Clock Ticking For WIPO Assembly To Agree On Budget, Design Treaty, Genetic Resources 10/10/2017 by Catherine Saez, 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)This morning no breakthroughs were reported by delegates chairing informal meetings to reach consensus before the end of the annual World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly tomorrow. Agreement still has to be reached on the most political issues, such as the budget, the mandate of the committee on genetic resources and traditional knowledge, and where the next WIPO field offices will be hosted. Also under discussion is the composition of one of WIPO’s governing bodies, challenged by the Asia and Pacific Group, which wants more seats. The WIPO General Assemblies are taking place from 2-11 October. WIPO headquarters On the budget, Mexican Ambassador Raúl Heredia Acosta, chairing the discussions, reported to a brief plenary gathering an “excellent participation” on the third informal meeting on the issue, but no tangible results. Adil El Maliki, chair of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademark, Industrial Designs, and Geographical Indications (SCT), chairing the discussion on whether or not to convene a high-level negotiating meeting (diplomatic conference) on a design law treaty, said discussions were ongoing on the issue of a disclosure of origin requirement in design law treaty applications. Ian Goss, chair of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), chairing the discussion on the future mandate and work programme of the committee reported differences remaining in key areas. A new draft of the IGC text was issued today and has been reported on by Intellectual Property Watch (IPW, WIPO, 10 October 2017). General Assembly Chair Latvian Ambassador Jānis Kārkliņš chairing informal discussions on which countries should next host WIPO external offices also reported difficulties in reaching agreement. Program and Budget Composition Unbalanced, Asia Says Last week, the Asia and Pacific Group proposed a change in the allocation of seats in the Program and Budget Committee (PBC), seeking an increase from 9 to 11 seats. They argue that the current number of seats allocated to regional groups is unbalanced and not proportionate to the number of countries in regional groups (IPW, WIPO, 6 October 2017). In the proposal tabled last week, a table laid out the current composition of the WIPO Coordination Committee, and of the PBC, two decision-making bodies of the organisation. On the Coordination Committee, discussions included raising the number of committee members from 83 to 87, but appeared to have been put off for two years after agreement could not be found. The Asia and Pacific Group had argued that the increase in committee members was precipitated by an increase in WIPO membership and that the increase mainly occurred in the Asia-Pacific region, which is already under-represented, so they should get more than one of the four new seats. This was not agreed, according to a source. According to the table prepared by the Asia and Pacific group, the most-represented group in the PBC is the Caucasian Central Asian and Eastern European Countries (CACEEC), with 9 countries, and 5 seats. It appears the least-represented is the African Group, with 53 countries and 10 seats. The Asia and Pacific Group has 44 countries and 9 seats. The group includes all countries in the Asian region except China – which is its own group – as well Japan, Australia and New Zealand, which all belong to Group B (developed countries). Group B has 32 countries and 12 seats, the Central European and Baltic States (CEBS) group has 19 countries and 7 seats, and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries (GRULAC) include 33 countries and has 9 seats. No rules have been governing the composition or the election of PBC members, which is the result of informal negotiations. The Asia and Pacific Group proposal also requested that the PBC be open to full participation to all member states. The proposal was supported by several countries, such as India, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, and Thailand. It was also supported by the African Group, which said the proposal is based on the tangible reality of the absence of legal rules on the sharing of seats among countries. The CEBS group said it is open to consider an increase in the PBC seats and even the inclusion of all member states but wished to delay the discussion. Costa Rica for GRULAC said the topic should be discussed after the General Assembly, and Brazil said universal representation in the PBC should be possible. However, Japan, for Group B, said the proposal was submitted in the middle of the General Assembly and the group cannot support the proposal at this time but could discuss it after the General Assembly. Japan said the current PBC composition is “the fruit of compromise” between member states. Kārkliņš remarked that opening the PBC to the whole membership could have some drawbacks, such as reaching a quorum. Introducing universality to the PBC might incapacitate the PBC for lack of a quorum (which would be 96 delegations, he said), remarking that some PBC meetings only gathered 50 or 60 delegations. Non-PBC members can already attend PBC meetings and participate in discussions. Indonesia for the Asia and Pacific Group requested that informal discussions be held today on the topic. William New contributed to this report. Image Credits: Catherine Saez, APG 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 email@example.com."Clock Ticking For WIPO Assembly To Agree On Budget, Design Treaty, Genetic Resources" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.