For nearly half a century, Pedro Roffe has been a catalyst and an influential leader in the global debates shaping today’s international intellectual property system, particularly its interface with a range of issues such as technology transfer, trade, development, investment and public health. For many, his name has been synonymous with discussions on technology transfer and intellectual property rights. At the secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) where he spent most of his professional career, Pedro Roffe played an instrumental role in the negotiations on the International Code of Conduct on Technology Transfer and in pioneering the debate on the implications of the TRIPS Agreement for developing countries. Upon leaving the United Nations, Pedro joined the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) where, for the past fifteen years, he spearheaded a vast body of policy research addressing the many dimensions of the global intellectual property system, and identifying new directions and policy options for development. This influential literature addresses the challenges of innovation and intellectual property in the context of the WTO, WIPO and free-trade agreements with the explicit aim of facilitating sustainable development and public policy objectives. Generations of trade negotiators, policy makers, international civil servants, scholars and students around the world have benefited from Pedro Roffe’s depth of knowledge, experience and insight in seeking to achieve a better understanding of the complex dynamics surrounding these issues.
A man of dialogue and a humanist, Pedro Roffe worked relentlessly to bridge the gap between different ideological viewpoints, and to overcome entrenched positions in order to reach compromises and find solutions that advance mutual understanding, international collaboration and, more broadly, the public good. Throughout his illustrious career, he fostered incalculable connections between people of different backgrounds which have resulted in lasting partnerships, associations and intellectual ventures that have enriched and influenced international discussions on trade and intellectual property.
This conference will pay tribute to the seminal contributions of Pedro Roffe to international cooperation and diplomacy in the fields of intellectual property, trade and development. Most of all, it will pay tribute to his quest for a balanced dialogue on intellectual property rights, public policy and development. Leading academics, diplomats and policy makers will gather to reflect intently on a range of issues at the intersection of trade, technology and innovation. The conference agenda addresses contemporary challenges in intellectual property, trade and innovation policy, with attention to policy levers conducive to forging new institutional platforms that are better equipped to deal with the multifaceted dynamics of the modern global regulatory and economic order.