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One of the major challenges of the twenty-first century is to make globalization more inclusive and equitable, to better serve the purpose of human development. In this endeavour, managing intellectual property (IP) is a key issue. Few issues were as contentious in the negotiations over multilateral trade rules. Negotiations over the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) were pivotal in finalizing the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement which created the World Trade Organization (WTO), and in adopting the 2001 Doha Declaration which launched the WTO's Doha ‘Development Round’.
A core purpose of intellectual property rights (IPRs) including patents and copyrights is to achieve a balance between two potentially conflicting social objectives: encouraging innovation by recognizing private rights in intangible creations and ensuring the diffusion of new technologies and cultural works to a broad range of stakeholders. Superficially, the controversies that arise can be understood as a conflict of economic interests. The different interpretations and potentially competing objectives of IP can lead to tensions between the interests of inventors or authors and those of the public, between the technologically advanced countries and those with weaker capacities, between corporations that seek to maximize profit and the public that seeks access at least cost. But, as this book argues, much more is at stake than conflicts over material gains and losses: IP laws and policies must take on a much broader set of human development goals and concerns. The social function of IP is not only about providing incentives and rewards for creativity; it is also about ensuring that innovations, including new technologies, ultimately help to improve capabilities, sustain livelihoods and support people's fundamental rights.
Questions about global poverty and inequality inspire some of the most contentious debates not only among academics but also among politicians and the public at large. This chapter assesses recent empirical trends on poverty and inequality, with a focus on human well-being. It argues that the past decade was one of unprecedented progress for some but stagnation and reversal for others and that there is a growing gap among developing countries as well as among all countries of the world. Although many economists agree that poverty is multidimensional, they continue to use the income poverty framework. Because they argue that economic growth is the primary means to reduce poverty and that there is strong correlation between income poverty and non-income human deprivations. The trends documented in the chapter make it apparent that many countries and groups within countries were marginalized from the global economy during the globalization of the 1990s.
The idea of human rights as universal – that all human beings, by virtue of the fact that they are human, have certain entitlements to lead a life of freedom and dignity – is one of the most cherished principles of human rights. Yet there is much ambiguity in both law and theory about whether the obligations to respect, promote, and protect these rights stop at the boundaries of a nation state. This question has drawn increasing interest in recent years as the international community has been calling for urgent action to end extreme poverty, especially with the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as an international consensus. These Goals set quantitative targets for reducing poverty by 2015. They also contain a goal for stronger partnership of the international community to help developing countries achieve these goals. The purpose of this chapter is to examine Goal 8 as an instrument of international human rights obligation to measure progress and hold states accountable.
The chapter is structured as follows: the first section reviews the way in which international obligations of solidarity have been reflected in international human rights instruments and international development cooperation policy. The second section focuses on measurement issues including conceptual approaches and indicators for assessing progress. The third section attempts to identify the content of international obligations for economic and social rights. The final section examines the adequacy of Goal 8 targets and indicators in monitoring those obligations.
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