COP21: How can climate-friendly innovation flourish in developing countries?

For low carbon development to work well, innovation is crucial. Both technological hardware like solar panels and grids, and social and institutional structures, need to change as the world looks towards a lower-carbon future.

At a side event at the COP21 climate conference on Tuesday, Dr Rob Byrne (STEPS Centre/Sussex Energy Group) talked about how innovation could flourish in developing countries.

The UN’s mechanisms could do more to support systems of innovation – not just funding and tech, but relationships and capabilities too – in a way that responds to the needs of poor countries and gives them more say in how innovation happens there.


Other contributions came from Heleen de Coninck (Radboud University) and James Falzon (ECN), with responses from Cosmas Ochieng (African Centre for Technology Studies) and Ambuj Sagar of the Indian Institute of Technology. The event was chaired by Gabriel Blanco, Vice-Chair, Technology Executive Committee (TEC).

Read more about this event

Two reports about the discussion are available:

ACTS media release on the discussion (ACTS website)

IISD ENBOTS meeting report (IISD website)

More on innovation systems

Through the STEPS Centre, Rob Byrne and David Ockwell have written about their idea to establish new roles in developing countries called CRIBS (Climate-Related Innovation System Builders). You can find a blog, briefing and working papers on that here.

Other events at COP21

Friday 4 December

Side event: Climate Relevant Innovation-system Builders (CRIBs): how to strengthen the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism
Climate Generations area, Room 1 at 15.00 – 16.30

Media briefing & reception: “Asia’s Giants: China and India Key to the Climate”
Holiday Inn Paris Gare de l’Est, 5 rue du 8 Mai 1945, at 19.00-21.00

Wednesday 9 December

Side event: Scaling-up investment in clean energy in developing countries
Side events area, Room OR 12 at 16:45 – 18:15

This article is part of our coverage of the COP21 climate change conference.