WIPO Committee Opens With Debate On Review Of Development Agenda Implementation

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The World Intellectual Property Organization development committee opened its meeting this week with a heavy list of subjects to cover but developing country delegates insisted on diving headfirst into the issue of an independent review to measure how WIPO applies a development dimension to its activities.

The 12th session of the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) is taking place from 18-21 November. This four-day session is shorter than usual to allow on the fifth day the second WIPO annual conference on South-South cooperation on intellectual property and development, to be held on 22 November.

CDIP Chair Mohamed Siad Doualeh, the ambassador of Djibouti, signalled that general statements would not be delivered during the session.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said that considerable progress has been made in the last several years in the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda. The projects developed in the CDIP, he said, have “far reaching effects and achievements.”

On the agenda this week, he underlined the question of the contribution of WIPO [pdf] to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which he said was “an extremely important subject”. He also said WIPO has joined the MDG Gap Taskforce and participated in the taskforce meeting in February 2013, in particular in the issue of the access to essential and affordable medicines and IP rights, he said. WIPO is now an observer to that taskforce, he added.

General Assembly Decision on Review

When the 2010 WIPO General Assembly took the decision to establish a Coordination Mechanism to mainstream the Development Agenda across all WIPO bodies, it also included a request for the CDIP to undertake an independent review of the implementation of the Development Agenda recommendations at the end of the 2012-2013 biennium. This session of the CDIP is the last session of the biennium.

At the last session of the CDIP, from 13-17 May, the African Group and the Development Agenda Group (DAG) submitted a joint proposal [pdf] on terms and reference and methodology for an independent review of the implementation of the 2007 Development Agenda Recommendations (IPW, WIPO, 18 May 2013).

The joint proposal states the purpose of the review and lists specific items that should be reviewed. These include the appropriateness, utility and adequacy of the activities undertaken to implement the relevant Development Agenda recommendations, assess the effectiveness and impact of the project-based approach to the implementation of Development Agenda recommendations, and the overall impact of Development Agenda implementation especially in mainstreaming a development orientation across all WIPO bodies, programmes and staff. It also suggests making recommendations on how to further implementation of the Development Agenda recommendations.

The WIPO Development Agenda includes 45 recommendations, grouped into six clusters (Technical Assistance and Capacity Building; Norm-setting, Flexibilities, Public Policy and Public domain; Technology Transfer, Information and Communication Technologies and Access to Knowledge; Assessment, Evaluation and Impact Studies; Institutional Matters including Mandate and Governance; Other issues).

At the outset of the session, many developing countries, such as the African Group, the DAG, the Asia and Pacific Group, and Trinidad and Tobago underlined the fact that the CDIP needs to reach a decision during this session on the issue of the independent review and as such the issue should be discussed as a matter of priority.

The draft agenda [pdf] listed this discussion as part of Item 5. The CDIP Chair agreed to move this item as the first to be discussed.

Japan, on behalf of the Group B of developed countries, said the review should be precise, practical, clear, and concise. According to the 2010 Assembly decision, Japan said, the scope of the independent review is clearly the implementation of the Development Agenda recommendations. Therefore, the delegate said, the exercise should focus on how and to what extent the respective recommendations have been implemented, based on the exact scope defined by the language of respective recommendations without broadening the scope to more general issues such as development activities of WIPO as a whole.

Group B members were still discussing the best way forward to meet the mandate of the review and “some interesting ideas” have been formulated by some members, he said, adding that the review should also avoid overlapping with previous exercises. This point was also underlined by the Group of Central European and Baltic States. The European Union added that the review should be confined to relevant WIPO bodies.

Algeria, on behalf of the African Group, said the study should be exhaustive and complete, which did not agree with the term “concise,” the delegate said. The Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC) said the terms of reference in the joint proposal provide a good working basis and practical framework for discussion.

The United Kingdom proposed that the WIPO secretariat prepare terms of reference based on United Nations practices, which was supported by Group B. This proposal however, was opposed by the African Group, who said such initiative would amount to a lack of consideration for a proposal by member states.

Several countries asked for a drafting session to reach common language on the terms of reference of the independent review. It was agreed that a drafting session would take place on 19 November in the afternoon.

List of Studies, Projects, Progress Reports

During the week, the CDIP will have to review a number of studies: a Study on Patents and the Public Domains (CDIP/12/INF/2 REV) [pdf]; a Scoping Study on Strengthening and Development of the Audiovisual Sector in Burkina Faso and Certain African Countries (CDIP/12/INF/3) [pdf]; a Study on Intellectual Property and Brain Drain – A Mapping Exercise (CDIP/12/INF/4) [pdf]; a Study on the Use of Utility Models in Thailand (CDIP/12/INF/6) [pdf].

Among projects are: a Pilot Project on Intellectual Property (IP) and Design Management for Business Development in Developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) (CDIP/12/6) [pdf]; a Pilot Development Agenda Project on Intellectual Property and Tourism: Supporting Development Objectives and Preservation of Cultural Heritage (CDIP/12/10) [pdf]. Also an Implementation Proposal on Possible new WIPO Activities Related to Using Copyright to Promote Access to Information and Creative Content (CDIP/12/9) [pdf].

A number of progress reports also are on the agenda: an Evaluation Report on the Project on Capacity Building in the Use of Appropriate Technology – Specific Technical and Scientific Information as a Solution for Identified Development Challenges (Recommendations 19, 30 and 31) (CDIP/12/3) [pdf]; an Evaluation Report of the Project on Enhancement of WIPO’s Results Based Management (RBM) Framework to Support the Monitoring and Evaluation of Development Activities (CDIP/12/4) [pdf].

Several progress reports are also listed in document CDIP12/2 [pdf], including specialised databases’ access and support, now in phase II; a pilot project for the establishment of “start-up” national IP academies, also in phase II; a project on IP and product branding for business development in developing countries and least-developed countries, and a project on IP and socio-economic development.

Also on the agenda of this session: a Manual on the Delivery of WIPO Technical Assistance [pdf]. According to the document, the manual “is prepared in response to a recommendation made by Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the Eleventh Session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) which called for more transparency in the delivery of WIPO technical assistance and requested WIPO to compile existing technical assistance related materials into a comprehensive Manual on delivery of technical assistance..”

New WIPO Website

Separately, Gurry said WIPO had updated its website “by providing resources on the work taking place in the organisation.”

He said WIPO hopes the new website “will be a much better tool for accessing the information.” Significant improvements were implemented, he said, amongst which the new website “responsive design.” This responsive design allows the system to pick up the device that is being used to access the website and adjust the presentation of its content accordingly, he explained.

Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

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