WIPO Organizes Retreat for OIC Member States

Geneva, September 5, 2007
PR/2007/507

Geneva-based Permanent Representatives members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) attended a retreat organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on September 5, 2007 for an in-depth review of topical issues on the international intellectual property agenda. The meeting provided a forum for representatives of the OIC group to exchange views on matters of particular interest to their economic, social and cultural development.
 
Opening the meeting, the Director General of WIPO, Dr. Kamil Idris, outlined the link between intellectual property and development.  The Director General said that the strategic use of intellectual property offers an opportunity for nations and individuals to convert their creative resources into economic assets capable of generating wealth and contributing to a more secure future. A strong national commitment to the intellectual property system ensures the establishment of an environment within which the innovative potential of a country may flourish.  Dr. Idris said that WIPO is committed to continued cooperation with OIC member states.  
 
Speaking on behalf of the OIC, Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, who is also the current Chairman of the OIC group, thanked the Director General for his pro-development initiatives and welcomed the event as an opportunity for the OIC, which groups 57 states, to foster an in-depth knowledge of the work of WIPO.  He said there is increased recognition that greater interest should be given by the OIC group in Geneva to economic issues.  “As OIC economies transition to higher levels of development, they need to raise awareness about intellectual property rights and how these rights impinge on trade, industry and investment.  In this context, Mr. Director General, your initiative is most timely.”
 
Ambassador Masood further noted that “over the past few years a number of important initiatives have been taken in WIPO.  Today, WIPO is more transparent, efficient, development-oriented and responsive to the needs of developing countries.  These initiatives will have deep and long term impact on the capacity of the developing countries to use IP for furthering their socio-economic objectives.  The OIC needs to assimilate and integrate these trends in their economies.”
 
This was echoed by the Permanent Observer of the OIC, Ambassador Babacar Ba, who said this was a useful opportunity to exchange views and develop further understanding of key issues on WIPO’s agenda. He also expressed appreciation for the constructive institutional cooperation between the secretariats of WIPO and the OIC.
 
Issues covered during the retreat included the development agenda process, public policy issues relating to intellectual property regimes, copyright and the digital divide, the creative industries, agriculture and plant varieties protection, traditional cultural expressions, traditional knowledge and genetic resources, small and medium sized enterprises, fostering development through innovation, and the opportunities and challenges of enforcement of intellectual property rights.  
 
In his closing remarks, the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ambassador Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, thanked the Director General for organizing this event and said that it had greatly helped member countries to focus on key intellectual property issues of particular importance to the group.
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