UN agencies strengthen ties to support industry and trade in poorer countries

12 May 2010

The United Nations agency tasked with promoting industrial development and its intellectual properties counterpart today pledged closer cooperation to help developing countries build industrial capacity and gain a foothold in the global economy through innovative trade measures.

The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said they will strengthen links on supporting technology innovation, strategic use of patent information for development, trade capacity-building and trade-related intellectual property rights issues.

An agreement on the strengthened partnership was approved in Vienna by the UNIDO Industrial Development Board at its 37th session. It will be signed by UNIDO Director-General Kandeh Yumkella and his WIPO counterpart Francis Gurry.

“Creating awareness and practical capacity-building on intellectual property protection and use should be an integral part of any industrial development strategy,” said Mr. Yumkella. “[The] UNIDO-WIPO cooperation will help developing countries face the challenges of a globalized economy,” he added.

Mr. Gurry said that the intellectual property system played a key role in facilitating technology transfer by “incentivizing” investment in innovation, providing a framework for trading intellectual assets, and by establishing market order through marks and brands.

He noted that the innovation landscape was “the subject of rapid and radical change,” pointing to the intensification of investment in knowledge creation, whose value had more than doubled in the past 15 years, rising to some $1.1 trillion in 2009.

In January, UNIDO and WIPO launched a trade capacity development programme in Pakistan, funded by the European Commission. UNIDO is developing the supply capacity in fisheries and horticulture, and supporting the development of compliance infrastructure and services. WIPO in turn is developing the intellectual property regime and institutional set-up. Joint activities for the fisheries and horticulture sectors are expected to add value to export products through the recognition and promotion of specific local product attributes or branding.

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