Technical Cooperation Activities under TRIPS Art. 67. - View details of the document

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

 1  UNCTAD's Work in the Area of Intellectual Property Rights and Development

  1. The UNCTAD Secretariat, through its Intellectual Property (IP) Unit, located within the Division on Investment and Enterprise, implements a work programme on the development dimensions of IP rights. The work programme is designed to respond to the mandate received from Member States at the Ministerial Conference in Nairobi (July 2016), as well as to intergovernmental requests under the WIPO Development Agenda and the World Health Assembly's Resolution 61.21 on a Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. It is partially funded by donor governments and institutions. Currently, the work programme targets:
  • IP rights, policy coherence and local pharmaceutical production and supply. UNCTAD was requested by its Commission on Investment, Technology and Related Financial Issues (2005) to assess ways in which developing countries can develop their domestic productive capability in the supply of essential drugs in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies.[1] In the pursuit of this mandate, UNCTAD implements a work programme on local pharmaceutical production, with a view to assisting developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) in particular, to utilise IP rights as tools that facilitate increased access to affordable medicines, and, where feasible, to promote domestic and foreign investment to create local or regional pharmaceutical production and supply capacities. Currently, the work programme focuses on the role of local production and supply management to address vaccines and antimicrobial resistance (AMR);
  • IP rights, technology partnerships and regional economic integration. UNCTAD implements a programme on IP and technology partnerships, with the financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The programme focuses on IP rights and regional economic integration. It also includes capacity building on technology transactions including voluntary IP licensing and research and development (R&D) cooperation for industrial development; and
  • IP rights for participation in the digital economy and e-commerce. In the context of a broader work programme on e-commerce, UNCTAD addresses the interface between IP rights and digital economy.
    1. In implementing its work programme, the IP Unit conducts research and policy analysis, facilitates consensus-building and responds to requests for technical assistance for successfully integrating developing countries into the world economy. This document provides an overview of UNCTAD's IP and development-related activities from 1 November 2018 to 20 September 2019. For more information on UNCTAD's activities related to IP, please visit:

2  Research and policy analysis

  1. UNCTAD undertakes research and analysis and provides advisory services for developing countries on trade and development aspects of IP rights. During the reporting period, UNCTAD:
  • Worked together with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and African Union Commission (AUC) for the preparation of the report on 'Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA IX): Next Steps for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)'. The report addresses investment, intellectual property, competition and e‑commerce issues, among others. The report underscores the opportunity presented by the AfCFTA to a balanced IP rights system that responds to the aspirations contained in the continental programmes, including Agenda 2063 of the African Union. It recommends a step by step approach on cooperation in the field of IP rights, beginning with the issues critical for regional trade and value chain integration; and
  • Published an analysis of intellectual property rights policies in the digital economy, as part of UNCTAD's Digital Economy report, 2019.

3  Consensus-building

  1. Consensus-building among stakeholders on IP, trade and development is an important element of the programme's work. UNCTAD's substantive contributions on the analysis of issues related to development and IP have enabled it to become an important forum, through its intergovernmental machinery, where governments, academia, civil society and the private sector can meet to exchange ideas. During the 2019 World Health Assembly,  UNCTAD signed an 'Interagency Statement on Promoting Local Production of Medicines and Other Health Technologies' together with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).

4  Technical cooperation

  1. On a request basis, UNCTAD conducts technical cooperation activities with developing countries in the integrated areas of investment, trade and IP rights. UNCTAD delivers its technical cooperation through:
  • Capacity building programmes for beneficiary countries and regions under donor funded projects on IP rights and policy coherence for local pharmaceutical production and access to medicines, technology partnerships and regional economic integration, as well as IP rights for participation in the digital economy and e-commerce;
  • Advisory reports on the development dimensions of intellectual property (DDIP). The objective of a published DDIP report is to provide advice on developing countries' and LDCs' policy, legal and institutional framework for IP rights, particularly as it relates to important development objectives such as innovation, technology, investment, competition, education and health. Developing countries specify the key development objectives they wish to examine. A DDIP report will take into consideration the socio‑economic situation of the requesting country, the bilateral, regional and international commitments the target countries have entered into and the flexibilities available to them. Based on this analysis, the reports incorporate medium to long-term recommendations on how governments and other stakeholders could make these frameworks more coherent and transparent, with a view to making IP rights contribute to a country's sustainable economic and human development goals and respond to emerging global opportunities; and
  • Ad hoc studies on IP and development issues as requested by developing country governments.

4.1  Cooperation with other providers of IP-related technical assistance

  1. UNCTAD partners with major technical assistance providers on IP rights and development.  During the reporting period, UNCTAD inter alia partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), WHO, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Staff of UNCTAD's IP Unit frequently participate in capacity‑building workshops on IP and development issues organized by other providers of IP‑related technical assistance. For instance, UNCTAD was invited by WIPO and WTO to contribute to the 2019 WIPO-WTO Advanced Course on IP for Government Officials in March 2019.

[1] See at (paragraph 9 (c) of the Agreed Recommendations).

List of programmes/projects

Click for more information
# Title of programme or activity Start date Beneficiary Members or observers  
1 Realizing African Industrial Development and Regional Value Chains under African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); An AU-UNCTAD Side Event during TICAD VII, Yokohama, Japan 29/08/2019
2 Intellectual Property and Development in the Digital Economy, Geneva 04/04/2019
3 Interagency Statement on Promoting Local Production of Medicines and Other Health Technologies, Geneva 24/05/2019
4 Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA IX): Next Steps for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), 2019 18/07/2019
5 The First Xiong' An International Health Forum, Langfang, PR China 13/11/2018 China
6 Regional Consultation Workshop on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework for Asia and the Pacific, Nagoya, Japan 29/01/2019 Cambodia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Nepal; Samoa; Solomon Islands
7 WIPO-WTO Advanced Course on IP for Government Officials, Geneva, Switzerland 12/03/2019
8 12th Berlin Conference on Life Sciences: "Novel Antimicrobials and AMR Diagnostics 2019", Berlin, Germany 14/03/2019
9 Sub-Regional Capacity-Building Workshop on Improving Access to Universal Health Coverage: The Role of Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer in the Pharmaceutical Sector, Bangkok, Thailand 31/03/2019 Bangladesh; Indonesia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Philippines; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Viet Nam
10 2nd meeting of the 2019 G20 Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) of the G20, Mito, Japan 09/04/2019
11 G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy, Tsukuba, Japan 07/06/2019
12 National Consultations on Patent Linkage, Bangkok, Thailand 18/06/2019 Thailand
13 The G20 Health and Development Partnership – Health 20 Summit, Tokyo, Japan 24/06/2019
14 National Capacity Building Workshop on Technology Partnerships and R&D Collaboration, Cairo, Egypt 17/07/2019 Egypt
15 Third World Network Regional Workshop on TRIPS Flexibilities for Public Health, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 20/08/2019
16 14th Annual WTO Workshop on Trade and Public Health 08/10/2018