WIPO Members Move Ahead On Development Agenda Implementation 04/05/2009 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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)Members of the World Intellectual Property Organization in difficult negotiations last week approved a new plan for implementation of recommendations for deepening WIPO’s development focus, according to participants. The WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) met from 27 April to 1 May. Members loosely decided to proceed in a flexible thematic way on the 45 Development Agenda recommendations approved at the 2007 WIPO General Assemblies. They discussed three themes, opening the way for the WIPO secretariat to seek funding for the recommendations under those themes in its next budget proposal. In addition, the governments began debating how to coordinate and report on implementation, which can be a political issue. Developed countries insisted there be no new mechanisms created at WIPO, according to participants, while different developing country groups had suggestions for ways to proceed with reporting of WIPO committee chairs. Committee Chairman Trevor Clarke, the Barbados ambassador, will hold informal, non-binding consultations in the lead-up to the September General Assemblies. The thematic proposals will be re-issued reflecting comments made during the week and discussed again at the next CDIP meeting scheduled for November, sources said. “The process is definitely on track,” said an official from Brazil, one of the originators of the WIPO Development Agenda in 2004. “We have decided to give a chance to a thematic approach. The chairman provided the necessary assurance to proceed with a balanced approach.” Key assurances, the Brazilian told Intellectual Property Watch, were that under the thematic approach, individual recommendations would take precedence over themes, projects are evolutionary and can be changed along the way, and the process involves flexibility. Chairman Clarke said in an interview afterward that the main agreement was to structure implementation of the adopted recommendations through the thematic project approach. He said this was deemed useful because compromises reached in arriving at the 45 recommendations included some duplication in recommendations. The thematic approach seeks to bring together projects or parts of projects with similar activities and implement them, Clarke said. The approach “will help accelerate implementation and do it more efficiently,” he said. The draft chair summary is available here. The three themes addressed during the week were recommendations related to: competition; the public domain; and information and communications technology (ICTs) and the digital divide. Details of the projects that will be carried out to implement each are available in the meeting documents available here. There was a discussion near the end of the meeting over how to handle access to knowledge concepts in the recommendations. Gurry suggested to add access to knowledge to the title related to ICTs, but some members wanted to ensure the issue remain sufficiently open for future discussion. US Cautious on Access, Transparency The United States showed resistance on recommendation 19, which urges initiation of discussions of how to facilitate access to knowledge and technology for developing countries. It said proposed changes were a substantial modification and it needed a fuller explanation of them. The United States also clarified comments in the report from the July 2008 CDIP related to information about technical assistance being provided by WIPO. The language referred to its request that only general information should be publicly available. Information about specific technical assistance projects should be available only on request from member states and only on consent of the member states and recipients concerned, it said. Recommendations addressed during the week included: 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7, plus 19, 24 and 27. These were in addition to recommendation activities approved at the last session of the CDIP in July 2008. (IPW, WIPO, 12 July 2008). The secretariat’s detailed proposals on projects under these themes included conducting numerous studies and other initiatives, and estimated budgets and timelines. Some changes were made to the secretariat’s proposed projects to ensure they reflect the demands of the recommendations, Clarke said. The proposed projects now will go to the WIPO Program and Budget Committee, which meets from 17-19 June. The secretariat during the week issued a paper on conditions [pdf] for a thematic projects approach. It clarified that the original recommendations would be kept intact with member modifications, kept open even if a project ends, additional projects may be formulated, sufficient financial resources will be made available, activities may be required for some principles, there is flexibility to review a project, and individual recommendations may be included in more than one project. The secretariat also floated draft papers on a conference on “mobilising resources for development,” being planned for 5-9 November in Geneva. Draft conference concept paper available here [pdf]. Revised draft conference programme available here [pdf]. Coordination and Evaluation A key discussion at week’s end was on mechanisms for coordination, evaluation, and reporting on work. Pakistan, supported by other Asian countries, proposed that chairs of WIPO committees report to the annual General Assemblies on how their bodies have implemented the Development Agenda recommendations. The Pakistan proposal [pdf] called for the assemblies in September “instruct all WIPO committees to mainstream all Development Agenda recommendations in their work.” It also requested the WIPO director general to make opening remarks at upcoming meetings of the assemblies and WIPO committees on patents, copyright and related rights, genetic resources, traditional and folklore, programme and budget, trademarks and enforcement. In the remarks, the director general “may emphasise adherence to and implementation of the Development Agenda recommendations,” the proposal said. Some African members suggested creating a new entity made up of the chairs of all relevant WIPO committees, according to a source. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry addressed the CDIP, restating his commitment to the Development Agenda. He said secretariat coordination will be under the Development Agenda Coordination Division, which reports directly to him. The Acting Director of the Development Agenda Coordination Division is Irfan Baloch of Pakistan. During the week, non-governmental organisations were present and ready to make statements on the issues under discussion. Some circulated their statements at the meeting, expecting them to be submitted for the record of the meeting. Among those included the statement of the Free Software Foundation Europe, and the statement of several international libraries groups [pdf]. The next CDIP meeting is scheduled for 16-20 November. 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