ArkFab Innovation Foundation
Leveraging the Power of Crowds and Commons to Provide Access to SustainableTechnologies
Liam Rattray, School of Public Policy
1.0 The Problem
We now live in a complex world. Over the past 200 years globalization hasincreased our interconnectedness while industrialization has increased our inter-dependencies. The global division of labor between and within nations has createda diversity of economic and social roles for humanity never before seen and bycompelling us to leave our natural habitats the city now claims the majority of
. Humans and the environments we fundamentally rely on for oursurvival are now struggling to keep up and adapt to the difficult implications of these changes.Sustainable technologies offer an opportunity to aid the transition towardsmore resilient communities but physical hardware alone is not sufficient. Successfuladoption, operation and maintenance of sustainable technologies in at-riskcommunities requires both the physical hardware and the local competences of individual and social capacity, knowledge and know-how.
Providing thesecommunities economic and social access to the technologies they need to improvetheir resilience is arguably the most critical problem in the field of sustainabledevelopment. We must renovate or establish organizations that better coordinateand leverage the innovative, entrepreneurial and adaptive power of all individualsespecially those individuals who are most at risk.
1.1 Sustainable Technology Gridlock
In 2007 the problem of sustainable technology gridlock was brought toworldwide attention at the United Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange (UNFCCC) Congress of Parties 13 (COP13) in Bali, Indonesia. This impasse isone of many that must be resolved for a bipartisan international climate treaty to besigned. There are serious disagreements over the role of intellectual property inproviding access to sustainable technologies between developing nations whoargue that intellectual property regimes are a barrier to sustainable technologyimplementation and OECD nations, such as the USA, who maintain that weakintellectual property regimes in major developing countries are the main barrier tothe export of sustainable technologies.
However, neither side is incorrect becausethe current intellectual property regime which guarantees monopoly on sustainabletechnologies acts both as a driver, by mitigating risk for development firms, andbarrier, by generating high transaction costs, to sustainable technology diffusionand adoption in different regulatory contexts. For many developing countries anddeprived communities the World Trade Organization administered Agreement on
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Bridges Tradeand Biological Resources News Digest