UNCTAD-ICTSD Project on Intellectual Property Rights and Sustainable Development
The joint Project by UNCTAD and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) on Intellectual Property Rights and Sustainable Development is intended to address the concerns voiced by developing countries with respect to the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement and new developments in the area of intellectual property rights (IPRs) contained in multilateral treaties and regional and bilateral free trade agreements *.
The Project aims at improving the understanding of the development implications of IPRs; facilitating informed participation in ongoing multilateral, regional and bilateral negotiations, as well as assisting national authorities in the implementation of international IP commitments and adoption of forward-looking national IPRs policies.
The research and policy analysis conducted under this partnership to date has resulted in numerous publications, including:
  • A Resource Book on TRIPS and Development providing a development-oriented analysis of each provision of the TRIPS Agreement, taking into account economic and social implications and IPR trends in non-WTO forums. The book is available on the project website and was published by Cambridge University Press in February 2005.
  • An Issue Paper Series on various topical IPR issues including transfer of technology, public health, geographical indications, nutrition, traditional knowledge, TRIPS-plus in bilateral and regional agreements, innovation, competition, and computer software.
  • A Regional Research Agenda made up of a series of policy-oriented research papers on specific IP issues, written by field-based experts representing each region. The studies focus on specific IP issues that have been identified as research gaps by particpants in UNCTAD-ICTSD Regional Dialogues, and analyze development concerns in IP debates with a view to contributing directly to national and regional policy-making. The studies involve collaboration with and between regional research institutions in developing countries.
  • At the regional and national level, the project works closely with selected centres of excellence based in established universities and research institutions in developing and developed countries, as well as with NGOs, media and parliamentarians. The main means of collaboration are joint research and regional dialogues, which draw on the existing and ongoing research described above.
  • Policy Briefs. After two years of deliberations, the WIPO General Assembly adopted, in September 2007, forty-five recommendations aiming at integrating the development dimension in the different areas of the organization's activities.

    A Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) was also established. The CDIP met in March and July 2008 and is developing a work programme to implement these recommendations.

    The UNCTAD-ICTSD project on IPRs and Sustainable Development is launching a series of Policy Briefs to stimulate further the debate and generate policy-oriented research, which would contribute towards the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda recommendations.

    The Policy Briefs aim to examine the issues in a creative manner with a view to identifying concrete recommendations and specific activities to foster the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda recommendations.
  • Development Dimension of Intellectual Property Reports (DDIPs) - UNCTAD and ICTSD initiated DDIPs with activities aimed at the practical application of research done to date and at assisting developing countries in integrating intellectual property issues into their overall development objectives.

    After a fact finding mission in 2008, a DDIP Report for Uganda is currently being finalized and will be presented to stakeholders in Kampala in April of this year.

    In a comparable exercise, UNCTAD and ICTSD are currently finalizing, for the Government of Rwanda, an assessment of the country's needs in IP-related technical assistance, as well as a number of recommendations for the drafting of a national IP policy. The final reports on both the needs assessment and the IP policy will be presented to stakeholders in Kigali in March of this year.

*  Since 2001, the project has benefited from the financial support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Rockefeller Foundation.

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