WIPO Development Meeting Will Base Talks On Chair’s Text20/02/2007 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 This week’s meeting on a World Intellectual Property Organization Development Agenda started on a positive note, with member states agreeing to base negotiations on a text prepared for the meeting by the WIPO General Assembly chair, according to participants.This means that the content of the meeting, rather than process, is likely to be discussed already on 20 February, the second day of the 19-23 February meeting of the Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda (PCDA).A total of 111 proposals have been submitted by member states during the three-year-old PCDA process. This meeting will focus on the 40 proposals that are generally believed to be most ripe for implementation (referred to as “Annex A”), while the remainder (Annex B) will be discussed at a June meeting, sources said.At the WIPO General Assembly meeting in 2006, Ambassador Enrique Manalo of the Philippines was asked to prepare a text, or matrix, of the 111 proposals with three goals: comprise them and avoid repetition, identify action points versus general principles and identify what WIPO is already doing in certain development-related areas, sources said.Manalo issued the matrix on 26 January (IPW, WIPO, 16 February 2006).In his document, all the proposals are listed, but it is indicated, for example, which are duplicates and whether WIPO is already doing work in this area. The proposals also are listed according to themes, or clusters, of which there are six.This document will now be used as a basis for discussions this week, according to the newly-elected chair of the meeting, Ambassador Trevor Clarke of Barbados. The PCDA does not only have a basis to start from but also the spirit to achieve results this week, he said. The ambassador of Kyrgyzstan was elected vice-chair.It was not clear how countries will work on Manalo’s document but Clarke gave delegates the overnight assignment of considering which proposals are similar and repetitive. Much of the first day was spent in closed meetings among regional groups.Clarke indicated that on 20 February, the meeting would start with cluster A and B, which are technical assistance and capacity-building, and norm-setting, flexibilities, public policy and public domain.The United States showed support for some proposals, such as ensuring WIPO is member-driven, assistance demand-driven and that WIPO should be transparent, but could not support that WIPO should ensure members take full advantage of full flexibilities in international agreements.Brazil said that Manalo’s paper was an “appropriate starting point for this meeting.” Brazil said that the development agenda was not about “undoing IP,” but was rather about achieving greater ownership of the system, which would lead to a more efficient IP regime suitable for the progress of the 21st century.Switzerland said that Manalo had provided an “extremely useful working document” and it was convinced that this year the PCDA would be able to fill its mandate and send specific recommendations to the General Assembly. It also praised an informal meeting held by India on 5-7 February as participants had worked on streamlining the same 40 proposals that will be discussed this week. The non-paper from this meeting, which purports to collect some 22 proposals of relative consensus, has not been tabled at the PCDA, sources said.South Africa said that norm-setting and technology transfer were important issues for developing countries and said there were advantages for all in a fair and credible IP system.Separately, the Creative and Innovative Economy Centre (CIEC) at George Washington University Law School (US) held a side event on 19 February on its report, “An AIDS Social Contract for Africa: On the Ethical Responsibilities of Organizational Knowledge regarding Antiretroviral Drug (ARV) Innovation and Access.”It recommends that ARV innovators should transfer manufacturing technology or license production to developing country manufacturers, and that all African employers should try to provide ARV treatment. An official from Haiti said this last point would have been problematic in his country as often people were fired, or not hired, if it was discovered that they were HIV/AIDS positive. An official from Kenya pointed out that as for licensing, there had been a “big fight” and the World Trade Organization 2001 Doha Declaration on Public Health had institutionalised some rights to manufacturing, referring to the right to use compulsory license.CIEC Director Michael Ryan said that compulsory licensing was “the wrong strategy” as developing countries would miss out on the opportunity for technology transfer, but should rather pursue a partner license strategy with the pharmaceutical industry. The CIEC counts a number of pharmaceutical companies among its financial supporters. Tove Gerhardsen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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