Technology transfer: enabling innovation and technology development in the Global Tropics

By Patrick Clapp

Patrick attended the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has facilitated the exchange of mitigation and adaptation technologies to varying degrees of success. The negotiating Parties of a new universal agreement under the UNFCCC intend to strengthen technology transfer under the international agreement to achieve mitigation and adaptation goals. This paper assesses the current mechanisms, some fundamental political stalemates and barriers to effective technology transfer, before discussing potential for improvement of current systems, such as the technology needs assessments (TNAs) and the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), as well recommends some novel approaches to enhance technology transfer under the Paris climate agreement.

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Can academic health science centres drive translational research to meet health needs in low-income countries?

By Alex Edelman

Alex attended the 2015 World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meetings in Peru. 


Public investment in health and medical research is dominated by high-income countries and their health needs. Academic health science centres (AHSCs) are structured to bridge research translation gaps to improve health for their patient populations, and many are developing internal structures to drive and enable research targeted to improving health for populations further afield. An exploratory analysis of three case studies of globally-focussed AHSCs and related structures reveals shared objectives in: developing collaborative institutional linkages and networks targeted to underserved populations globally; influencing policy development for global health; and building a globally-accessible knowledge base. Crucially, all three case studies recognise that AHSCs offer a uniquely valuable institutional framework to enable innovation and research translation for global health with a focus on low-resource settings. The findings of this exploratory analysis offer models and lessons for Australia’s role in the Asia Pacific region, World Bank initiatives and the global Tropics.

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Addressing Health Workforce Shortages in Rural and Remote Australia through the Provision of Physician Assistants

By Ankur Verma 

Ankur attended the 2015 OECD Forum in Paris. 


The context of global and Australian health workforce presented in this research paper has been used to guide the introduction of Physician Assistants (PAs) into Australia as a national health care recommendation. The scope of practice, employment potential, prospective impact on the Australian health system, and contribution to the productivity and quality of health care services[1] offered by the Physician Assistant model, as it is referred to, is discussed in support of the recommendations presented in this paper. Alternative rural and remote training pathways and better access to health care through even workforce distribution have been selected as two broad themes for this research paper. Health Workforce Australia’s (HWA) review on the globalisation of PAs in the United States (US), has also been used to guide the need for professional registration for PAs with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and accreditation with the Australian Medical Council (AMC). PAs’ access to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) has also been recommended evidenced by their role in the Australian health workforce context, so they can be utilised to their full potential including contributing to General Practitioner (GP) supervised primary care services, especially in rural areas. 

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Cooperative institutionalism as a framework for sustainable development

Sarah attended the 2012 United Nations Rio+20 summit where she represented James Cook University. She is the National Scholarship Recipient and she is currently studying a Masters of Practical Development.


Key Point: In order to streamline and improve the legitimacy of the United Nations Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD) it is proposed that Sustainability is elevated to the status of council, superseding the ideologically antiquated Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

• The new Sustainable Development Council would utilize and improve on the existing coordinating machinery of ECOSOC.

• Cooperative institutionalism (derived from the example of cooperative federalism in Australia) would be the functional protocol employed. The Sustainable Development Council would serve as the coordinative, managerial body thereby ensuring the reduction of waste, duplication and inefficiencies throughout the various functional committees, specialized agencies, programmes and funds.

• The highest priority for Rio+20 is the establishment of a well defined approach that adequately balances socio-economic goals with the sustainable use of natural resources and the stewardship of ecosystem services. It is essential that this is simultaneously developed with a means for measuring both the advances and bottlenecks experienced along goal pathways, in accordance with the contexts and priorities of each country.

• The Sustainable Development Council would effectively establish and monitor the proposed Sustainable Development Goals and universal sustainable development.

• The fundamental ideology of “sustainable development” is the integration of the three pillars of society, the economy and the environment; with the acknowledgment that both society and the economy are presided by environmental limitations. The current UN managerial organ

ECOSOC is a direct contradiction of this fundamental premise and exemplifies antiquated development practices.

• The utilization of the existing coordinating machinery of ECOSOC would remove current concerns and would enable a more rapid transformation to a more ideologically and practically sustainable network. This is opposed to the generation of another committee or specialized agency which would add to the current issues of duplication and waste.

• Calls have been made for UNEP to be promoted to the state of council; however this would still engender an imbalance of the three pillars of sustainability and would also ignore the valuable network of functional committees, specialized agencies, programmes and funds within the ECOSOC framework.

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