Intellectual property legislation - Policymakers in Africa should redouble efforts to develop their legal and policy frameworks, including their intellectual property legislation and policy, to release the region’s untapped potential, participants at a regional meeting held here on the Strategic Importance of Intellectual Property have agreed.
“Investments in education, research and development should be increased. Support in moving ideas to development and to market should be accelerated,” said a statement issued at the end of the two-day gathering of senior representatives of the African private sector, civil society organisations and over 20 ministers responsible for science and technology.
The delegates said African countries needed support to build their innovation infrastructure and the capacity to create domestic technology solutions to local development challenges, as well as to support the transfer, adaptation and dissemination of technology.
The meeting participants included World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry, UN Under Secretary General Wu Hongbo, and President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Nestor Osorio (Colombia), together with senior policy makers and entrepreneurs.
The meeting also urged ECOSOC to maximise its potential as a platform for multiple international efforts to support African countries on science, technology and innovation (STI) capacity building.
The meeting emphasised that the Council should identify mechanisms for greater coordination among providers of STI assistance.
“Innovation is the essence of our modern society. Without harnessing its power, we will not be able to create healthy, educated or inclusive societies,” remarked ECOSOC President Osorio.
Commitments of support should emerge from the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review which will take place in Geneva from 1-4 July 2013.
According to the statement, discussions at ECOSOC must lead to a Ministerial Declaration that calls for much greater emphasis on the contribution that science, technology and innovation can make to achieving sustainable development in relation to the post 2015 development framework and implementation of the Rio+20 outcomes.
The Dar es Salaam meeting, held in preparation for the forthcoming session of ECOSOC, agreed that “innovation can bring benefits across all three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental, and is key to accelerating achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”
On his part, Hongbo said: “With a fast approaching MDG deadline and transition to a post-2015 development era, innovation is a very timely topic.
“Innovation is needed to meet our common development goals; it is important in the final push for the MDGs and in unleashing the potential for sustainable development.”