IGC 40 Summary

June 25, 2019

WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) concluded a week-long session on June 21, 2019.  This was the sixth and the last session under the current IGC mandate for 2018-2019.  It addressed traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, and also took stock of the progress made over the 2018-2019 biennium and made recommendations to the WIPO General Assembly.

IGC 40 was chaired by Mr. Ian Goss of Australia, with Mr. Jukka Liedes of Finland and Mr. Faizal Chery Sidharta of Indonesia as Vice-Chairs.  Participants from 94 countries and 31 observers attended the session.

Plenary and informals on Agenda Item 6 (“Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions”)

On Agenda Item 6, the IGC requested Mr. Paul Kuruk (Ghana) and Ms. Lilyclaire Bellamy (Jamaica) to act as “Facilitators”.  Following discussions during “informals” (which included indigenous experts) and within the IGC plenary, the Facilitators presented two Rev. documents to the plenary on June 19, 2019.  The Plenary agreed that “The Protection of Traditional Knowledge:  Draft Articles – Facilitators’ Rev.” and “The Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions:  Draft Articles – Facilitators’ Rev.” as at the close of this agenda item on June 19, 2019, be considered by the Committee under Agenda Item 7 (Taking Stock of Progress and Making a Recommendation to the General Assembly), in accordance with the Committee’s mandate for 2018-2019.  The session’s work on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions was informed by an informal note circulated in advance by the IGC’s Chair, and updated draft gap analyses on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions prepared by the Secretariat.

Previously submitted documents from some Member States were re-submitted for consideration by IGC 40.

Plenary and informal consultations on Agenda Item 7 (“Taking Stock of Progress and Making a Recommendation to the General Assembly”)

On Agenda Item 7, informal consultations were convened throughout the week to take stock of progress and discuss a recommendation to the General Assembly.  In addition to Member State representatives, the Indigenous Caucus was also represented in these informal consultations.  As an outcome, the IGC plenary agreed by consensus:

The decisions and all the documents of the session are available online.

Indigenous and local community participation and the Voluntary Fund

Under Agenda Item 5 (Participation of Indigenous and Local Communities), the Committee requested the WIPO Secretariat to, during the 2020-2021 biennium, organize an Indigenous Expert Workshop and commission the updating of an analysis of the Committee’s draft texts that had been undertaken by an indigenous expert in 2016.  These decisions implemented recommendations made by the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at its most recent session in 2019.

With the contribution of the Government of Canada made earlier this year to the WIPO Voluntary Fund for Accredited Indigenous and Local Communities, four indigenous representatives were funded for IGC 40.

The IGC Chair called upon other members and all interested public and private entities to contribute to the Fund.

Indigenous panel

A high-level indigenous panel, which addressed “Intellectual Property and Traditional Knowledge/Traditional Cultural Expressions:  Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Perspectives on Objectives”, was held on Monday morning, June 17, 2019.

Side events

Three side events were organized in the margins of IGC 40:

  • A side event, addressing “National Approaches to Protecting Traditional Knowledge: Lessons, Challenges and Opportunities for the WIPO IGC”, organized by Centre for International Governance Innovation;
  • A side event, addressing “Traditional Knowledge and Know-how related to Sejnane Women’s Patterned Pottery”, organized by the Government of the Republic of Tunisia; and
  • A side event, addressing “Handling Indigenous Knowledge Content: Libraries, Archives, Museums”, organized by the University of California, Los Angeles.


The initial draft report of IGC 40 will be prepared and circulated by September 6, 2019.

Video summary

Video: Wend Wendland, Director of WIPO's Traditional Knowledge Division and Secretary of the IGC, sums up the session.