Tech Access Partnership, a new UN initiative to strengthen developing countries’ responses to COVID-19

The Open COVID Pledge unites technology developers and manufacturers in sharing intellectual property to fight COVID-19. Our Pledgors collectively hold over 100k patents covering important innovations including crisis-critical technologies such as PPE, ventilators, and swabs. Our goal is that pledged IP is put to use to save lives and limit the impact of the global pandemic.

However, we are aware that many manufacturers who could deploy pledged technologies and benefit thousands of people, particularly in developing countries, have to overcome challenges extending beyond the availability of intellectual property.

We therefore greatly welcome the launch of the Tech Access Partnership (TAP) on 12 May 2020, a joint initiative from The United Nations Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries, together with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

TAP will strengthen developing countries’ responses to COVID-19 and increase access to lifesaving health technologies by connecting existing manufacturers and holders of essential technologies with emerging local manufacturers to share knowledge, know-how, and resources. Their efforts will enable in-country production of PPE, diagnostics, and medical devices to be scaled up, increasing affordability and availability while building future capacity.

“We must stand together to support all countries and ensure equitable access to lifesaving technologies.” — Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization

The TAP partners are establishing a digital resource of manufacturing and design specifications, providing access to regulatory and technical guidance plus offering match-making between technology holders and local producers. Moreover, they will support countries to develop local innovations, building on existing technologies such as those made available through the Open COVID Pledge.

“COVID-19 has shown us that a disease outbreak anywhere is a threat everywhere. We must stand together to support all countries and ensure equitable access to lifesaving technologies,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO. “Scaling up access to medicines and health technologies in these countries is essential to slow new infections and avoid unnecessary deaths.

The Open COVID Pledge initiative looks forward to standing together with TAP to further our shared goals and enable critical technologies to be deployed without delay in the fight against COVID-19.

Jenny Molloy