Coordination Tops Issues At WIPO Development Agenda Meeting

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Deciding on a mechanism to ensure the effective implementation of the World Intellectual Property Organization Development Agenda will be the biggest area of discussion at this week’s WIPO meeting on IP and development, sources have said. But discussion also will focus on specific implementation projects.

The Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) is meeting from 16-20 November. There are two proposals on the table for coordination mechanisms: one from Algeria, Brazil, and Pakistan and one from the Group B of developed countries. The Algeria, Brazil, Pakistan proposal is being supported by a large group of like-minded developing countries.

The CDIP has a new chair: Mohamed Abderraouf Bdioui Raouf of Tunisia. Bdioui was previously vice-chair of the WIPO General Assemblies in September, where a new mandate for WIPO’s committee on traditional knowledge was negotiated. The previous CDIP chair, Trevor Clarke of Barbados, will take up a post as WIPO assistant director general of copyright and related rights in December, along with other new top officials at WIPO. Also new at the committee is Creative Commons, whose observer status was approved yesterday, according to sources.

The committee also is working on projects implementing the 2007 Development Agenda, which included 45 recommendations.

This morning a project on access to patent information [pdf] was approved. Discussion on a project on technology transfer and intellectual property [pdf] was ongoing. Additional suggestions by “like-minded” countries on technology transfer are expected to be discussed this afternoon, sources said.

CHF 2.3 million francs (US$ 2.27 million) were provisionally earmarked for start-up costs of Development Agenda projects that will be discussed this week (IPW, WIPO, 22 September 2009).

Coordination Mechanism

At issue with Development Agenda coordination is the scope of involvement in other WIPO committees as well as the strength of the oversight mechanism.

There is a need for “systemic realignment leading to the mainstreaming of the recommendations of the agenda into the work of all WIPO bodies,” said a statement of Brazil at the opening session, adding that the agenda is “fundamentally about cultural change; about WIPO joining the other UN agencies in pursuing the Millennium Development goals.” To that end, their proposal in coordination with Algeria and Pakistan envisions an organisation-wide effort to implement development goals.

The proposal asks all WIPO bodies to identify the ways in which Development Agenda “would be mainstreamed” in their work, and then to attempt to implement its recommendations. It would also instruct all documents coming out of the secretariat or consultants – including reports, negotiating texts, and studies – be prepared in line with Development Agenda Recommendation 22, which says WIPO’s norm-setting activities should support UN development goals.

It further suggests mandating two special sessions of the CDIP annually devoted specifically to coordination, monitoring and assessment of the implementation process, and that a biennial review of the work be undertaken by experts nominated by member states. The WIPO Audit Committee would also be asked for periodic reviews.

The coordination mechanism adds value as it provides a way to objectively and transparently measure the impact of Development Agenda programmes on innovation, creativity, and the dissemination of knowledge and technology in member states, said the statement of the African Group endorsing Algeria, Brazil, and Pakistan’s proposal.

The Group B proposal says that the methodology of the CDIP implementation itself is a sufficient framework to ensure monitoring and assessment, in particular the approach of handling Agenda projects along thematic lines.

This approach “significantly contributes to enhance efficiency and coherence in the implementation” of the Development Agenda’s 45 recommendations, said the Group B opening statement.

Group B’s proposal suggests that updates be regularly provided to the CDIP and the General Assemblies on work undertaken by other “relevant WIPO bodies” and that those relevant bodies “work towards” making the Development Agenda a mainstreamed part of their activities, to be included in their annual reports to WIPO’s decision-making General Assemblies.

The relevant bodies are “those that have received a mandate from the General Assembly to implement specific Development Agenda recommendations.”

Kaitlin Mara may be reached at kmara@ip-watch.ch.

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