Climate Technology and Intellectual Property: A Repeat of the Access to Medicines Debate or Something New?

  • Starts3:00 am on Wednesday, February 28, 2024
  • Ends4:00 am on Wednesday, February 28, 2024

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a history of unequal access to medicines came sharply again into focus as developing countries struggled to procure vaccines. Now, questions that arose during the pandemic are emerging with respect to the climate crisis: Will critical new technology quickly reach developing countries? Will developing countries be able to manufacture technology themselves, or will they be dependent on high-income countries? Will the global trade rules stymie the response to a global crisis? As these questions are considered, the global intellectual property regime merits careful examination.

Addressing climate change requires finding the optimal balance between rapid innovation and diffusion, and achieving this goal depends upon finely calibrating intellectual property rules. As the public and private sectors are making major investments in climate technology— a term that incorporates technology as diverse as solar cells, technology developed for the critical raw materials (CRM) supply chain and drought-resistant agricultural products —it is vital to ensure all countries will benefit from this technology.

On Wednesday, February 28 at 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM GST | 3:00AM - 4:00 AM EST, on the sidelines of the World Trade Organization's 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, tune in for an IISD Trade and Sustainability Hub side event featuring experts on trade, climate and intellectual property. This session will explore relevant lessons from access to medicines, analyze how intellectual property intersects with different climate technologies and propose practical reforms to trade and intellectual property rules.


- Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue

- Antony Taubman, Director, Intellectual Property Division, World Trade Organization

- Nagesh Kumar, Director and Chief Executive, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development; Non-resident Senior Fellow, Boston University Global Development Policy Center

- Rachel Thrasher (moderator), Researcher, Boston University Global Development Policy Center

Hybrid - Pearl Rotana Capital Centre, Room B, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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