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20. Documents WIPO/GRTKF/IC/3/2 and WIPO/GRTKF/IC/3/2/Add. gave details of eighteen organizations that had requested ad hoc observer status for the sessions of the Committee: the Association Bouregreg; the Asociación Civil Comunidad Aborigen - "Toba, Pilaga, Wichí" - To.Pi.Wi; the Pauktuutit - Inuit Women's Association; the Society for Research into Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI); the Ainu Association of Sapporo; the Asociación Ixacavaa de Desarrollo e Información Indígena (ASIDII); the Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples North-East Zone (ICITP-NEZ); the Indigenous Peoples Program; the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford; the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED); the Ka Lahui Hawai'i; the Nepal Federation of Nationalities (NEFEN); the Organisation des Volontaires Acteurs de Developpement-Action Plus (OVAD-AP); the Pachamama Asociación Civil; the South Centre; the Tin-Hinane; the Tulalip Tribes of Washington Governmental Affairs Department; and the World Trade Institute. The Committee unanimously approved accreditation of these organizations as ad hoc observers.

21. The representative of the Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru recalled the proposal submitted at the last session of the Committee on behalf of the European Community and its Member States and supported by a number of Members, concerning the availability of funds to encourage and support the participation of representatives of TK holders at the sessions of the Committee. He asked about the implementation of this proposal.

22. The Secretariat explained that the proposal had been reported to the Program and Budget Committee, which was the appropriate body to address the issue. The next meeting of the Program and Budget Committee would take place in September. If the Budget Committee could reach a favorable decision, then it would be reported to the WIPO Assembly in September, for consideration by WIPO Member States.

23. The representative of the Saami Council, on behalf of the indigenous caucus, described the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (the Forum). The representative indicated that he had no mandate to speak on behalf of the Forum. Its Members should themselves be present to address the Committee but a lack of funding prevented this, and the Committee should have a basic understanding of the Forum. The representative averred that over the years indigenous peoples had been subject to severe forms of wrongdoings, including institutionalized forms of discrimination, when the international community, with the establishment of the United Nations, started to focus on human rights and human aid. Only in the 1980s were indigenous issues added to the United Nations (UN) agenda. Even when the international community started to address indigenous issues, the indigenous peoples themselves were rarely invited to participate in these processes. In recent years, the international community had began to address more adequately the particular needs and concerns of indigenous peoples, so that today it formed an important part of UN work. The representative acknowledged that several achievements had been made to remedy some of the problems faced by the indigenous peoples, yet indigenous peoples still faced grave forms of discrimination, as was highlighted at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism and Racial Discrimination in South Africa in 2001. The international community's failure to adequately address the situation of the indigenous peoples was attributed not to the lack of effort but to limited understanding of the particular concerns of indigenous peoples, due to the lack of indigenous input to UN processes. The Forum was the first permanent UN body dealing solely with indigenous issues. It reported directly to ECOSOC. It had first met in New York in May 2002, and would meet annually for two weeks each spring. The representative assessed the creation of the Forum as the greatest achievement of the UN in its work for promoting indigenous rights, with indigenous peoples and governments meeting for the first time on an equal level. The Forum consisted of eight members appointed by governments and eight appointed by indigenous peoples. These members serve in their own capacity with equal powers. The Forum was mandated to address all issues within the mandate of ECOSOC that are relevant to indigenous peoples; it was not a human rights body as such, since human rights was just one of the issues it addressed. Its main role was to coordinate work on indigenous issues within the UN system, to ensure that indigenous views and concerns are taken into account in UN work, to interact with all UN bodies dealing with issues of relevance to indigenous peoples and to ensure an holistic approach to indigenous issues. The Forum's mandate was given in ECOSOC Resolution 2000/22. At its first session, several UN agencies, including WIPO, described their work on issues relevant to indigenous peoples; there were no thematic discussions. WIPO was a member of the Interagency Support Group created to assist the Forum to become as effective as possible. The representative called on the Secretariat to seek the advice of the Forum in its future work, and consider such advice when proposing future actions. The Permanent Forum, at its first session, requested among other agencies WIPO, to conduct a comprehensive review on how its policies affect indigenous peoples as well as identify good and bad practices, policies, programs, gaps, problems, and obstacles in addressing issues regarding indigenous peoples. The Permanent Forum recommended that WIPO hold a technical workshop, including both state and indigenous representatives, to investigate the linkages between cultural diversity and biological diversity, ecosystem approaches and collaboration between scientific and TK and to evaluate the IP regime and to consider elaborating sui generis systems for the protection of indigenous bio-cultural heritage, genetic resources and TK, and to identify the support for indigenous peoples to develop and consolidate their own policies and principles for the protection of biological resources, TK, innovations and creativity. The representative expected the Permanent Forum members to take an active part in WIPO's work in the future. The representative urged WIPO to cover the costs of the Forum members' participation in the Intergovernmental Committee. The representative stated that the Permanent Forum could assist the Intergovernmental Committee by providing advice on how to allocate the means in the fund that could be set up for indigenous participation in the Committee.

24. The Delegation of Spain, on behalf of the European Community and its Member States, supported the intervention by the indigenous caucus and welcomed the Permanent Forum. The Secretariat was invited to coordinate and work closely together with the Forum.

25. The Delegation of Mexico expressed support for the establishment of the Forum and its hope that WIPO and other IGOs would continue to cooperation with the Forum. The Delegation expressed satisfaction in seeing the participation of Indigenous Peoples in the Forum, noting that the Committee should include TK holders in decisions made on these systems.

26. The Delegation of Algeria on behalf of the African Group expressed their support for the establishment of the Forum within the UN framework, and for extended cooperation between WIPO and the Forum in the field of IP.

27. The Delegation of New Zealand supported the Forum and the statement of the indigenous caucus concerning cooperation between WIPO and the Forum. The Delegation supported the suggestion that WIPO cover the costs of the attendance of the Permanent Forum at the Committee's meetings, until the Forum obtained the necessary funding.

28. The Delegation of Thailand supported extended cooperation between WIPO and the Permanent Forum and urged the participation of indigenous peoples in IP forums and in WIPO. The Delegation of Venezuela supported the creation of the Forum and stated that the cooperation between WIPO and the Forum should be enhanced.

29. The Secretariat noted that the establishment of the Permanent Forum was indeed a significant step, and it was pleased to be able to participate at its first session. The presentation given to the Forum on the work of the Committee was well attended and that WIPO was also part of the Interagency group with several other UN bodies which helped to prepare for the Forum's first meeting. There were possibilities for cooperation between WIPO and the Permanent Forum so as to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples in the Committee. One possibility, linked to the Saami Council's statement, concerned the proposal to the Program and Budget Committee that there be funding of indigenous participation at Committee meetings, was for the Permanent Forum to assist in identifying the recipients of such funding. This proposal had been made at the second session of the Committee by the European Community and its Member States, and would be considered by the Program and Budget Committee at its next scheduled meeting.

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