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Environment & Health

 The United Nations is actively pursuing an agenda of global regulation in the areas of economic and social rights, particularly as they pertain to environmental rights and the right to health. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) facilitate the development of networks for the promotion and protection of these rights. The UN relies on a Matrix of Human Rights Governance Networks to create and manage the global regulation of environmental rights and the right to health. The ten human rights governance networks comprising the Matrix work in successive stages: the advocacy networks generate the idea for an emerging right; the research networks conduct research to support the right; the policy networks design policy; the standards-setting networks adopt the right as standard; the interpretive networks determine the nature and scope of the right; the explanatory networks explain the right; the implementation networks promotes legislation to protect the right; the assessment networks encourage respect for the right; the enforcement networks penalize the violators; and the funding networks help sustain one or more of the human rights governance networks comprising the Matrix.

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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

UNDP Urges South Africa to Change IP Law for Medicine Access
As South Africa drafts a new national intellectual property ("IP") policy, the UN Development Programme ("UNDP") has called on the country to use tools that are available under international trade law and to reform its patent policies to allow for greater access to medicine.

NGOs Fight Intellectual Property Rights
IP attaches stationed around the world by the US Patent and Trademark Office report that non-governmental organizations are playing a substantial role in attempting to undermine rights to intellectual property.

WIPO Official Argues for Rules-Based International Intellectual Property System
In a speech to the annual Assemblies of World Intellectual Property Organization member states, Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, said that new economic and technological realities require that a system of international rules on intellectual property be put in place in order to encourage innovation and create an "even playing field" among competitors.

Pharma Consultant Criticizes Merger of Policy Function into CSR Function
In a recent post on PharmExecBlog, Susan Crowley, a former Merck executive who now advises companies on global issues, explains the short-sightedness of the recent trend toward shifting responsibility for corporate global policy development and advocacy to corporate social responsibility departments that do not understand, and are not trained to adequately address, the complicated policy issues arising in the global economy.

HRC Resolution Challenges Intellectual Property Rights Protections
At its 20th Session, the UN Human Rights Council supported recommendations made by the UN Special Rapporteur for Cultural Diversity that would shift the present approach to the protection of intellectual property to a "minimalist" approach that would treat IP as a "public good."
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SUSTAINABILITY

UN Calls for "Unprecedented" Action to Counter Global Warming
A new report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has called for global cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and explores experimental options such as removing emissions from the air and burying them underground.

Activists Seek to Diminish Business Role in "Sustainability" Goals
Civil society activists have expressed alarm that "private sector actors" could "drown out" calls from civil society for a transformative set of Post-2015 UN Sustainability Goals and are seeking a commitment from organizers that businesses that wish to participate respect and report on human rights.

UN Group Holds Meetings on Global Ocean Governance
A working group of UN member states is engaging in a series of meetings to consider a treaty that would provide for the multilateral protection of marine biodiversity as part of UN efforts to advance global governance of the oceans.

Professor Withdraws from UN Climate Change Report
U.K. Professor Richard Tol of the University of Sussex has asked that his name be removed from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on the impacts of global warming, calling the report "alarmist" and arguing that it overestimates climate change's economic impact.

UN Pushes Environmental Targets in Development Goals
At the first meeting of the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives to the UN Environment Programme, governments and UN officials discussed how to push specific "targets and indicators" for the "environmental dimension" of the post-2015 UN development goals.