Controlling environmental impact of technology

Using environmental technology assessment
Environmental technology assessment is a process where the environmental aspects of a technology are analysed and expressed.

Unsustainable and capital-intensive technologies have played a major role in corporations' onslaught on nature and agriculture. Green revolution technologies have caused social and environmental havoc wherever they have been applied, creating destitution and hunger instead of eliminating them. Today, modern biotechnology is emerging, together with patents on life, as one of the most powerful and dangerous weapons of corporations to take over the control of the food systems all over the world. Genetic engineering and patents on life must be resisted, since their potential social and environmental impact is the greatest in the history of humanity.

UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Environmental Technology Assessment Programme (EnTA) encourages the use of environmental technology assessment to support the development and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. The primary objectives for EnTA in the 1994-1995 time frame will be to create awareness of the need and value of environmental technology assessment, and to build capacity in applying environmental technology assessment. EnTA works with government agencies responsible for environment, industry and technology, industries and trade associations, NGOs, technology suppliers and developers, research institutions and financing organizations. EnTA will focus on industrial technologies and those technologies providing industry's energy needs, particularly new plants. Priority will be given to environmental assessment of new or transferred technologies in developing countries. Programmes for the 1994-1995 period include among others: an assessment of the extent to which technology is transferred from country to country without adequate assessment of environmental impacts; case studies to illustrate the use of environmental technology assessment in the technology transfer process; the development of a primer that represents methodologies for carrying out environmental technology assessments, information and data needed to apply these methodologies, and sources of information for both methodologies and data, whilst taking into account situations in developing countries; conducting a feasibility study of international guidelines for the information on potential environmental impacts that exporters of technology should provide to importers.

The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) brings together practitioners, researchers and users of various types of impact assessment, including environmental technology assessment, from across the globe. The International Association for Technology Assessment and Forecasting Institutions (IATAFI) promotes international cooperation among institutions assessing and forecasting the impact of new technology, including the use of environmental technology assessment.

Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies