Overview

The Technology website is a source for credible information on existing and emerging issues in the area of technology and environment. It contains information on UN Environment's latest technology tools, projects, initiatives and activities, which all those active in the field of technology will find interest.

What is Technology?

Technology includes the equipment, knowledge and skills needed to perform a particular activity.  It includes both ‘soft technologies’ such as information, research, training, and capacity-building, and ‘hard’ technologies such as equipment.

Environmentally Sound Technologies are those technologies that from a life cycle perspective protect the environment, are less polluting, use resources in a sustainable manner, recycle more of their wastes and products, and handle all residual wastes in a more environmentally acceptable way than the technologies for which they are substitutes.

Technology Transfer is the broad set of processes covering the flows of know-how, experience and equipment amongst different stakeholders, including governments, private sector entities, financial institutions, NGOs, and research and educational institutions.  It comprises the process of learning to understand, utilize and replicate the technology, including the capacity to choose it and adapt it to local conditions and to integrate it with indigenous technologies.

Source: Agenda 21, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer`

Importance of Technology

Technology has greatly shaped society, the economy and the environment. Technology has caused many environmental and social problems. Yet technology is key to addressing many problems of environmental degradation, climate change, food scarcity, waste management, energy security, education and health. For example, technologies used for treating waste help solve environmental problems whereas refrigeration and air-conditioning systems that use ozone-depleting refrigerants have huge environmental impacts associated with their use. How fast human society meets these and other challenges depends in large part on the pace and scale at which good technology displaces inferior technology in different global contexts.

Technology development, deployment, transfer and diffusion is a complex process.However, Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs) need to be compatible with development goals and any national environmental, socio-economic, and cultural priorities. Several Multilateral Environmental Agreements(MEAs), intergovernmental decisions and the recent 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development stress the importance of support mechanisms for successful technology transfer.  

Technology Services at UN Environment

Technology services at UN Environment occur at global, national, regional and subregional levels. Most of the activities related to Technology include providing information, developing and applying tools and assessment methodologies, building capacity to make wise technology choices, strengthening institutions, creating and coordinating technology based initiatives (including the private sector), supporting Technology Needs Assessments as a UNFCCC enabling activity, and facilitating access to finance for new technologies.