Message from WIPO Director General Francis Gurry on World Intellectual Property Day
April 26, 2020
Innovate for a Green Future
This year, World Intellectual Property Day is taking place in unprecedented circumstances. I pay tribute to all those working on the front line of the on-going coronavirus pandemic. I would also like to extend my heartfelt condolences to all those who have experienced the loss of loved ones as a result of the on-going health crisis.
In recent months, the lives of billions of people around the globe have been radically disrupted. Yet we can draw inspiration from the unyielding human drive to overcome adversity and to find innovative solutions to complex global challenges. Every day, we see the emergence of encouraging initiatives, as governments, industry and academia come together to support efforts to innovate our way out of the current crisis.
Our response to the current crisis demonstrates that we have the collective wisdom, the ingenuity and the creativity to rise to these challenges and to shape a future, one that is safe, sustainable and green. And, as we look to that future, we see that intellectual property (IP)-driven innovation and innovative thinking are central to solving our shared, global challenges.
Take the growing global demand for energy as an example. As noted in the 2018 Global Innovation Index: Energizing the World with Innovation, global energy demand is set to rise by 30 percent by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Only by fostering innovation, and supporting the development of robust IP systems that incentivize and support it, will we be able to develop the clean energy systems required to meet that demand, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fostering economic growth. This is the complex energy equation policymakers face.
Today, the global renewable energy supply stands at around 15 percent. As noted in the 2018 Global Innovation Index: Energizing the World with Innovation, by 2050, some 85 percent of the world’s primary energy needs to come from renewables, such as solar, wind, and geothermal power. To achieve this, we need to think carefully about how we produce, store, distribute and consume energy, and we need to implement policies that support the rapid development and deployment of renewable energy technologies that enable all sectors to become more energy efficient and “green” their operations.
Innovation provides options and is the key to unlocking the solutions and approaches we need to create a sustainable and green future.
But to achieve that goal, we need to act. We need to make environmental sustainability a priority – it is the bedrock of our future well-being. We need to invest in national innovation ecosystems and enable broad access to effective national IP systems that support the development and deployment of the technologies, products and services we need for the transition to a brighter, greener, low-carbon future.
At this unique moment in history, let us turn our minds to what we each can do to become more resilient and responsible in the face of threats to global health and to the planet. Let us reflect on the role that innovation and the IP system can play in driving global efforts to create a green future that supports the well-being of humanity. And let us actively commit to creating a green future.
To this end, I encourage you to sign the World Intellectual Property Day Pledge Map.
Together, we can innovate for a greener, brighter and more sustainable future.
I wish you all a very happy and safe World Intellectual Property Day 2020.