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North-South technology transfer

Resolution 1007 (1993)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 2 July 1993 (44th Sitting) (see Doc. 6866, report of the Committee on Science and Technology, Rapporteur: Mr Roseta; and Doc. 6867, opinion of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, Rapporteur: Mr Tummers). Text adopted by the Assembly on 2 July 1993 (44th Sitting).
1. Technology transfer, which takes many forms, now accounts for a major proportion of trade between industrialised and developing countries. In the interests of the parties involved, it must therefore be subject to some degree of international regulation.
2. The link between technological capacities and economic and social development means that technology transfer is a key element of official development aid. A diversified approach is essential, given the inequalities in national situations and the wide range of nations covered by the concept of "developing countries".
3. The new international context, increasing global economic interdependence and the end of ideological conflicts are focusing attention on the role of international organisations as regards technology transfers, this being an area where they can and should do more. Focusing international co-operation on central and east European countries should not negatively interfere with North-South relations.
4. Much advanced technology is not in the hands of governments, but rather in the possession of individual companies, especially those operating internationally. It therefore becomes vital to ensure that an adequate amount of private foreign investment is directed toward developing countries. In conformity with Assembly Resolution 639 (1976) on multinational corporations, such investment should respect essential principles of economic and social justice, aim at the transfer of technological, economic and managerial know-how and the training of local personnel at all levels, and promote economic and social development.
5. Concerted, multilateral action is the only effective way of guaranteeing the suitability and proper use of transfers, helping to overcome development lag and rescuing countries from bankruptcy, while preventing efforts being wasted or spread around inefficiently; efforts should be directed at the population as a whole and should contribute to social development, and in particular meet the needs of women.
6. The least developed countries desperately need to acquire, apply and master technologies: Africa's development lag, the dangers arising from the poverty in that continent and its proximity to Europe demand that we give it special attention and take appropriate action by defining the areas with the most critical needs and establishing priority objectives.
7. The Assembly therefore calls on member states:
7.1 to adopt, as regards their own actions, rules of conduct which are in keeping with the principles and values advocated by the Assembly in the field of North-South relations;
7.2 to adopt a diversified approach suited to the situation in developing countries and to focus their efforts on the least developed countries, taking account of the differences between rural and urban areas;
7.3 to promote the transfer of knowledge and know-how, and to help rehabilitate or enhance local human resources so as to secure or increase the scientific and technological capacities of the developing countries;
7.4 to promote North-South exchanges of information and particularly access to databanks, indispensable for mastering new technologies and their adaptation to national situations;
7.5 to transfer and disseminate technologies that are beneficial to populations and protect the environment, and always to weigh up the need for transfers in the light of the genuine social and economic interests of the beneficiary country;
7.6 to encourage, on particularly favourable terms, technology transfers in priority areas such as the food, health and energy sectors, so that the countries concerned can achieve self-sufficiency and autonomy in these fields and thus cope with the basic needs of their population;
7.7 to promote transfers tailored to the local capacities and needs of small businesses and agriculture so as to protect them and contribute to their development;
7.8 to co-operate in working out an overall strategy for the controlled export of sensitive technologies and in setting up multilateral co-ordination machinery in order to record and assess transfers towards developing countries;
7.9 to participate actively in the preparation, with a view to subsequent adoption, of an international instrument that lays down common standards and criteria applicable to technology transfers and their supervision, such as the code of conduct envisaged by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), on which work is currently at a standstill;
7.10 to declare Africa a priority action zone and to make full use of the instrument provided by the Council of Europe's North-South Centre in Lisbon, by devoting a quadripartite meeting to science and technology in Africa and, in particular, to the question of technology transfer and development.