WIPO Director General Welcomes Major Breakthrough following Agreement on Proposals for a WIPO Development Agenda
June 18, 2007
The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris, has welcomed a major breakthrough by member states in their discussions on a development agenda for WIPO saying it marked a milestone in the history of the Organization. Dr. Idris also congratulated negotiators for their foresight and commitment in bringing a crucial part of this process to a positive conclusion. Negotiators from 93 member states and 40 observers, meeting from June 11 to 15, 2007 in the context of a forum that is looking at proposals to enhance the development dimension in WIPO’s work, agreed on a final list of proposals to be recommended for action to the WIPO General Assembly in September 2007, including the establishment of a new Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP).
“I am delighted with the positive outcome of these discussions. The breakthrough achieved on a number of difficult issues is testimony to the collective political will of negotiators to make meaningful progress and move these discussions forward,” said Dr. Idris. “This process and the spirit of compromise and mutual understanding in which it took place, is an important contribution to international efforts to promote the development of a balanced intellectual property system that is responsive to the needs and interests of all countries – developed and developing alike,” he added. The Director General also welcomed participation of non-governmental organizations in the negotiations.
The Chairman of the Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda (PCDA), Ambassador C. Trevor Clarke, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations in Geneva, congratulated negotiators for their contributions to “what has become a very important process.” He applauded the flexibility and the spirit of compromise displayed by all parties saying that this was the key to the successful outcome of the PCDA. He said that while a great deal had been achieved, the complexity of intellectual property and the continuing challenges of development meant that there was still much to do. Delegates welcomed the successful outcome of the process and, in particular the spirit of cooperation that had characterized the discussions. A number of delegations also heralded the outcome of the meeting as an historic milestone in the history of the Organization.
“Tremendous work has been done to bring the process to this point and this is a great achievement for WIPO and its member states. That said, major challenges remain ahead and it is our hope that the same amount of energy and political commitment will be demonstrated by member states in the coming months,” said Mr.Sherif Saadallah, Executive Director, Office of Strategic Use of Intellectual Property for Development, who oversees WIPO’s work relating to the development agenda. Mr. Saadallah congratulated all participants in the negotiations for their commitment, sense of balance, and hard work.
The PCDA reached agreement on a set of general principles and objectives covering five clusters of activities on the following themes: Cluster A: Technical Assistance and Capacity Building; Cluster B: Norm-setting, Flexibilities, Public Policy and Public Domain; Cluster C: Technology Transfer, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Access to Knowledge; Cluster D: Assessments, Evaluation and Impact Studies; and Cluster E: Institutional Matters Including Mandate and Governance. Discussions focused on Annex B of a working document that was submitted to the February 2007 meeting of the PCDA. (see PR/2007/478). A first set of 24 proposals were agreed by negotiators in a February meeting of the PCDA. These, in addition to the 21 proposals agreed upon last week, will be grouped together to form the full set of proposals to be submitted to the WIPO General Assembly in September 2007.
In order to accelerate the implementation of the agreed proposals, the PCDA further decided to continue informal consultations on proposals that can be implemented immediately, following approval of the recommendations by the 2007 WIPO General Assembly later this year. Member states also agreed to establish a Committee on Development and Intellectual Property composed of member states and open to the participation of all accredited intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The new committee, to be convened in the first half of 2008, will adopt rules of procedure based on the WIPO General Rules of Procedure. The number and duration of the meetings of the Committee are to be decided by the WIPO General Assembly. The mandate of the PCDA will not be renewed.
The draft report of the fourth session of the PCDA will be made available to member states by July 16 and will be open for comment until July 31. The PCDA will meet in a resumed session on September 4 to adopt the report of the June meeting.
The WIPO General Assembly in October 2006 agreed to renew the mandate of the PCDA for a further year following positive deliberations during the two sessions of the PCDA in February and June 2006, and emphasized the need to continue discussions on the proposals submitted so far in the process. The General Assembly agreed to two 5-day sessions of the PCDA to allow for structured in-depth discussions on all 111 proposals that had been made up to that time. It identified the list of proposals to be discussed in the first and second sessions. The decision noted that in order to facilitate the task and streamline the process for detailed examination of all proposals in an inclusive manner, the PCDA would seek to narrow down the proposals, to eliminate duplication. To this end, the Chair of the General Assembly was requested to produce, in consultation with member states, initial working documents which were discussed by delegations during the February and June 2007 meetings.
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