strategy

Providing access to appropriate technology

Synonyms:
Facilitating use of appropriate technology
Promoting appropriate technologies
Promoting sustainable technologies
Context:
Intermediate technology, later designated appropriate technology, was popularized in the early 1970s as being a technological level somewhere between traditional and modern (conventional and emerging) technologies There is no universally accepted definition of appropriate technology, but usually, compared to modern technologies, it is characterized by all or most of the following attributes: it is labour-intensive; its productivity is on smaller scales; it is ecologically "friendly"; it requires less demanding worker and managerial skills; it utilizes more local inputs; it requires a lower investment per job created. Appropriate technology has been criticized for not accomplishing enough to benefit the poor.
Implementation:
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

For organizations promoting technological development in developing countries, such as the Intermediate Technology Development Group, Volunteers for International Technical Assistance, and scores of other agencies, its shortcomings appear to have been largely overcome. It is suggested that the sizeable and growing arsenal of appropriate technologies should be taken seriously in any process of screening and selecting technologies for poverty-related projects.

Counter Claim:
Its application had a checkered record in the early days and, all too often, successes were very geographically circumscribed or confined to a single application; any spread to alternative uses and the development of complementary innovations was not always in evidence. Yet, appropriate technology might well be a valuable tool for combatting extreme poverty; high-impact appropriate technologies include: systems for delivering micro-loans like those inspired by Bangladesh's Grameen Bank; bamboo tube wells in southern Asia; improved cook-stoves in China. Furthermore, appropriate technology had been hampered by a disinclination to commercialize the venture and a tendency to connect such technology with a subjective vision of a proper life-style rather than to the effectiveness of technology.
Subjects:
Promotion
Technology
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies