Independent Assessment Of Development Dimension In WIPO Delayed

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World Intellectual Property Organization delegates could not find agreement on how to carry out an independent review of the implementation of how the 2007 WIPO Development Agenda Recommendations have been implemented in the organisation.

One of the prickliest items of the 12th session of the WIPO Committee on Intellectual Property and Development (CDIP), held from 18-21 November, was agreeing on terms of reference of an independent review of WIPO’s implementation of the Development Agenda, which was intended to ensure that a development dimension was infused into all of the UN agency’s work.

The last version [pdf] of the terms of reference is dated 21 November. According to a source, agreement was reached on the first paragraph of the “background”, as well as the small paragraph under “Purpose and Scope of the Review.” The rest of the document is a compilation of various proposals from delegations. The parts highlighted in yellow and green are specific points of disagreement within these proposals, the source said.

A coordination mechanism was adopted in 2010 to promote the aim of the Development Agenda, which itself seeks to ensure that development considerations form an integral part of WIPO’s work. Part of the decision includes a request that the CDIP undertake an independent review of the implementation of the Development Agenda Recommendations at the end of the 2012-2013 biennium.

After informal consultations took place during the week, delegates could not conclude their work on the terms of reference.

A first draft [pdf] of the chair’s summary of the meeting released in the afternoon of the last day of the meeting bore several missing decisions by the committee (Paragraph 12, 1, 15 and 17). Among them was the issue of the independent review. It took delegates a good part of the evening to reach agreement on the next steps to take as it became evident that the CDIP would fail to meet the goal of the 2010 decision.

Points of view differed on the progress made this week and the next steps forward. Developed countries declared that good progress had been made, while developing countries underlined the fact that no agreement could be reached on the terms of reference. They asked that intersessional work be undertaken before the next session of the CDIP. This met with refusal from developed countries, which said many experts from capital, essential to the discussions could not been brought back to Geneva for this purpose before the next session of the CDIP in May 2014.

Finally, CDIP Vice-Chair Ekaterine Egutia, deputy head of the National Intellectual Property Center (SAKPATENTI) in Georgia, suggested a compromise solution in which the chair or vice-chair of the CDIP would compile and redraft the terms of reference following the 12th session informal discussions, and submit a single document that would be a basis for discussion at the 13th session of the CDIP.

Some developing countries said that informal consultations are the norm at WIPO and found it hard to understand the resistance of developed countries.

After a long discussion, delegations agreed on continuing discussion in the next session of the CDIP, with sufficient time allocated for finalising the terms of reference.

Delegations will have to submit comments by the end of January 2014 and the chair will prepare draft terms based on the consensus reached this week, the comments received by delegations, and contribution by the WIPO secretariat in terms of budget and timeline. One informal consultation will be held prior to the 13th session of the CDIP.

This is reflected in the final version of the Summary by the Chair [pdf], agreed on late last night and published today.

Open Issues Left for Next Session

Given the late hour, it was decided by the committee that the two other items left open for discussion in the draft summary by the chair would be taken up at the next session. The items are an international conference on intellectual property and development, and the external review of WIPO technical assistance in the area of cooperation for development.

The CDIP decided to discuss a proposal for establishing a standing agenda item on IP and development at the next session (IPW, WIPO, 21 November 2013). The summary by the chair reads that further discussion will be held “with the view to reporting back and making recommendations on the implementation of the CDIP mandate and the Coordination Mechanisms to the General Assembly in 2014.”

WIPO and the MDGs

During the week the committee examined a document on the measurement of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in other UN agencies and the contribution of WIPO to the MDGs. Some developing countries argued that the document did not include specific indicators to measure WIPO’s contribution to the MDGs and emitted doubts on the choice of agencies by the secretariat in the document.

They regretted the absence in the list of UN specialised agencies (like WIPO) such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF or the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and noted that the World Trade Organization, which was included in the list, is not a UN agency.

The African Group also said that the methodology employed for the comparison, which relied on publicly available information and documents from the respective agencies’ website, was contestable. Some key information is not publicly available, the delegate said, and organisations should be contacted for additional information.

Other criticism came from the fact that the evaluation was based on WIPO Results Based Management (RBM) and as such was a self-assessment.

The committee decided to expand the survey to include person-to-person contacts with staff at the agencies surveyed, and extend agencies to cover some additional UN organisations and programmes. The revised document should be presented at the 14th session of the CDIP.

Future Work, Loaded Agenda

The secretariat presented a list of proposed items on the agenda of the next session of the CDIP, and said the secretariat would seek the guidance of the committee chair on time allocation and agenda items.

On the menu for the 13th session are the discussion on the terms of reference of the independent review, an international conference on IP and development, the external review of WIPO technical assistance, the 2013 WIPO General Assembly decision on CDIP matters, and the report by the director general on the implementation of the Development Agenda.

Also to be discussed a number of evaluation reports, between four and six, as some projects are nearing completion, discussion on a new project submitted by Egypt on IP and tourism, and further work on patent-related flexibilities in the multilateral legal framework.

The secretariat was requested at the 11th session of the CDIP last May to undertake work on two flexibilities: the scope of the exclusion from patentability of plants, and flexibilities in respect of the patentability, or exclusion from patentability, of software-related inventions. A document will be presented on those two flexibilities at the next session, the secretariat said.

Catherine Saez may be reached at

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