by efficient knowledge management – specifically through better coordination and synergy on the part of those concerned. For poor communication and a lack of transparency result in a situation where many similar projects are planned and executed in isolation from each other. What is needed here is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary database containing information about past, current and planned projects and measures. Such a database should document project objectives and outcomes, and should be available to experts and to countries that are on the receiving end of technology transfer, so as to allow for networking, coordination and needs-based objective setting for projects in this field. Against this backdrop, the think tank known as bifa Umweltinstitut has developed, on behalf of the UBA, a map based Internet platform which aims to share information on public-sector and private-sector projects in the field of waste management.
By integrating such information into a geographical information system (GIS), we seek to achieve two objectives:
- To promote synergies and cooperation between public- and private-sector actors by making German activities more transparent;
- To give decision-makers from all over the world the opportunity to learn about the international expertise of German companies in a fast and uncomplicated way.
German institutions and companies are invited to publish waste management projects they have successfully carried out abroad on the new UBA platform.
- Public-sector actors (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)/GIZ, universities, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Federal Environment Agency, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, etc. are requested to use the questionnaire for public institutions.
- Private-sector companies are requested to use the questionnaire for companies.