Public health, innovation, intellectual property and trade

WHO-WIPO-WTO Technical Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals: Innovative technologies to promote healthy lives and well-being*

Date of the event: 26 February 2018 (09:00 to 17:15)
Location: Geneva, Switzerland (WHO Headquarters, Executive Board Room)

The event was open to Geneva-based delegations to WHO, WIPO and WTO, representatives of international and philanthropic organizations, experts on intellectual property and trade, civil society organizations and interested individuals and organizations.

The programme of the event is available here.

A summary of the event is available here.

Further details about the trilateral cooperation can be accessed here.


The post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out an ambitious plan for action: to reach and empower the most vulnerable and take action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet. The Sustainable Development Goals usher in a new era of global development that seeks to leave no one behind. Achievement of the SDGs will require a delicate choreography of interplay between all stakeholders.

Access to, and innovation in, health technologies is a requisite element for ensuring progress toward universal health coverage and achievement of the SDGs, namely SDG 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Scientific progress, advances in health technologies and improved trade have contributed to unprecedented improvements in health outcomes. However, gains in life expectancy and quality of life are unequally distributed between low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Troubling inequalities in the burden of disease are, in part, attributed to the disparate access to health technologies. As a fundamental human right, the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health obliges governments to ensure appropriate access to essential medicines.

The seventh technical symposium organized by WHO, WIPO, WTO discussed challenges and opportunities for the international community to ensure that innovative technologies are developed and reach patients in order to realize the right to health and the health-related SDGs. The Symposium offered a forum for an evidence-based exchange of views and experiences of the various stakeholders and representatives of the relevant sectors. Innovative, inclusive, and multi-stakeholder initiatives and partnerships that research, develop and facilitate access to novel, needs-based health technologies were highlighted. The exchange provided the basis for discussion and allowed participants to achieve a better understanding of the benefits, drawbacks, and impact of the various available options.

The joint technical symposia convened by WHO, WIPO and WTO build on the collaborative work undertaken by the three agencies to enhance capacity, including the trilateral study “Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation.”

Our partners

Trilateral study

Last update:

9 March 2018 16:11 CET

Audios, videos and slide presentations from the symposium

09:00 – 09:30 Introductory Remarks

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus - Director-General, WHO
Francis Gurry - Director General, WIPO
Roberto Azevêdo - Director-General, WTO

10:30 – 11:45 Panel 1 - Global health data, disease burden and the challenges ahead

Moderator: Ellen ‘t Hoen, Medicines Law & Policy, and Global Health Unit, University Medical Centre Groningen,
The Netherlands

13:30 – 14:45 Panel 2 - Technology as a driver of medical progress and access

Moderator: Charles Randolph, Head, Global Health, Global Challenges Division,

15:15 – 16:30 Panel 3 – How policy choices impact on access to innovative technologies

Moderator: Antony Taubman, Director, Intellectual Property Division,