World Intellectual Property Organization

South-South Cooperation

WIPO places an important emphasis on providing development-oriented technical assistance in the field of intellectual property (IP) to developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) in the Africa, Arab, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean regions.

Simply put: a large part of the South is now able and ready to contribute to its own development. An important number of countries in the South have developed significant technological capabilities and know-how and learned to harness the power of science, technology and innovation as an engine for development. This in turn has led to the rise of innovative, tailor-made, potentially transferable and adaptable solutions to address common Southern development challenges in the field of IP.

Developing countries are no longer viewed simply as recipients of technology innovations and know-how but also as sources thereof. Recognized by the United Nations as a key means of effecting technical cooperation, South-South cooperation has therefore become, in recent years, an increasingly significant vector, running in parallel to North-South cooperation, for sharing knowledge, experiences, know-how, solutions and technologies.

South-South developmental cooperation in the field of IP includes:

  • the exchange of experiences;
  • the pooling, sharing and utilization of resources; and
  • the development of complementary capacities among developing countries and LDCs.

WIPO's role is largely that of a catalyst, spurring promising home-grown initiatives onwards, whilst facilitating the mutually-beneficial exchanges that underpin South-South cooperation.

WIPO's role in South-South cooperation is guided by the organization's Development Agenda. This comprehensive framework ensures a cross-cutting and inclusive approach to development cooperation throughout WIPO's activities in the field of IP.

South-South webpage - give us your feedback

(Photo: istock.com/drafter123)

Background

The story of South-South cooperation began in 1974 when a broad framework for collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains was formally recognized by the United Nations (UN). Since that time, South-South cooperation has evolved and adapted to changing global circumstances and trends.

UN partnerships

South-South cooperation does not occur in isolation and IP issues touch on a spectrum of related development issues, from administrative capacity, to good governance. Reflecting this complex reality, WIPO works closely with the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), which is the body responsible for promoting, coordinating and supporting South-South cooperation within the UN system.

Activities

In line with its mandate, WIPO encourages and supports South-South cooperation through a wide variety of activities.

Development agenda project on South-South cooperation

The development agenda project on South-South cooperation is the nexus of WIPO's activities in this area. Inspired by WIPO’s development agenda, this is a multifaceted project that aims to:

  • facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences between developing countries and LDCs in the field of IP;
  • contribute to a better understanding of IP and its potential contribution to development in developing countries and LDCs;
  • help identify the priorities and special needs of developing countries and LDCs in the area of IP and development; and
  • promote the transfer and dissemination of technology among countries of the South.

In order to achieve these aims WIPO employs a diverse range of approaches, from organizing meetings, to creating/improving online tools, and providing training and capacity building support.

In addition to the above, WIPO applies South-South cooperation approaches to promote exchanges among developing countries and LDCs in the work carried out by the Regional Bureaus and in the Organization’s technical assistance and capacity building activities. South-South technical assistance and capacity-building activities undertaken with the support of WIPO can be viewed in the South-South IP Technical Assistance Database (South-South IP-TAD).

Resources

Technical assistance

The South-South IP Technical Assistance Database (South-South IP-TAD) presents information on technical assistance activities where both the beneficiary country(ies) and the host country/provider were a developing country, an LDC, or a country in transition.

Roster of consultants

The South-South Roster of Consultants (South-South IP-ROC) contains information on consultants from developing countries, LDCs and countries in transition. All have worked with WIPO to undertake IP technical assistance activities.

Matchmaking platform

This is a virtual space, designed to enable the sharing of IP needs and offers among developing countries and LDCs, as well as the creation of collaborative partnerships.

IP case studies pdf

A selection of case studies from around the world on South-South cooperation, from the IP Advantage database.

National and regional initiatives

In addition to South-South activities involving WIPO, a wide range of "homegrown" activities take place among the countries of the South. In order to foster and encourage the development of such cooperation, WIPO invites all developing countries and LDCs to complete an online questionnaire on their initiatives. The information gathered from this questionnaire will be used to facilitate new partnerships and highlight existing, successful partnerships.

  • A selection of South-South initiatives in the field of IP PDF, South-South initiatives in the field of IP

Online questionnaires

Explore WIPO