WIPO Negotiators End In Deadlock On Development AgendaPublished on 23 July 2005 @ 12:09 am
By William New, Intellectual Property Watch
After months of debate, officials addressing a proposal to make the World Intellectual Property Organisation more sensitive to developing countries could agree only that further discussion is needed.
“We had a chance to discuss a huge quantity of proposals made by delegations,” Chairman Rigoberto Gauto Vielman, the permanent representative of Paraguay in Geneva, said afterward. “These will be reported to the General Assembly without any comment on how they will be treated in the future,” leaving it up the assembly instead.
Officials generally agreed to further discuss development issues, but the key stumbling block was what forum within WIPO should be recommended to continue those discussions. In addition, delegates could not agree on the specifics of the proposals put forward to change WIPO to address development concerns. But progress toward consensus on some proposals was made.
Negotiators will gather a fourth time days prior to the late September WIPO General Assembly to finalize the report from the third meeting on the issue, which concluded on 22 July.
The proposal for a development agenda was first introduced at the General Assembly last October by Brazil and Argentina, who were joined by 12 other so-called Friends of Development. The assembly established an Intersessional Intergovernmental Meeting (IIM) to address the proposal and report back by the end of July.
The IIM met in three meetings of three days each, held in April, June and July. Numerous other proposals were introduced during the meetings, but in the end, no agreement was reached on them.
The chairman said the reports from the first two IIMs were final, and that a draft version of the report of the third meeting would be circulated in early August. The report of the third meeting will be considered in a fourth meeting to be held just before the General Assembly. But there will not be a reopening of debate on proposals, he said.
The lead U.S. delegate afterward remarked on the “good will” in the meeting, but said earlier during the meeting that it is “difficult to have a constructive debate” on intellectual property and development when the parties start from positions of such “profound” differences.
A developing country official said afterward there was no agreement on extending the IIM another year as proposed by the Friends of Development because the United States and Japan held their ground in support of a proposal to move development issues into an existing WIPO technical cooperation committee. Many developing countries view the technical body, called the Permanent Committee on Cooperation for Development Related to Intellectual Property, or PCIPD, as an ineffective venue for discussing broader proposals of WIPO reform.
An Indian delegate said late in the meeting that developing countries were being encouraged to “change horses” from the IIM to the PCIPD, but that this was really like being asked to “change from a horse to a mule.”