The UN General Assembly references the GII for measuring innovation in a resolution on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development

Friday, January 31, 2020

NEW YORK, 19 December 2019 – the UN General Assembly (GA) at its 74th session adopted Resolution A/RES/74/229 on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The resolution sheds light on the important work that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) delivers to support the efforts of developing and least developed countries in establishing intellectual property (IP) strategies and national ecosystems that promote innovation and creativity and support the flow of knowledge and technical expertise. 


Of particular interest in this resolution is the reference to the measurement of national innovation systems, and notably to the Global Innovation Index (GII). In Paragraph 16, The General Assembly  "encourages efforts to increase the availability of data to support the measurement of national innovation systems (such as the existing Global Innovation Index) and empirical research on innovation and development to assist policy makers in designing and implementing innovation strategies in order to measure the impact of digital technologies for sustainable development". Under its terms, the GA also encourages enhanced capacity building to support developing countries in generating high quality, reliable disaggregated data, and international cooperation to strengthen the capacity of national statistical systems - key for the measurement of innovation systems.


It is the first time that the GII receives such a recognition by the GA, as it examines the potential of STI in accelerating the pace for sustainable development. This attests to the increased standing of the GII as a reference tool for member states that engage for the strengthening of their innovation systems.


The GA further provides guidance on other aspects of STI including the need to strengthen and foster investment in R&D for environmentally sound technologies, and the need to promote the involvement of the business and financial sectors in the development of those technologies - calling attention to the topical and critical question of financing innovation.


The resolution, which is a biennial one, requests the UN Secretary-General to report on its implementation at the 76th session of the General Assembly in 2021. 


Ola Zahran is Head of the World Intellectual Property Organisation Coordination Office in New York.


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