New Proposal To Keep Indigenous Peoples On WIPO Traditional Knowledge Committee 26/08/2014 by Catherine Saez, 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)A group of countries has submitted a new proposal to the upcoming meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization budget committee to allow the continued participation of indigenous peoples representatives in WIPO’s committee on traditional knowledge and genetic resources. The proposal [pdf] will be presented at the 22th session of the WIPO Program and Budget Committee (PBC), taking place from 1-5 September. WIPO IGC Meeting Indigenous peoples have been participating in the discussions of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC). Participation of selected representatives has been secured by the WIPO Voluntary Fund for Accredited Indigenous and Local Communities, set up in 2005. Proponents have underlined the importance of the participation of indigenous and local communities in the IGC, and have noted that such participation brings credibility and relevance to the committee. Indigenous peoples have been asking for years to have a special status among observers during IGC sessions, arguing that they are primarily affected by the instruments that could come out of the IGC and they are the primary holders of traditional knowledge and folklore. They currently can make textual proposals but those proposals need to be backed up by at least one delegation to be taken into consideration. Several entities have contributed to the Voluntary Fund, such as the Swedish International Biodiversity Programme, the Christensen Fund, and several countries: South Africa, Norway, Switzerland. France, Australia and New Zealand. But the voluntary fund ran dry and repeated appeals from WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, as well as the IGC Chair, Jamaican Ambassador Wayne McCook, and Alexandra Grazioli of Switzerland, chair of the Advisory Board for the Voluntary Fund, did not prompt any new contribution (IPW, WIPO, 26 April 2013). Australia, Finland, the Holy See, New Zealand and Switzerland had already submitted a proposal at the 27th session of the IGC in March, seeking to find alternative funding for the Voluntary Fund by drawing on the WIPO regular budget under certain conditions. The proposal was further presented in the July session of the IGC but was met with some reservations. In particular some delegations raised concern about the creation of a precedent (IPW, WIPO, 8 July 2014). The proponents who had initially suggested that the rules of the Voluntary Fund be amended, after consultation with the WIPO secretariat, found that it could not and said in July that a further version of the proposal would be presented to the PBC. New Proposal The new version recommends that up to a maximum of CHF 60,000 (about US$ 65,500) be allocated in the WIPO general budget, within existing resources, to accommodate the participation of indigenous and local communities to the IGC. The allocation would be drawn from Programme 4 (Traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources). These allocated funds would be then used by WIPO director general to finance the participation of representatives of accredited indigenous and local communities, under two conditions. The first would be that the resources in the Voluntary Fund are too low to finance the participation of any recommended applicant. The second is that the funds be used “only for the purpose of implementing the binding recommendation for funding that the Advisory Board will adopt, in accordance with the Rules of the Voluntary Fund…” This funds will not create a precedent, according to the proponents, who underlined the specific nature of the Voluntary Fund. Should the proposal be agreed upon by the PBC next week, it will go on to the WIPO General Assembly, to be held from 22-30 September. Image Credits: Â© WIPO 2014 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 Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."New Proposal To Keep Indigenous Peoples On WIPO Traditional Knowledge Committee" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.