NGO Documents for the Earth Summit, 1992
Non-Governmental Organization Alternative Treaties
at the '92 Global Forum
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Treaty 8. Treaty on a Technology Bank Solidarity System for Technological
1. The concept of development based on exploitation of natural resources has resulted
in irresponsible and unrestricted exploitation of human beings, land, water and other
resources through the process of industrialization and modernization during the last two
centuries creating unacceptable levels of long term damage. This has resulted in large
scale poverty, deprivation and non-access to the majority of the world's population, which
essentially lives in the third world countries. Technology seems to be at the core of this
2. Present technology is environmentally non-sustainable and culturally insensitive and
hence does not incorporate the creativity of the third world population. In addition, this
technology is expensive and non-accessible within the political, economic and cultural
conditions of the third world to the majority of the population, thereby creating the
problem of balance of payments on the one hand and further marginalization of the poor on
the other. The technology also has other non-acceptable characteristics, namely high
levels of energy requirements and problems of waste management.
3. The group therefore endorses technology which is:
a. pragmatic (within the available expertise, human resources)
b. accessible (easily adaptable and financially within reach)
c. culturally, socially compatible
d. small-scale in its operation
e. autonomous, self-reliant
f. sustainable in the context of local resources
g. reliant on lower levels of energy consumption
h. producing non-toxic, bio-degradable waste
And agrees to create a Technology Bank.
4. The Technology Bank must:
a. document not only information on technology but also experiences from local
communities which will be assessed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in an
independent, autonomous and democratic fashion
b. have a multi-disciplinary team to define methods of organizing, storing and
5. This proposal is conceived as a new way to make use of the huge wealth of
technological, social, human and cultural experience that is available throughout the
world and it is intended to give third world countries an advantage in order to face the
challenges of the fight against poverty. The proposal to share technology is base on an
integrated approach to socio-cultural and technological dimensions, and provides a
methodology for evaluation which is not strictly limited to technological aspects.
6. The system will give effective support to the South's technology and knowledge, as
well as to social innovation developed in local communities, and will also accept every
Northern technology which is based on the criteria that have been previously mentioned
(social approbation, low costs, availability, accessibility, respect for the environment).
7. The system will stimulate the exchange of information and data, but it will be
necessary to go further and make available experience, knowledge, methodologies, opinion
and practical advice between local communities and people with similar motivations and
claims. The vehicle for this exchange will vary from personal contact to electronic
exchange. It may be a medium term process, and not only a short term operation.
8. The system will include communication methods that will respect cultural diversity
of values, norms and knowledge in order to ensure a genuine transfer. The methods which
will be applied will not be limited to 'scientific' concepts, and will be able to be used
in traditional methods of communication and in popular innovation.
Operation Of The Bank
9. The technology bank, or solidarity system of technology exchange, will be
constituted on the basis of offers of technology which will be deposited in the bank in
order to be shared with other groups and local communities. The relationships are founded
upon reciprocity, solidarity and equality. Every group contributing cultural,
technological and social knowledge has the right to receive similar information as needed
and if available in the bank.
10. The bank will approve a code of ethics among its users in order to protect
knowledge and experiences which are deposited. The protection will be founded upon
identification of the authors or contributors, mutual commitments and solidarity to avoid
the appropriation by individual or commercial interest or actions that would reduce the
solidarity approach of the exchange.
11. The bank will establish forms of financial support in order to ensure the transfer
process between local communities.
12. The bank will identify offers of technology which will reply to specific needs as
required by its users.
13. The transfer process will be flexible and will include different steps according to
the needs of the users. Some of them are suggested in the following list:
a. general information about validated and systematized experience, with scientific,
technological, economic, social and cultural dimensions
b. social and technical advising
c. education and training programs
d. technical training
e. socio-cultural research about local approaches to the world, values, beliefs and
codes used in the production of knowledge
f. social, economic and technical viability studies
g. adaptation of techniques
h. environmental impact studies
i. education on sustainable development
j. identification of financial sources and granting endorsements
l. definition and protection of rights of users
m. upholding traditional technologies, nonscientific methods and indigenous knowledge.
14. The bank will define a follow-up and evaluation system. It will not be solely
founded on monetary and technical criteria, but will also include social and cultural
criteria, on the basis of integrated methodology of selection and transfer of information.
15. The bank will network with other existing systems and similar networks that share
the same objectives. It will try to avoid duplicating functions, to improve its efficiency
and to strengthen the links between its users.
16. We the signatories of this treaty commit ourselves and our resources to contribute
to this Technology Bank. We will abide by the principles of self determination,
reciprocity and equity and will work for the protection of rights against commercial
exploitation of the Technology Bank resources.
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