Last week, WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Director General Francis Gurry and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) Director General Kandeh Yumkella met to strengthen their cooperation around global innovation.
According to the announcement released by both parties, it was agreed that “the two organizations should collaborate on activities to support the strengthening of capacity in developing countries to use science, technology and innovation in addressing key development challenges in areas such as agriculture, oceans, energy, water and public health.”
The announcement emphasizes the impact of science and technology on the Rio+20 discussions and the Post 2015 Development Agenda. With their newly agreed upon cooperation, the WIPO and UNIDO will be able to contribute greatly to these international discussions with ideas about the relationship between intellectual property and sustainable innovation. This cooperation has the potential to greatly impact the processes for developing new technology, as well as the technology itself.
Defining pathways to a greener world
Rio+20 is defined as “the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012. [It] is an historic opportunity to define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.” Rio+20 is a conference that provides a chance for multiple governments and participants to bounce ideas off one another in order to discover the best course of action for a better future.
Together, WIPO and UNIDO can bring ideas supporting novel innovation for sustainable energy and other key technologies for sustainable economic development. This pairing brings together the two perspectives that will allow innovation to flourish; the UNIDO presents the developmental challenges around the world, and the WIPO can provide a supportive path towards the necessary solutions.
Post 2015 Development Agenda
The Post 2015 Development Agenda is closely linked to Rio+20 in the sense that both have a main focus around worldwide sustainable development. At the briefing of the Post 2015 Development Agenda, Member States raised the following eight issues. These issues aim to be the focal point of any solutions considered by the discussion:
- The world has changed dramatically since the declaration of the original MDGs and therefore the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda must also reflect those changes.
- The post-2015 UN Development Agenda must be infused with concepts of inclusive, sustainable growth for all nations.
- The post-2015 UN Development Agenda should be applicable for all countries, not only in LDCs, and should incorporate a participatory framework for all nations involved.
- The original framework of the MDGs must be reassessed and reformulated according to the change in needs and environment which we now face.
- New and emerging problems like youth unemployment, environmental concerns, macroeconomic policies, and equality must be addressed.
- Rio +20 findings and results should be integrated into the discussions on Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.
- Concrete, quantifiable goals and simple, straightforward expectations must be the focus of Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.
- The Post-2015 UN Development Agenda must be careful not to overshadow goals and efforts at the national level.
Global innovation to help developing nations
It is undoubtedly apparent that a large portion of the world, mainly those Member States of the UN, has recognized the need to move towards a more sustainable future. Rio+20 and the Post 2015 Development Agenda are both significant steps in this direction. Moreover, the cooperation between the WIPO and UNIDO will help involve IP in this process. High quality IP can help ensure that any innovation and development plans move forward in the most efficient way possible.
The WIPO’s presence among the organizations can help create a balanced distribution of innovation, rather than allowing for a concentration of innovation in one area. The UN has clearly acknowledged the fact that global innovation and IP can be some of the most useful tools in supporting sustainable development.