WIPO Members Reach Tentative Deal On TK Treaties; External Offices Mired 27/09/2013 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments 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)World Intellectual Property Organization members this evening reached a hard-won preliminary agreement on a path to a high-level negotiation of treaties or other instruments for the protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources. The tentative deal, reached in informal meetings, creates an intensive work programme for the next year and a final decision in September 2014. The plan will have to go before the full WIPO membership in plenary as soon as Monday. Meanwhile, another set of delegates meeting in informal negotiations in the next room to decide how many future external offices of WIPO to have and where to put them was not faring as well as of press time tonight, according to sources. The annual WIPO General Assemblies are meeting from 23 September – 2 October 2013. IGC Deal The tentative agreement would renew the two-year mandate of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) for the 2014/2015 biennium. The confidential draft agreement (with one small change not shown) is available here [pdf]. The next General Assembly, in September 2014, will take stock of progress on the three instruments (which might end up as one) and decide whether to convene a diplomatic conference – a high-level treaty negotiation – on an international legal instrument, sources said. Under the plan, the committee would meet three times during 2014: February (5 days), April (10 days), and July (3 days). The agreement was struck after ambassadors were called into the WIPO Assembly for a special meeting. The first meeting would begin with a half-day meeting of ambassadors on key policy issues of the IGC negotiations, followed by negotiations on the text on genetic resources. The second meeting would start with two days of consideration of cross-cutting issues, followed by four days each on traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs, or folklore). An alternate plan apparently rejected was to have the meetings be of five days, six days and seven days. In a small last-minute change, the last line of page one was changed from “The General Assemblies notes the merits of studies…,” to “The General Assemblies take note of the possibility for member states to request studies….” It is noted that calling for studies will not be permitted to delay progress or establish any preconditions to the text-based negotiations. The tentative agreement includes the possibility that ambassadors (or senior capital-based officials) could be called on to meet again during the course of the year. The informal session on IGC issues was chaired by Ian Goss of Australia, in the role of “friend of the chair” of the Assembly. External Offices The discussion of a WIPO secretariat proposal to set up five new offices in China, Russia, United States and two in Africa, became more complicated during the week. Among other things, Spanish-speaking Latin American countries have insisted they also should have one or two offices in this round of new offices. During the week, sources said, four countries from the region have put in bids: Chile, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. India also has signalled interest in an office in this round, and there are many others around the world that previously requested offices at some point as well. The informal meeting has been working on general guiding principles for the selection of WIPO external offices, according to sources. This might include ensuring transparency by, for instance, requiring that future candidates notify the director general in writing, who will then immediately notify other member states. It also could include requirements that the WIPO secretariat submit proposals to the WIPO Program and Budget Committee, which would consider them and make recommendations to the General Assembly. Other topics of consideration could include the provision of a “sound rationale” for establishing new external offices, sources said. A limitation could be that proposals show financial sustainability, including financial contributions from the host country, and should fit with the principle that WIPO’s overall staff headcount not be increased. An overarching principle of geographic balance could also be a requirement, as might requirements for evaluation and monitoring of performance, they said. 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) Related William New may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO Members Reach Tentative Deal On TK Treaties; External Offices Mired" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.