IP Rights and Human Rights for Innovation and Sustainable Development High Level International Forum: UNESCO Mexico-Guanajuato

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Ten years after Philip Alston’s celebrated article “Ships passing in the night”, development goals and human rights have been set on a converging path in the UN’s General Assembly Resolution of 25th September 2015 to adopt the 2030 transformative Agenda for Sustainable Development.1 UNESCO’s joint initiative with the State of Guanajuato to host a high-level meeting on the theme of Innovation for Sustainable Development in September 2017 offers the opportunity to explore and integrate UNESCO’s contribution to global policy on science, technology and innovation (STI) with the work of other UN agencies on intellectual property rights and human rights. There is as yet no integrative analysis of the interaction of intellectual property rights with human rights in the 2030 SDGs Agenda. This paper offers such an analysis focusing on the challenges posed by global public-private partnerships which are anticipated to play a driving role in the realization of sustainable development goals. It argues that realization of the 2030 SDGs must be grounded in Article 27 UDHR and Article 15 ICESCR which require a balance to be struck between the rights of innovators to protection of their intellectual property and the rights of the public to share in the benefits of science and technological innovation. It suggests that achieving a fair balance between private investors and the public requires enhanced levels of transparency on the funding and allocation of intellectual property rights in public-private partnerships to ensure that realization of SDGs is fully aligned with the protection of human rights.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInovacion para el Desarrollo Sostenible
EditorsNuria Sanz, Carlos Tejada
Place of PublicationMexico
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9786078164042
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2018


  • intellectual property
  • human rights
  • inovation
  • Sustainable Development


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