WIPO Illustrates How Innovation, Intellectual Property Can Support SDGs
Photo by Lucas Vasques
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A WIPO report highlights the role of innovation in achieving the SDGs, including SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 13 (climate action), among others.

On SDG 13, for example, WIPO helps to promote an efficient global market for environmentally friendly technologies that builds on the international intellectual property system through WIPO GREEN.

October 2018: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has highlighted how diffusion of innovative technologies can play a critical role in achieving many of the SDGs. The publication describes the relationship between intellectual property, innovation and the SDGs, and showcases examples of WIPO’s contributions to the SDGs.

SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) explicitly recognizes the link between economic and social progress and innovation. In the publication’s introduction, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry elaborates on the relationship between intellectual property, innovation and the SDGs. He states that intellectual property as a policy “exists to create an enabling environment for – and to stimulate investment in – innovation,” and to create a framework for sharing and trading new technologies around the world. He further explains that the “economic imperative at the heart of innovation is fundamental to the process of societal transformation that the SDGs aim to achieve.

A WIPO-led partnership seeks to ensure that diseases that are more common among poorer populations are not neglected.

The publication titled, ‘WIPO and the Sustainable Development Goals: Innovation Driving Human Progress,’ highlights the role of innovation in achieving the SDGs, including SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 13 (climate action). On SDG 3, the report explains how intellectual property systems support health care innovation by encouraging investment in new drugs and technologies while reassuring companies of a secure return on their investment. To ensure that diseases that are more common among poorer populations or that affect comparatively few people are not neglected, WIPO leads a public-private partnership (PPP) to tackle neglected tropical diseases, malaria and tuberculosis.

On SDG 4 (quality education), WIPO works with its member States to support equal access to education, such as by implementing treaty-based adjustments to the intellectual property systems, so that books for visually-impaired people can be more easily shared across national borders. The WIPO-led ‘Accessible Books Consortium’ works to harness technologies to produce books for visually impaired people globally. This PPP established international standards for inclusive publishing. and facilitates inter-library loans across borders.

On SDG 13, WIPO highlights its efforts to promote an efficient global market for environmentally friendly technologies, building the international intellectual property system. WIPO GREEN aims to stimulate the uptake of green tech by bringing innovators, investors and potential users together. The network facilitates connections between companies looking to access, commercialize or license a green technology with the innovators who create such a technology.

The publication showcases a new water technology called CloudFisher that provides clean water to communities in arid but foggy coastal or mountainous regions that face water shortages. WIPO GREEN facilitated a connection between the technology’s developer and the company that commercialized it.

In addition to WIPO’s direct impacts on several SDGs, the report argues that the role of innovation in policy setting can assist in achieving SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 8, SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 15 (life on land), among others. [Publication: WIPO and the Sustainable Development Goals: Innovation Driving Human Progress] [WIPO GREEN webpage]

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