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Director General Daren Tang Visits St. Kitts and Nevis for WIPO Ministerial Meeting

November 6, 2023

WIPO Director General Daren Tang welcomed government Ministers from across the Caribbean region to a high-level WIPO meeting hosted by St. Kitts and Nevis, where Mr. Tang also met with senior Government officials including Prime Minister Terrance Drew.

(Photo: Ikechukwu Ojuro)

At the 11th “Ministerial Level Meeting on Intellectual Property for Caribbean Countries” held Nov. 6, 2023, officials from 12 countries including seven ministers and four vice ministers adopted a slate of action points designed strengthen countries’ intellectual property (IP) and innovation ecosystems and expand collaboration with WIPO.

“If there is one message that I want to get across today it is this: WIPO is ready to deepen and expand our work in areas that are priorities for you,” said Mr. Tang in welcoming the high-level delegations.

We can deliver projects and services tailored to your economic strategies and goals. We can deepen IP skills and awareness, especially among under-served groups like women, youth, and SMEs. We can help strengthen the functionality of your IP offices through the latest technologies and tools. And we can pioneer new ways of working together, that can inspire the rest of the world.

This is a region of vibrancy and strength. Of culture, tourism and technology. Of sports, music and the blue economy. IP can take each of these areas to new heights and create new opportunities for your people. So let’s continue to be bold and ambitious in our work, and resolute in our determination to bring IP alive across the region.

WIPO Director General Daren Tang

The meeting was opened by Prime Minister Drew, who underlined that his Government understood the significance of fostering innovation, protecting the rights of creators, and promoting the development of creative industries and recognized the value of intellectual property as an engine for growth and prosperity. He further noted that a Ministry responsible for the creative economy had recently assumed the sports portfolio.

St. Kitts and Nevis, like many small island nations, faces unique challenges and opportunities. We are blessed with natural beauty, but we are also acutely aware of our vulnerabilities to external factors, such as climate change and global economic shifts. Our aim, therefore, is to diversify our economy, reduce our dependence on traditional sectors, and empower our creative minds, athletes, and entrepreneurs.

This administration's mission is clear: we aim to become a sustainable island state where the talents of our people are nurtured, and the fruits of their labor are protected. We firmly believe that a thriving creative sector can be a catalyst for economic growth. Intellectual property rights play a pivotal role in encouraging creativity, fostering innovation, and attracting investment.

By strengthening our IP framework, we aim to create an environment where inventors, artists, and athletes can flourish and where businesses can grow, resulting in the diversification of our economy.

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Terrance Drew

Mr. Drew also expressed appreciation for the launch of a new IP and sports project in St. Kitts and Nevis during the previous week by WIPO Deputy Director General Hasan Kleib. The project would for the first time provide an in-depth analysis of the opportunities and challenges of IP use in the country’s sport sector. A similar project would also be implemented by Trinidad and Tobago.

In welcoming Mr. Tang on his first official visit to the Caribbean, Prime Minister Drew expressed his Government’s commitment in working with WIPO in unlocking the value of IP for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and to the benefit of the entire Caribbean. He elaborated a vision to create an environment where inventors, artists, athletes can flourish and businesses can grow and diversify the economy.

Mr. Drew highlighted the Caribbean as a wellspring of immense creativity and talent with a rich cultural heritage and a legacy of innovation, noting that St. Kitts and Nevis stands ready to be a beacon of creativity, innovation and prosperity in the Caribbean.

(Photo: Giddel Smithen)

At the Ministerial meeting, an interactive and dynamic session was organized where Ministers and Vice Ministers shared their country’s experiences in deploying IP in areas such as tourism, the creative industries, development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and using the WIPO IP systems to access new markets. It was also an opportunity to exchange on current areas of cooperation with WIPO - including projects for women entrepreneurs in Jamaica, Belize, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Delegates also spoke of collaborations including IP and sports with St. Kitts and Nevis as well as and Trinidad and Tobago, IP in the “blue economy” with University of West Indies, strengthening Carnival Museums in Trinidad and Tobago and adding value to unique products such as Barbuda Logwood Honey, Antigua and Barbuda wildflower honey.

Delegates noted the use of WIPO’s cloud-based solution for the administration of IP offices, especially in the context of moving towards paperless offices, as a sustainable way to preserve all IP documents especially in view of natural disasters.

The Ministerial Meeting also resulted in a new plan of action that focused on the role of IP as a tool for economic and social development and the value of creativity, innovation and IP rights to sustainable development, inclusive economic growth and overall prosperity, among other points.

The next Ministerial meeting will take place in 2025 in a venue yet to be decided.

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