Funds in Trust – Donor Updates
In the previous edition of the WIPO Magazine, we presented some of the mechanisms through which WIPO is able to mobilize additional resources for technical assistance and capacity-building projects, notably through the voluntary funds-in-trust arrangements with donor countries. The following is an update from two major donors, Italy and France.
New contributions from Italy
Contributions by the Government of Italy in the framework of a recently concluded funds-in-trust (FIT) agreement with WIPO have reached 600,000 Euros.
The most recent contribution of 300,000 Euros was communicated to WIPO in October, and comes from the Directorate General for Development Cooperation at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. This follows an agreement signed in September by WIPO Director General, Dr. Kamil Idris, and Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Massimo D'Alema, which formalizes Italy’s long-standing support for WIPO’s activities relating to economic development. It makes Italy one of the largest contributors of extra budgetary resources to WIPO.
The FIT program prioritizes activities which promote:
- the relationship between IP and technological development,
- the development of creative industries,
- the use of IP by small and medium-sized enterprises,
- the protection of geographical indications and industrial designs,
- IP training, and
- the fight against counterfeiting and audiovisual piracy.
While the FIT agreement extends to all developing and transition countries, it places special emphasis on assistance to least developed countries and to countries in the Mediterranean area.
An additional 300,000 Euros contributed earlier in the year in the context of this FIT has helped to finance a post-graduate program in IP, which is run jointly by the WIPO Academy, the University of Turin and the International Training Center of the International Labour Organisation.
France – The first FIT donor
France’s National Institute for Industrial Property (INPI) first began contributing to WIPO’s FIT programs in 1980, making France the longest established of all WIPO’s FIT donor countries. The level of these voluntary contributions has increased from 200,000 to 300,000 Swiss francs per year.
INPI conducts an active bilateral cooperation policy in support of developing and transition countries. The doubling of the overall budget dedicated by INPI to bilateral cooperation between 2004 and 2006 illustrates the high priority accorded to this work. Collaboration with WIPO through the FIT program is an integral part of this broader policy, through which INPI builds on the synergies offered by partnerships pursuing shared development objectives.
Each year, WIPO and INPI establish an action plan for approval by INPI’s Director General. This is based on proposals submitted by WIPO’s different regional bureaus, and any other proposed activities which may be considered appropriate for financing by the FIT.
As a result of the activities led by WIPO and financed by the French fund in recent years many developing and emerging countries have been able to -
- benefit from the expertise of top IP specialists;
- put in place more efficient procedures;
- enhance their legislation, including for adapting to the TRIPS Agreement, and
- provide industrial property training for their officials.
France was, for example, the first country to set up training work-shops for customs officials in member states of the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) following the Marrakech agreements. And magistrates from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern European countries, have similarly benefited from IP training delivered by French magistrates, enabling participants to share experiences with respect to IP litigation and to discuss problem areas, such as compensation for damages.
Seeking to build further on this success, INPI and WIPO plan to formalize their collaboration in a new agreement, to be signed soon by Dr. Idris and INPI Director General, M. Benoît Battistelli.