WIPO Director General meets Prime Minister of Tunisia

Geneva, July 19, 2007

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris, met with the Prime Minister of Tunisia, Mr. Mohamed Ghannouchi, to explore ways to further strengthen cooperation between WIPO and the Government of Tunisia in the field of intellectual property during an official visit to Tunisia on July 11 and 12, 2007. Discussions focused on the strategic importance of IP as a tool for promoting economic, social and cultural development and wealth creation. Special emphasis was placed on the need to further promote IP within research and development institutions and technology incubators to create better awareness and use of the system within the Tunisian business community, particularly the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector. The subject of cultural industries was also discussed at length as this is considered to be an area of great potential for the Tunisian economy.

During his two-day official visit, Dr. Idris also met with the Mr. Afif Chelbi,  Minister for Industry, Energy and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Mr. Mondher Zenaïdi, Minister for Commerce and Crafts, Mr. Lazhar Bououni, Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology, Mr. Mohamed El Aziz Ben Achour, Minister for Culture and Protection of National Heritage and other senior officials. 

Dr. Idris reaffirmed the Organization’s commitment to supporting the further development of the IP system in Tunisia. He underlined the strategic importance of intellectual property in promoting economic development, especially within knowledge-based economies. The Director General said that Tunisia’s dynamic cultural industries sector had much to gain from effective use of the IP system. He applauded the country’s achievements in developing a modern IP legal framework and its commitment to encouraging broader use of the IP system for national development purposes.   He said that the Tunisian experience was a shining example for the region. 

During his visit and following a meeting with Mr. Ben Achour, Minister for Culture and Protection of National Heritage, a cooperation agreement between WIPO and Tunisia was signed. The agreement, established within the context of WIPO’s capacity-building activities, covers a range of activities in the fields of technical cooperation, training and the development of IP legislation, together with a range of measures to raise IP awareness among policy-makers and officials operating in the field of IP as well as within key scientific and technological sectors of the Tunisian economy. 

Discussions further explored ways to consolidate and generate added value within Tunisia’s cultural and crafts sector, through, for example, greater use of geographical indications and appellations of origin. The possibility of establishing intellectual property masters programs in Tunisian universities as well as a series of workshops and training courses for the Tunisian scientific and research community were also examined. Such initiatives would serve to raise awareness of the importance of strategically managing research results with a view to generating income for future research endeavors. 

Tunisia became a member of WIPO in 1975 and is party to nine WIPO-administered treaties including the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Hague Agreement on the International Registration of Industrial Designs, Lisbon Agreement on the International Registration of Geographical Indications, the Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods, and the Berne Convention on the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

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