Why Geographical Indications for Least Developed Countries?

Since 2010 UNCTAD is supporting selected LDCs rural communities in their efforts to promote traditional products through Geographical Indications (GIs). GIs are a trade-related intellectual property right under the WTO TRIPS Agreement. The link between the territory and the uniqueness of the product is the distinctive developmental nature of GIs with respect to other forms of TRIPs.

Evidence from the market and literature shows that the promotion and protection of products under GIs may results in higher economics gains, fostering quality production and equitable distribution of profits for LDC rural communities. GIs encourage the preservation of biodiversity, traditional know-how and natural resources. Leveraging on biological and cultural diversification, the implementation of GIs may represent a unique opportunity to bring together the various players along the value chain supply, including producers, government authorities and researchers.

This study is the result of activities carried out under the UNCTAD project TAAK on market access and trade laws funded by the Italian Government and the Development Account project entitled "Strengthening the capacity of rural communities in least developed countries to utilize the market access opportunities provided by duty-free quota-free and enhancing value added of their traditional products".

The case studies contained in this publication are based on documents and field missions carried out by teams of international and local experts from 2013 to 2015.