To tackle developing countries’ urgent challenges, World Intellectual Property Organization joins UN Group fast-tracking SDGs
10 January 2022
New York, 10 January 2022 – The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has joined the UN Sustainable Development Group – gathering all UN entities working to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 – to boost innovation, technology exchange and creativity in addressing some of the most pressing needs of developing countries. These range from urgently closing the COVID-19 global vaccination gap to boosting women and youth entrepreneurship to tackling the existential threat of climate change.
WIPO is the UN specialized agency that leads the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all. WIPO runs the worldwide IP networks used by individuals and enterprises around the world to grow their business activities, supporting job growth and national development.
WIPO's addition to the UNSDG will bolster UN teams’ capacity to deliver tailored on-the-ground support to 162 countries and territories. It will expand access to a range of services offered by WIPO, including knowledge and capacity building services to leverage creativity, technology and innovation to better equip countries in tackling global challenges.
“Innovation and technology transfer will catalyze a swifter and greener recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that leaves no one behind. Expertise from WIPO will add much value to the efforts of our UN teams on the ground as they support countries in unleashing their sustainable development potential. We welcome the skillsets WIPO will bring to our UN country teams,” said UNSDG chair, United Nations Deputy-Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed.
“This new form of strategic collaboration that draws on the entire UN family’s collective commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals will help WIPO accelerate and scale its services and initiatives supporting countries as they leverage innovation and creativity to tackle global challenges, like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change," said WIPO Director General Daren Tang.
Boosting innovation to leave no one behind
Accelerating progress to achieve the SDGs is increasingly reliant on IP-driven technology and innovation. The IP system sets an incentive structure for people to create and innovate solutions to improve the lives of all. It is from this perspective that WIPO also supports the development of innovation ecosystems and promotes the use of IP tools such as patents, trademarks, copyright and designs as assets for economic growth, job creation and social welfare.
To help countries tackle COVID-19, WIPO has recently enhanced partnerships with other UNSDG members, including the World Health Organization, as well as other international organizations like the World Trade Organization. This enhances the flow of information and strengthens countries’ capacity to address the pandemic. WIPO's COVID-19 support to its Member States comprises five main areas: policy and legislative assistance; technical assistance and capacity building; innovation support and technology transfer; IP dispute resolution; and knowledge resources.
In an example of the kind of IP-backed enterprise growth supported by WIPO, a woman entrepreneur in Uganda is building an Africa-based detergent brand to help fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. WIPO’s new role in the UNSDG will be crucial to scale up such initiatives that help advance the SDGs, creating jobs, promoting women empowerment and healthy lifestyles, while boosting countries' competitiveness in the global market.