US Holds Out On Extension Of High-Level Meeting On Development Agenda 30/09/2005 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)After a week of meetings at the World Intellectual Property Organisation General Assembly, the United States is possibly alone in firmly objecting to the continuation of a high-level meeting on a proposal for a WIPO development agenda. The proposal for cross-cutting reform of WIPO toward developing country concerns was first introduced at the General Assemblies in October 2004 by Argentina and Brazil, who were joined by 12 other so-called Friends of Development. The proposal was elaborated upon during the year and would effect profound changes to WIPO’s structure and operation including greater transparency in policy-making and budget-setting, an office to evaluate the development impact of WIPO activities, and changing it to better resemble other UN bodies. The 2004 General Assembly mandated that an Intersessional Intergovernmental Meeting (IIM) address the issue, which it did in three meetings of three days each in April, June and July (finalized in September). During those meetings other proposals arose from the African Group, 11 Arab countries led by Bahrain, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States. But the debate at the General Assembly is not on the substance of proposals but rather over how to continue to discussing the issues. The Friends of Development have proposed three more sessions of the IIM in 2006, an idea that has the support of the vast majority of WIPO members. The United States appears to be isolated in its insistence that the IIM process must be discontinued and the development agenda be moved to the WIPO Permanent Committee on Cooperation for Development Related to Intellectual Property (PCIPD). Japan has also supported this proposal, but Japanese officials could not be found at presstime to confirm whether their position has become flexible. Under the PCIPD proposal, credited to the United Kingdom, the committee would be “reinvigorated” for the purpose. The United Kingdom assumed the presidency of the European Union on 1 July, and the EU at the July IIM backed the call for the continuation of the IIM process, but it has since shown flexibility on the forum for discussions. The EU proposal included the suggestion that the continuation of the IIM process use funds allocated for the PCIPD. Developing countries have resisted the PCIPD proposal out of concern that it would marginalise the development agenda, which they argue cuts across core areas at WIPO. The United States argued in a floor statement Thursday that WIPO has not ignored development concerns and that intellectual property does not hinder development. The IIM meetings have not provided a forum for an in-depth examination of all proposals, and that no consensus has emerged on any of the proposals put forward in the IIM, the US delegate said. The US further said it supports a “frank exchange of views” and work to respond to developing country needs, but that the IIM process “was a compromise, time-limited, and reached the end of its mandate at the end of July 2005.” The time has come for a permanent forum to discuss the issues, and the PCIPD would be the best as it could be easily converted, it said. “Despite our belief that WIPO is not, and should not become, a core development body, we do support WIPO improving its efforts, within its core competencies to bring the benefits of IP to all of its member states,” the US delegate said, adding that this could be added to the PCIPD mandate. Some in the hallways at WIPO’s headquarters this week have said there is a negotiating link between the three remaining key unresolved issues in the General Assembly: the development agenda, a diplomatic conference on a broadcasters’ rights treaty and continued discussion at WIPO of patent harmonisation. All three issues are now subject to informal consultations in private meetings. The General Assembly runs from 26 September to 5 October. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "US Holds Out On Extension Of High-Level Meeting On Development Agenda" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.