UNCTAD Forum: Local Drug Manufacturing A Key To Universal Health Coverage

Michel Sidibé Executive Director of UNAIDS at UNCTAD Investment Forum

Local production of medicines in developing countries is key to advancing universal health coverage, but other factors need to be considered, such as the involvement of all stakeholders and policy coherence in governments, according to speakers attending the World Investment Forum this week. Several speakers called for a paradigm shift in global health.

UPOV Governing Body Meets This Week Amid Civil Society Concerns Over Harmonisation

Plant Variety - Flickr - Dwight Sipler

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is holding meetings of its governing and technical bodies this week. In particular, the UPOV Council is expected to renew Francis Gurry’s mandate as the organisation’s secretary-general, approve technical documents, and confirm the conformity of a Tanzanian plant breeders’ rights act.

Meanwhile, civil society has sounded the alarm over what it considers to be efforts to harmonise the application and examination procedures by the seed industry. Separately, a civil society study, carried out on three developing countries claims that UPOV 1991 might be threatening the global right to food.

“Trade Matters” For BRICS In Africa, So Does Internet Connectivity

publicForumLogo 2014

Last week’s World Trade Organization Public Forum hosted dozens of panels on the general theme of “why trade matters.” A panel focusing on the role of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) found that the new BRICS Development Bank could foster infrastructure development in Africa, while another panel said that removing barriers to internet connectivity is key to economic growth.

Formal IP System Does Not Fit Africa, LDCs Need Technological Capacity, Speakers Say

Tobias Schonwetter

On the last day of the World Trade Organization Public Forum, a panel discussed the relationship between intellectual property and innovation in Africa, in particular in the informal sector. The formal IP system does not seems to fit, and least-developed countries need a sound technological base to be able to use the IP system. Separately, a European Patent Office study shows that Africa has a vast yet untapped potential in renewable energy.

Global Value Chains In Africa: Set Of Preconditions Needed To Be Profitable, Panel Says

Susan Bingi address WTO Public Forum

At the World Trade Organization Public Forum last week, a panel explored opportunities for Africa in global and regional value chains. A certain level of development needs to be achieved so that countries can benefit from global value chains, speakers said.

WTO Director General Wants To Put Human Dimension In WTO Work

Roberto Azevêdo WTO Public Forum - Photo credit WTO

The World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevêdo opened the 2014 WTO Public Forum by saying trade is essential but the international trade system should provide a seat for everyone at the table. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also insisted on the importance of a development-oriented international trade system.

Inauspicious Start To Gurry’s Second Term As IP Policymaking Hits Wall At WIPO

General Assembly Chair, Amb. Päivi Kairamo

To hear some delegates’ late night closing statements at the General Assembly last night, developing country goals at the World Intellectual Property Organization died this week, as key issues met roadblocks in every direction. But all member states claimed to be shaken by the crash of WIPO’s normative agenda this week, putting the model for negotiating at the UN agency into question.

NGOs: Farmers’ Rights Should Be Safeguarded In Activities Of Plant Treaty, WIPO, UPOV

Agriculture - Catherine Saez (1)

Over 50 organisations have co-signed a letter to the International Plant Treaty calling for it to safeguard the implementation of farmers’ rights in the context of joint activities with the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).

Several WIPO Committee Reports Stamped by General Assembly; Dissent Persists

WIPO General Assembly opening

Every year at this time, various World Intellectual Property Organization committees give a report to the organisation’s General Assembly on their past year’s activities and recommendations for decisions to be taken, including work they will be undertaking during the next year. At this week’s Assembly, reports were noted from committees on patents, trademarks, WIPO standards, and enforcement.

Strengthening WIPO’s Governance For The Next 50 Years: A Time For Action

WIPO GA  - WIPO

In 2017, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will mark its 50th anniversary. In the lead up to that milestone, the next three years provide a vital opportunity for Member States to update and strengthen WIPO’s governance, both to address current problems and to better equip the organisation for addressing challenges that may arise in the next 50 years.