Regional Dialogue on Innovation, Intellectual Property Rights and Sustainable Development in Eastern and Southern Africa

Organised by ICTSD, UNCTAD and TIPS

29 June - 1 July 2004

Victora and Alfred Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa


Over recent years, there has been an unprecedented increase in the scope and level of protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and geographical indications. This trend has generated new opportunities, but also new tensions around key public policy concerns such as public health, food security, education, innovation, transfer of technology and biodiversity management. While much of the debate still focuses on the WTO TRIPS Agreement, higher standards of protection, with narrowed down exceptions (TRIPS– plus) are increasingly being included in new bilateral and regional free trade agreements. In a knowledge based- economy, a strong understanding of IPRs and their development implications is indispensable to informed policy making in all areas of human development.

As a contribution to this debate, the dialogue aims to:

Provide a platform for a strategic discussion between relevant stakeholders (negotiators, capital-based policy makers, academia, NGOs and private sector) on relevant trends and thematic issues in the area of intellectual property and their implications for sustainable development;

Develop elements of a "regional agenda" for development-oriented intellectual Property (IP) policies and informal mechanisms to advance it in the coming years, among others, through joint research and networking.

The dialogue will be organized and conducted as an open informal process bringing together 20 –25 stakeholders with a variety of interests and experiences. Formal presentations will be kept to a minimum, allowing for enough time for a frank and open debate. Think pieces on the four topics for discussion identified in the agenda has been commissioned and will be conducted by resource persons from the region. The presentations by resource persons will be followed by observations and comments by the discussants.

This initiative is developed in the framework of the joint UNCTAD-ICTSD Project on IPRs and Sustainable Development, which aims to improve the understanding of the development implications of IPRs and facilitate an informed participation of developing countries in ongoing negotiations, through policy-oriented research, multi-stakeholder dialogues and outreach.


© ICTSD 2004 - Last Update: 05-Oct-2009