Poor management of intellectual property rights and the system of intellectual property rights itself hinder equal research partnerships between the South and
the North, and often result in an over-cautious or one-sided Northern investment policy and unnecessary delays in the realization of some of the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Central to this report is the double role of intellectual property rights - also referred to in terms like 'protecting
legitimate economic interests' versus (or alongside) 'the need to contribute to worldwide development from the perspective of sharing global public goods', including knowledge. This report is the result of a research project, funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NWO-WOTRO Science for
Global Development, on the role of intellectual property rights in realizing some of the MDGs. The emphasis is on issues in the field of access to food and to medicines and on the larger discussions on the present global and regional systems of intellectual property rights.