IGC Considers Future Work

Geneva, July 6, 2009

The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) concluded its 14th session on July 3, 2009 after an in-depth discussion on the best way to advance the Committee’s future work. 

Summarizing discussions at the end of the meeting, the Chairman of the IGC, Ambassador Rigoberto Gauto Vielman, noted that the WIPO General Assembly would take up the matter of the IGC’s mandate at its September 2009 session. 

The session focused mainly on the renewal of the IGC’s mandate for the 2010-2011 biennium. At the basis of discussions on future work was a proposal by the African Group. Core tenets of this proposal were that the future work of the IGC should comprise “text-based negotiations”, conclude with the adoption of an “internationally legally binding instrument/s”, and be undertaken through a “defined work program and time frame, including the holding of intersessional work sessions.” During the course of extensive discussion of this proposal, as well as other textual proposals from the European Union, Australia, Mexico and others, positions on the key issues became clearer. 

While the Committee was unable to reach agreement on a roadmap for future work, the extensive discussions provided a basis for enhanced understanding of all the elements of the work under consideration.

The IGC process, which formally began in 2000 following a decision by WIPO member states to establish the body, has been uniquely characterized by the prominent contribution and role of indigenous and local communities.  This session of the IGC was led off by a panel session in which several representatives of indigenous communities from across the globe shared their practical experiences and concerns as well as lessons learned from the Committee’s work.  Fourteen new NGOs were accredited to the IGC at this session. 

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