Sunday 14 January 2024

IP and the Sustainable Development Goals in Wales


Jane Lambert

In World IP Day 2024 - IP and the Sustainable Development Goals I reported that the theme for this year's World Intellectual Property Day would be IP and the SDGs: Building our common future with innovation and creativity.  Nowhere in the UK attaches more importance to those goals than Wales.  It was one of the first countries in the world to adopt a constitutional duty of sustainable development.  It announced its first Sustainable Development Scheme – Learning to Live Differently in 2000.  The National Assembly for Wales (as the Senedd was then known) enacted the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.  In 2019 the Welsh government published Wales and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

S.5 of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 sets out a table of goals that are compatible with but not identical to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.   These are known as the "Well-being Goals":

  • "A prosperous Wales:  An innovative, productive and low carbon society which recognises the limits of the global environment and therefore uses resources efficiently and proportionately (including acting on climate change); and which develops a skilled and well-educated population in an economy which generates wealth and provides employment opportunities, allowing people to take advantage of the wealth generated through securing decent work. 
  • A resilient Wales: A nation which maintains and enhances a biodiverse natural environment with healthy functioning ecosystems that support social, economic and ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change (for example climate change).
  • A healthier Wales: A society in which people's physical and mental well-being is maximised and in which choices and behaviours that benefit future health are understood.
  • A more equal Wales: A society that enables people to fulfil their potential no matter what their background or circumstances (including their socio economic background and circumstances).
  • A Wales of cohesive communities: Attractive, viable, safe and well-connected communities. 
  • A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language: A society that promotes and protects culture, heritage and the Welsh language, and which encourages people to participate in the arts, and sports and recreation. 
  • A globally responsible Wales: A nation which, when doing anything to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales, takes account of whether doing such a thing may make a positive contribution to global well-being."
Obligations are placed upon the Ministers of the Welsh Government and public services to promote the Well-Being Goals.   An official known as The Future Generations Commissioner of Wales is established by s.17 to promote the sustainable development principles and perform the functions in s.19.

As the Well-Being Goals are fewer and more tightly defined than the 17 Sustainable Development Goals it will be easier to relate them to intellectual property law.  For example, the legal protection of branding, design, technology and creative works is essential to the prosperity of Wales and more or less anything said on those topics would be relevant.  A Healthier Wales can focus on the needs of the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries in Wales and on the use of artificial intelligence and big data in finding new medicines and treatments.  "A Wales of Vibrant Culture and thriving Welsh language:" could discuss the arts, universities, education, broadcasting and cinema in Wales.

 On all those topics the management of the Menai Science Park and the park's businesses are brimming with talent and experience.   If the net is cast wider to catch AberInnovation, Tramshed, the Pontio Centre and the Universities Wales can create a brilliant contribution to IP and the Sustainable Development Goals.  In an upcoming meeting with Emily Roberts and Iwan Pitts, I shall suggest a programme based on Wales's unique contribution to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals for M-SParc's World IP Day celebrations..

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on 020 7404 5252 during normal office hours or send me a message through my contact page,

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