Innovation could be solution to food insecurity: WIPO

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Francis Gurry, head of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), who warned that investment in innovation continued to be low. Photo: UN Photo/Daniel Johnson

Innovation is a key development tool and it could provide "a way out" of the growing squeeze on the world's food resources, the UN said on Thursday.

Francis Gurry, Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), made the announcement during the publication of a key annual global innovation index.

It showed that Switzerland topped the table for the seventh year running, while India and several Sub-Saharan African states also showed significant progress.

Daniel Johnson has more.

For this 10th edition of the Global Innovation Index, the focus is on how creativity in agriculture and the food sector is helping to feed the world.

This is already one of the major challenges of the 21st century, according to Francis Gurry, Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which co-authored the report.

"Innovation is our major tool for addressing the significant social challenges that confront the world, such as feeding a growing population with competing uses for land resources. Innovation is the way out."

For the moment, rich countries continue to dominate global innovation in terms of most new products and services: Switzerland, the United States and EU nations.

It's a situation that's changed little since last year.

Although China watchers will note that the country's innovation ranking moved up three places in the last 12 months, to 22nd out of nearly 130 nations.

From a more global perspective, there's good news from this year's finding that a slightly higher number of poor to middle-income states have performed significantly better on innovation than their level of development would suggest.

These nations – 17 in all this year – include India, Malaysia and Vietnam-"new Asian tigers", according to the WIPO report.

They also feature no less than nine sub-Saharan African states, such as Rwanda, Kenya and Malawi, and three from Eastern Europe.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’31″



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