UN Development Programme Calls For Reform Of IP And Investor Protection Regimes 21/03/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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)A United Nations Development Programme report released today places importance on transforming global institutions, and establishing fair trade and investment rules. The report calls for global reform of the intellectual property rights regime and investor protection regime. In addition, the report ranks countries on their human development level, putting Norway first followed by Australia and Switzerland. The Human Development Report 2016 “Human Development for Everyone,” launched today in Stockholm, is the latest in a series of global Human Development Reports published by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The new report mentions intellectual property rights, notably in chapter 5 on “Transforming global institutions.” In particular, the report says the international agenda “should be to set rules to expand trade in goods, services and knowledge to favour human development and the [UN] Sustainable Development Goals.” “The key reforms to advance this agenda include finalizing the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round, reforming the global intellectual property rights regime, and reforming the global investor protection regime,” it says. Selim Jahan, director of the Human Development Report Office, speaking through remote communication at a Geneva press briefing, says impressive progress has taken place over the last 35 years over many fronts of human development, but significant disparities persist. According to the report, there are imbalances in the governance of multilateral institutions. International trade rules through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor the WTO affect national space to define public policies in developing countries, and limit the use of trade policy to support sectoral or industrial development. The WTO Doha Development Round provided for some space for “rebalancing the rules” towards a development-oriented perspective, the report says. The Doha Round negotiations started in 2001 but have been stalled for years. “With the Doha Round stalled, international trade rules have been dominated by regional and bilateral trade agreements, where protecting investments and intellectual property rights have become central,” the report says, adding that industrial countries, which are the main source of foreign investment and patents, use such trade agreements to their benefit. “The payments of royalties and licences from developing to developed countries (particularly to the United States) have grown immensely since 1990,” it says. The report notes that international trade has been a strong engine of development for many countries, and in particular in Asia. However, trade rules seeking to extend intellectual property rights and investment protection treaties tend to favour developed countries. According to the report, “for developing countries, one of the most important global public goods would be a fair and well-functioning World Trade Organization.” “There is hope,” the report finds, as developing countries have gained negotiating power, “multilateral agreements can, despite their limitations, become a tool for fairer trade.” The report suggests assessing the “usefulness” of the current IP rights regime to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a basis for reform. In particular, it points to SDG3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages), and SDG17 (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development). On the WTO technology facilitation mechanism, the report suggested that every year, technologies critical to achieving the SDGs be identified, as well as the obstacles to their adoption. In this context, it says, “if intellectual property rights enforced through World Trade Organization mechanisms prove to be an obstacle to the timely diffusion of required technology, the international community must take a hard look at reshaping the way such assets are protected and remunerated internationally.” Norway First on Human Development Index The report ranks countries according to their human development in several indexes, such as overall development index, in relation to health, education, work and employment. According to a UNDP source, data are provided by national departments of statistics and the indices always cover the previous year to make sure the date is correctly aggregated. The 2016 report indices are thus based on 2015 numbers. For 2015 Norway ranks first in the overall development index, followed by Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Singapore, the Netherlands, Ireland, Iceland, Canada, and the US. At the bottom of the list, Central African Republic comes last, preceded by Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Guinea, South Sudan, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, and Guinea-Bissau. Image Credits: Flickr – United Nations Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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 Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."UN Development Programme Calls For Reform Of IP And Investor Protection Regimes" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.