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The Treaties - 8 - Treaty on a Technology Bank Solidarity System for Technological Exchange


Introduction

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 process.

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:

  1. pragmatic (within the available expertise, human resources)
  2. accessible (easily adaptable and financially within reach)
  3. culturally, socially compatible
  4. small-scale in its operation
  5. autonomous, self-reliant
  6. sustainable in the context of local resources
  7. reliant on lower levels of energy consumption
  8. producing non-toxic, bio-degradable waste

And agrees to create a Technology Bank.

4. The Technology Bank must:

  1. 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
  2. have a multi-disciplinary team to define methods of organizing, storing and disseminating information.

Basic Principles

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:

  1. general information about validated and systematized experience, with scientific, technological, economic, social and cultural dimensions
  2. social and technical advising
  3. education and training programs
  4. technical training
  5. socio-cultural research about local approaches to the world, values, beliefs and codes used in the production of knowledge
  6. social, economic and technical viability studies
  7. adaptation of techniques
  8. environmental impact studies
  9. education on sustainable development
  10. identification of financial sources and granting endorsements
  11. marketing
  12. definition and protection of rights of users
  13. 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.

Commitment

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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