WIPO Explains Its Role In Sustainable Development Goals And The UN11/10/2015 by Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.The views expressed in this column are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors.The World Intellectual Property Organization is a United Nations agency based in Geneva. During the recent activity at UN headquarters in New York to approve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Minelik Alemu Getahun, WIPO Assistant Director General, took time to explain in a written Q&A WIPO’s involvement in the SDGs and the IP agency’s evolving relationship with the UN.As a UN agency, how has WIPO been participating in the UN effort toward post-2015 sustainable development goals?WIPO’s Minelik Alemu GetahunAs a specialized agency of the UN, WIPO participates as a UN observer organization at all major UN processes, including those related to the post 2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The role of the WIPO Secretariat is to ensure how WIPO, within its specific area of expertise and mandate, can support the process. In addition, we monitor the processes to see how they may impact on the work of the Secretariat and Member States at WIPO.The WIPO Secretariat participated as an UN observer organization at the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) and at the intergovernmental negotiations on the post 2015 Development Agenda, as well as at other related processes, e.g. the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and its preparatory process and the Informal Interagency Group on the Technology Transfer Facilitation Mechanism. The Secretariat has also contributed to various inter-agency work on these issues within the UN Chief Executives Board (CEB) as well as in the work of the UN Task Team on the Post 2015 Development Agenda (UNTT), and the UN Technical Support Team (TST) to the OWG.How will WIPO be involved in the UN General Assembly working to agree these goals, and going forward in relation to these goals?WIPO will be represented at the Summit at the end of September. The Secretariat is also engaged as an observer in the work of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goal Indicator Framework (IAEG-SDG). This is an important part of the work to establish a framework for monitoring, reviewing and reporting on progress in achieving the SDGs. It will also be important in shaping work going forward in relation to these goals. WIPO’s Member States have asked that a document be prepared and presented for discussion to the next session of the CDIP on WIPO’s support to Member States in achieving the SDGs. This work is underway.Looking at the emerging goals, intellectual property does not appear to play a significant part, but there are numerous topics which could be related. How do IP rights fit into the UN goals?This is an important point. On the one hand, WIPO’s mandate and mission to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all cuts across and is relevant to many of the SDGs. But that work is only one part of the effort required to achieve these goals. To achieve greatest impact, it will be important to focus our efforts on those SDGs where the goals and targets are of clearest relevance to WIPO’s work. The section of SDG 17 on means of implementation dealing with technology is of particular relevance in this regard. As are SDGs 8 and 9, which place a particular emphasis on fostering innovation and creativity.How has WIPO’s relationship with the UN overall changed since joining decades ago, and how has it changed during the most recent work on these goals?WIPO headquarters, GenevaThe Agreement between the United Nations and WIPO came into effect in 1974. WIPO continues to have a strong and active partnership with the United Nations system, contributing its expertise and services in the context of its mandate to promote a balanced and effective international IP system for the economic, cultural and social development of all countries. This development focus is highlighted through the WIPO Development Agenda, which was agreed in 2007, and raises many of the development-related concerns also central to the United Nations’ Post-2015 development agenda which culminates in Agenda 2030 and the sustainable development goals.At its outset, WIPO’s relationship with the United Nations was very much as a legal and technical agency, focusing on the evolution of IP law and the harmonization of IP registration systems. While WIPO remains a technical agency, it has evolved through its membership of the UN system to become an agency also concerned with assisting its member States to use the IP system to meet their national development goals. WIPO’s Director General is an active member of the United Nations Chief Executives Board (CEB), and formerly its Chair of the High Level Committee on Management. WIPO maintains an active program of engagement and cooperation with many sister UN agencies (WHO, UNESCO, ITU, UNCTAD) and with the UN Secretariat both in Geneva and New York, through its HQ and WIPO NY Coordination office.Do you anticipate WIPO changing its focus as a result of these goals and changes in global society and economy? If so, how?The SDGs are transformative and ambitious. Innovation and technology will need to be fully exploited in the interests of sustainable development – and the IP system has a key role to play in supporting such innovation and technological development. IP is just one part of the solution to implementing the sustainable development goals, but in as much as it offers part of the solution, WIPO will work with its Member States to ensure that it is used in the most effective way possible to help them achieve the SDGs.WIPO’s focus has been on assisting its Member States to use the IP system to its best advantage for their particular development needs and challenges, and this focus accords with Agenda 2030. WIPO will continue to meets its commitment to use its resources to ensure that the international IP system evolves in ways that best suit its Member States’ needs, including in implementing the sustainable development goals.WIPO is attuned to changes in the global society and economy, as a result of its close work with public and private sectors involved in innovation and the IP system. The emergence of the knowledge economy and rapid rise of trade in intangibles, the exponential increase in the value and political importance of IP, the geographic shift of innovation centers and the new geographic axis of R&D have all had major impacts on the evolution of the IP system, as it adapts to meet these new realities and continue to serve its purposes of encouraging and rewarding creativity and innovation. In this changing environment, the role of the IP system continues to be important. Image Credits: WIPO, Catherine SaezShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"WIPO Explains Its Role In Sustainable Development Goals And The UN" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.