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    WIPO Development Agenda: Developing Countries Submit New Proposals

    Published on 6 April 2005 @ 7:15 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    On the eve of high-level meetings next week on development and intellectual property, the fourteen co-sponsors of the proposal for the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s new Development Agenda today submitted detailed elaborations of their proposals for incorporating development into WIPO’s work.

    The fourteen so-called Friends of Development asked the WIPO Secretariat to distribute the proposal to all WIPO Member States for consideration at two meetings to be held next week: an April 11-13 Inter-sessional Intergovernmental Meeting on the Development Agenda (IIM) and an April 14-15 meeting of the Permanent Committee on Cooperation for Development Related to Intellectual Property (PCIPD) .

    In a press release issued today, WIPO highlighted that the meetings next week follow the decision adopted by member states in the 2004 General Assembly debate “to convene inter-sessional intergovernmental meetings to examine the proposals contained” in the original Development Agenda proposal introduced last fall by Argentina and Brazil (and co-sponsored by an additional twelve developing countries), “as well as additional proposals of member states.”

    Under the rubric of “promoting development and access to knowledge for all”, the co-sponsors offered concrete recommendations on four aspects of their original Development Agenda proposal.

    First, the co-sponsors argued that reform of WIPO’s governance structure is a necessary prerequisite for promoting development in its work. They proposed amending the WIPO Convention to make it more consistent with WIPO’s mandate as a UN specialised agency, strengthening the role of Member States in guiding WIPO’s work, establishing an independent Evaluation and Research Office, and ensuring wider participation by civil society and public interest groups in WIPO discussions and activities.

    Second, the Friends of Development proposed principles to ensure that development objectives are central to all processes and outcomes of WIPO norm-setting activities, including greater Member State involvement in devising WIPO’s work plan, comprehensive assessment of the sustainable development implications of any proposed new laws; deeper consideration of the rights and interests of a broad range of stakeholders with respect to intellectual property; and stronger efforts to ensure that proposed standards support the objectives and provisions of other international instruments (such as the Millennium Development Goals).

    To ensure these guidelines have practical effect, the co-sponsors recommended independent, evidence-based “Development Impact Assessment” (DIA), the incorporation of provisions to recognise the difference between developed and developing WIPO Member States, and greater public consultation prior to any norm-setting discussion in WIPO.

    Third, the submission proposed mechanisms to ensure WIPO’s technical assistance and capacity building responds to the development goals of developing countries. The co-sponsors argued for the adoption by the 2005 WIPO General Assembly of a commitment to technical assistance programmes that are: development-focused, comprehensive and coherent; neutral, unbiased, and non-discriminatory; and tailor-made to respond to the expressed and distinct needs of a range of stakeholders. They argued that special attention should be paid to the different levels of development of various countries and fostering “the technical capacity of countries to fully use in-built flexibilities in international agreements to advance national pro-development policies.”

    In order to make “good use of the limited resources allocated to intellectual property technical assistance in WIPO”, the Friends of Development recommended concrete measures to implement and monitor adherence to these guidelines, such as measures for improved information-sharing, a code of ethics to assure the independence of technical assistance providers, the development of indicators and benchmarks for evaluation, and greater transparency about the design and implementation of technical assistance programmes. The proposal also called for analysis of options for separating WIPO’s technical assistance function from its norm-setting function.

    Fourth, the submission argued that WIPO should contribute to international discussion of what developed countries can do to facilitate the transfer and dissemination of technology to developing countries and recommended several new initiatives at the multilateral level.

    In their submission, the Friends of Development emphasised their view that “the development dimension of intellectual property is not the same thing as technical assistance.” They affirmed that they attach importance “to the role of intellectual property in the path towards development” and stressed their belief that “WIPO could have a new role…if it incorporates the development dimension into its work”.

    The proposal also responded to the question of where best to locate the Development Agenda discussion in the long-term. The co-sponsors stated that the Development Agenda “cannot be limited to or contained within the work of any specific subsidiary body within WIPO” but must be pursued “in all areas of WIPO’s activities, including in the work of all standing committees and other subsidiary bodies”.

    Finally, indicating that more is still to come, the Friends of Development noted that their proposal is not exhaustive and they “reserve the right to make additional contributions to the debate as discussions continue”.

    Sisule Musungu of the South Centre, a key developing country inter-governmental think-tank, today applauded developing countries for their collaborative effort to give practical effect to the Development Agenda and to bolster the work of WIPO. Proactive proposals from developing countries, he argued, help WIPO realise its long-stated goal of making its approach to IP relevant and supportive of development. In addition, he said that the “issues raised in the proposals cover not only the concerns of developing countries but also the interests of key constituencies (such as consumers) in the North.”

    A developing country official highlighted that the new submission should put to rest claims by some developed countries that they “do not understand” the original Development Agenda proposal. The Development Agenda discussion, he said, brings WIPO up-to-date with other international organizations—from the World Bank to the WTO—which have undertaken similarly useful processes of introspection to ensure their actions achieve development-oriented results.

    The WIPO Secretariat noted today that it had also received submissions from Mexico (on Intellectual Property and Development) and the United States (on the Establishment of a Partnership Program in WIPO) related to next week’s discussions.

    Sources in Geneva predict strong reactions and a lively debate among the Secretariat, WIPO Member States, and other stakeholders on these proposals in the coming days.

    The Friends of Development Group comprises the co-sponsors of the original proposal to establish a WIPO “Development Agenda” (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Venezuela).

    The WIPO Secretariat also drew attention today to an International Seminar on Intellectual Property and Development to be held on May 2 and 3, 2005 (co-organized by WIPO with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and World Trade Organization (WTO)). According to the Secretariat, this event is open to all interested parties, including the press.

    Categories: Development, WHO, WIPO

     


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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