Lisbon Declaration on Intellectual Property for the Least Developed Countries

Lisbon, February 1 and 2, 2001

We, ministers and senior government officials participating in the High-Level Interregional Roundtable on Intellectual Property for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs),

Having met at the High-level Interregional Roundtable on Intellectual Property for LDCs, held in Lisbon, Republic of Portugal, on February 1 and 2, 2001, organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Portugal, with a view to articulating policy and technical issues and contributing to institution-building and human resources development in the area of intellectual property in LDCs as part of the preparatory process for the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, due to be held in Brussels in May 2001,

Having discussed the challenges faced by LDCs and the opportunities available to them in building intellectual property institutions in the era of the knowledge-based economy and knowledge society under the general theme of “Innovation, knowledge society, intellectual property and LDCs”,

Recognizing the difficulties involved in coping with increased global competition when LDCs’ lack of capacity prevents our countries from taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded by recent developments in the world economy,

Recognizing also that the LDCs, despite their commitment to fulfilling their obligations in the field of intellectual property, face certain severe constraints such as a shortage of resources and a weak intellectual property infrastructure,

Recognizing further that intellectual property protection is having an increasing impact on our countries’ technological, socio-economic, cultural and social progress and that the protection of intellectual property rights would contribute to economic development and facilitate the transfer of technology,

Reaffirming the vital importance and desirability of improving the institutional and policy framework for the modernization and development of the intellectual property systems of LDCs,

Realizing the importance of intellectual property to critical policy fields such as food security, health, labor, trade, culture and heritage, the environment, investment and scientific and technological development,

Acknowledging that rapid changes in digital technologies have made copyright economically very important, and that the contributions of copyright systems to national economies are noteworthy in terms of their contribution to economic and social development,

Convinced that, by adapting technology, LDC enterprises can strengthen their capacity to compete,

1. Express the importance of addressing the main problems facing our countries with a renewed sense of common purpose, by seeking opportunities to strengthen international cooperation in intellectual property for development;

2. Call upon our partners from the developed countries to help ensure that the Third United Nations Conference on LDCs produces a positive, realistic and action-oriented outcome that will breathe new life into cooperation for development;

3. Express deep satisfaction at the decision taken at the thirty-fifth session of the General Assemblies of Member States of WIPO concerning the establishment of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, and the establishment of the Division on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises;

4. Decide to participate actively in deliberations on the wealth-creation effect of traditional knowledge and genetic resources and folklore and intellectual property, and to participate effectively at the national, regional and international level in formulating strategies (policies, plans and mechanisms), including intellectual propertybased tools, for regulating access to and benefit-sharing in genetic resources and the protection of traditional knowledge and folklore;

5. Decide to attach importance to copyright and related rights and to promote the establishment of collective management societies in LDCs;

6. Urge WIPO to continue its efforts to facilitate the transfer of knowledge in favor of LDCs as a further contribution to the fight against poverty;

7. Encourage WIPO to further assist enterprises in LDCs, including small and medium-sized enterprises, in improving their competitiveness and their ability to gain regular access to new ideas and technologies as well as funds;

8. Recognize the need to incorporate a development dimension into the emerging intellectual property regime and, in particular, to remove existing imbalances in the system;

9. Express our deep appreciation to Dr. Kamil Idris, the distinguished Director General of WIPO, for his wise, able and tireless efforts to reform and modernize WIPO and to contribute to improving the level of welfare of all countries, including the LDCs, and for taking the initiative to organize such a timely High-Level Roundtable;

10. Decide that the deliberations of this Roundtable should be submitted as a contribution to the Third United Nations Conference on the LDCs and invite the Director General of WIPO to convey the outcome of this Roundtable to the Conference;

11. Extend our deep appreciation and gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Portugal for the excellent arrangements made for the meeting and for its warm hospitality, and also our thanks to WIPO for its contribution to the success of the Roundtable.

Lisbon, February 2, 2001

Least Developed Countries