WIPO and SAARC Countries Review Joint Cooperation

Geneva, September 20, 2007

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris, met on September 20, 2007 with the Ambassadors and senior officials of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries represented in Geneva to review cooperation between the two organizations and to share views on ways to enhance cooperation in the field of intellectual property. The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Idris and Ambassador Swashpawan Singh, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in Geneva, who is currently chairing the SAARC Group in Geneva.  

The meeting underlined the effectiveness of the SAARC-WIPO consultation process as a mechanism for identifying and agreeing on concrete cooperation activities with a regional perspective. This mechanism was initiated by the Director General in November 2000, with a view to increasing the scope and depth of cooperation between the two organizations and to enhancing understanding of the policy implications of developments in the field of intellectual property. 

Dr. Idris assured the SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) of WIPO’s continued cooperation and support in using intellectual property as a tool for wealth creation and economic and cultural development. He further renewed the Organization’s commitment to paying special attention to the needs and expectations of five least developed countries of the Group.

The SAARC Group commended WIPO’s initiatives to assist SAARC countries in IP capacity building, which would enable the countries to better exploit their intellectual property assets to promote the socio-economic objectives. The positive impact of the programs that have been undertaken to develop IP infrastructure in SAARC countries was acknowledged. A number of priority areas were identified for intensified cooperation, including traditional knowledge, small and medium-term enterprises, creative industries, and IP and public policy issues with a view to facilitating appropriate policy formulation and assisting in achieving tangible economic gains from the use of IP. 

The meeting took stock of discussions on a development agenda for WIPO. The SAARC countries emphasized the need to integrate the development dimension of intellectual property in all WIPO programs and activities. 

The SAARC countries agreed to reinforce future cooperation with WIPO and to initiate a range of innovative programs at the sub-regional level to promote the sharing of information, experience and best practices and the pooling of resources. 

Participants noted with satisfaction the growing relationship between WIPO and the SAARC secretariat in Kathmandu and WIPO’s expanding ties with SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and agreed that further impetus may be given to strengthening these relationships.  

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