27.04.2019

UN: To achieve and sustain peace and sustainable development, multilateralism is not only the most efficient way, but the only possible way

This week, on April 24, the UN dedicated its one-day high plenary meeting to the first-ever International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the seventy-third session of the General Assembly, underscored the importance of multilateralism and the UN system in providing solutions to most pressing societal challenges. Ms. Espinosa emphasized that this day is an opportunity to evaluate the UN’s contribution to humanity and affirmed the need to have a more effective, transparent and agile UN as well as a more equitable international order. 

developing countries to facilitate sustainable development, especially in relation to the targets on technology and trade. According to the Report, the IPRs should be geared to each country’s level of development and technological capacities, especially in LDCs, to maximize incentives for innovation to the extent possible within the policy space allowed under the TRIPS Agreement.

There are important areas of tension between efforts to achieve SDGs and some aspects of current IPR protection arrangements. For example, patents for many cutting-edge technologies are held by a handful of multinational enterprises, which thus control a vast proportion of the agricultural inputs market. The need for small-scale farmers to adopt new technologies to remain competitive in global value chains creates a state of dependency on these few companies for inputs, and may also give rise to production bottlenecks unless addressed by competition laws. Agriculture – central to SDG 2, to “end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable driven, and the application of IPRs associated with biotechnology has major implications for food security. The international IPR system for patenting seeds also reinforces the concentration of the agricultural biotechnology sector in a few multinational enterprises, particularly in the seed sector, resulting in an oligopoly in the supply of inputs vital to food security. Therefore, the complex linkages between IPRs and the SDGs suggest that an exclusive focus on increasing standards of IPR protection is not the optimal way forward. Reforming the patent system appears increasingly desirable according to the authors of the Report.

By Katsiaryna Serada

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