WIPO Power Struggle Looms Over Development Agenda Coordination04/11/2009 by William New, 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.A struggle over the power and reach of the World Intellectual Property Organization Development Agenda may be looming as members of the UN agency begin to take control of implementation with differing views. Key developing countries say members must not only focus on specific projects but also on the broader agenda for change at WIPO. Developed countries want simple coordination with other committees without the heavy hand of fundamental change. On the agenda for the 16-20 November WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) meeting are competing proposals on how much coordination power should be given to the issue and to the committee, which was set up to implement the 2007 Development Agenda. Informal consultations are scheduled at WIPO on 9 and 11 November.The 2007 Agenda, a set of 45 adopted recommendations cutting across all WIPO activities, created the CDIP with the mandate to “monitor, assess, discuss and report” on the implementation of all recommendations adopted. It said that “for that purpose it shall coordinate with relevant WIPO bodies.” Differing interpretations have emerged of how much power that gives the committee over other WIPO bodies.Developing countries remain steadfast in their push to bring substantive change to the way the traditionally developed-country-friendly organisation makes policy. “The Development Agenda is more than the sum of its parts,” a developing country delegate said at an October WIPO meeting. “It’s not only about taking each recommendation and implementing it [but] to go into the core of WIPO and IP and bring about a cultural change in the way things are done.”A proposal to the CDIP from Algeria, Brazil and Pakistan offers eight actions, including creating a standing agenda item in the annual WIPO General Assembly on “Review of the Implementation of the Development Agenda.” It also urges the WIPO director general to ensure the coordination, self-assessment and reporting of all secretariat activities related to the Development Agenda. And it requests all WIPO bodies at every level to identify the specific ways in which Development Agenda recommendations would be “mainstreamed” in their work, and report on these ways.Another proposal is for all WIPO bodies to ensure all secretariat or consultant materials are in line with the Agenda, especially Recommendation 22, which states:“WIPO’s norm-setting activities should be supportive of the development goals agreed within the United Nations system, including those contained in the [UN] Millennium Declaration. The WIPO Secretariat, without prejudice to the outcome of Member States considerations, should address in its working documents for norm-setting activities, as appropriate and as directed by Member States, issues such as: (a) safeguarding national implementation of intellectual property rules (b) links between intellectual property and competition (c) intellectual property -related transfer of technology (d) potential flexibilities, exceptions and limitations for Member States and (e) the possibility of additional special provisions for developing countries and LDCs.” Additional major proposals from the Algeria, Brazil and Pakistan paper of 18 August are: to mandate the CDIP to convene special sessions on implementation with reports from chairs of all WIPO bodies and others; involve the WIPO Audit Committee in reviews; conduct biennial reviews of overall implementation with renowned experts; and present an annual report to the UN General Assembly and Economic and Social Council under the agreement making WIPO a UN body.Group B ProposalThe competing proposal also of 18 August, from Group B developed countries including US, Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zealand (all of whose companies make up most of WIPO’s revenues), calls for a less ambitious approach though it echoes some proposals.It sets out interpreted preliminary “principles,” including: that the coordination mechanism should “promote” the aim of the Development Agenda to ensure development is an integral part of WIPO’s work; that all WIPO committees are equal (the CDIP does not have more power than others) and the coordination mechanism should fit within existing WIPO governance (not change it); coordination should be “flexible, efficient, effective, transparent and pragmatic”; and CDIP coordination should contain “appropriate” criteria for monitoring, reporting and review. Finally, coordination should be “resource-neutral and not create new financial obligations for member states.”Group B proposed the WIPO director general, deputy director general or CDIP chair provide regular updates to the CDIP and the General Assembly. The updates “should focus on the work undertaken by other relevant WIPO bodies” concerning the Agenda implementation. The Assembly should instruct WIPO bodies to “work towards mainstreaming” the Agenda recommendations in accordance with their specific mandate from the Assembly. The Assembly should instruct chairs to include in their annual report to the assembly a description of their contribution to implementation of recommendations and assessment under “appropriate” measures of success. And finally, the Assembly should request the director general or deputy director general to “periodically state” in opening remarks to relevant WIPO bodies and in the annual report “the importance of effectively implementing and mainstreaming the Development Agenda recommendations throughout WIPO.”Perhaps as an example, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (of Australia) mentioned the Development Agenda in a recent briefing with reporters, reiterating that it aims to “mainstream development” throughout the UN agency, and is not intended to be “sitting in one corner of the organisation,” but rather should be reflected in “every single aspect of the organisation.”Also on the agenda for the CDIP are detailed updates on several projects implementing the Development Agenda. At the 13-14 October WIPO “open-ended forum on proposed Development Agenda projects,” developing country officials cautioned that the focus on implementation not get lost in details.The WIPO secretariat has already moved to create its own Development Agenda Coordination Division. But it remains to be seen how members will decide to govern the issue themselves, and whether the profound organisational change envisioned by proponents since the original proposal in 2004 will come to pass or be passed by.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)RelatedWilliam New may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO Power Struggle Looms Over Development Agenda Coordination" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.