Developed Country Strategy On WIPO Development Agenda, Governance Revealed07/11/2006 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.By Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen and William New The report from a September meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) developed country group reveals its behind-the-scenes strategy for handling a proposed development agenda at WIPO.The WIPO General Assembly decided in October to extend the discussions on a proposal for a development agenda, which is developing countries’ call for a stronger development focus in WIPO, for at least another year, with two five-day meetings in 2007 (IPW, WIPO, 9 Sept. 2006).But a look at the confidential reports from a meeting held the day before the WIPO General Assembly and obtained by Intellectual Property Watch reveals a well-honed strategy on the part of the developed countries to limit the proposed agenda and try to win developing country support for the view. The developed countries are organised as Group B in WIPO, and are working with additional countries under the European Patent Office, so call themselves Group B+.[Editor’s Note: the group also has created a confidential draft patent harmonisation treaty. Treaty text available in this story, discussion of fast-track strategy for treaty in this story].On the development agenda, the chair (from the United Kingdom) of the September meeting, reporting from a Group B+ working group on the issue, said that there was an agreement not to agree “to roll into next year the same kind of programme that we have had this year, … [with] endless discussion,” the report states.Proposals were made for a task force approach, regional consultations or coordinating and building on the members’ bilateral activities, the report said. In particular, the chair said developed country officials should seek to build support among developing country members where possible.“[W]e will need to talk to the contacts we have in the Africa Group, Asia Group – GRULAC [Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries] is more difficult for most of us – to see where and when there are opportunities to move that general debate into some short-term practical solutions,” the chair summarised, according to the report.“It is an onus on us, I think … to use the contacts we have to identify as many allies as possible for practical, meaningful pro-development activities that can be structured and fed into something that begins to look like a programme rather than just a collection of actions,” the chair said, according to the report.The chair highlighted the political side of the development agenda talks. While the continuation of an open, rolling discussion would not be acceptable, “there was also a view that we could not stop the process of the PCDA [Provisional Committee on proposals related to a Development Agenda] because it is politically important that Group B+ can certainly not be seen to be unfriendly.”So the plan was to seek to define the mandate of the continued committee with the inclusion of proposals made by the secretariat and by Kyrgyzstan (which made a developed-country friendly proposal earlier this year that has been kept alive), and push for feasible, short-term gains.“It was very clear to everyone that there are groups within the developing nations who do want and need much quick wins,” the chair said. He added that meetings should be held each morning during the assembly to update the group on any progress with winning developing country support, especially with Africa. The “hardest group” to win over would be Latin America and the Caribbean, one member said.In the preceding working group meeting on the development agenda, Switzerland was reported as saying: “I don’t think having no result on the development agenda in WIPO is a good thing, because all other works will also be blocked. It will not be positive.” Canada and the United States agreed, but the US wanted a clear mandate and structured discussions to achieve results, the report said.One country said that some “rather radical countries among the Friends [of Development, which originated the development agenda proposal]” had blocked development in earlier discussions, the report said.On the suggestion to use experience from bilaterals as input to the development agenda, the US had its doubts, the report said.“I think it is certainly an idea worth exploring with the different regions and I suspect certainly for Africa, for most of Asia this will be an attractive approach but I still have doubts whether you are really going to overcome the really radical political agenda that is being pushed by a very small group, mainly in the GRULAC region. They have been split now for several years, they cannot even make group statements in WIPO but it is certainly worth the try,” a US official stated, as reported in the report.Group B+ on WIPO Governance, IGC, Broadcasting TreatyThe September report also reveals the group’s views on other key issues at WIPO.On the Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), its aim was to keep IGC to the two-year mandate given it by the 2005 General Assembly.On the proposed broadcasting treaty, the report said that several members, as well as others not in the room, “will be making sure the diplomatic conference does not go ahead smoothly this week.” In the end, it was agreed to schedule the diplomatic conference, or high-level treaty negotiation, for late 2007, after more meetings and another General Assembly.Non-governmental sources said on 7 November that an informal meeting of a small number of WIPO member governments was being held on the broadcasting treaty, but this could not be confirmed by press time.On WIPO Governance, the group showed its teeth in raising concerns with the new structures for ensuring better functioning of WIPO, including the new Audit Committee, the Joint Inspection Unit report from last year, and a desk-to-desk review that it said should start “at the top of the organisation.” The purpose of starting at the top would be to “define responsibilities and structures at the top in order to inform the next round of appointments at that level,” expected in 2009.The chair also reminded members that many of them have not adopted a provision that will ensure the WIPO director general is limited to two terms.Japan noted WIPO’s uniqueness from other UN agencies because 80 percent of its revenue comes from income from the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The concern is that “in the future the number of PCT applications from both advanced countries and developing countries would increase more and more.” In this situation, the official said, “unless we are very careful in the expenses of WIPO the budgeting of WIPO may run wild.”Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. William New may be reached at email@example.com. Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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"Developed Country Strategy On WIPO Development Agenda, Governance Revealed" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.