Developing Countries Launch New Coalition at WIPO

28 April 2010

Nineteen developing countries have created a new coalition to push the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to make its work more development friendly. The announcement of the new bloc, dubbed the WIPO Development Agenda Group (DAG), came during this week's meeting of WIPO's Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP).

The DAG is "an open and inclusive group consisting of WIPO Member States that are like-minded in their support for a development-oriented perspective on intellectual property issues, and the mainstreaming of the Development Agenda across all areas of WIPO's work," according to the statement made by Egypt on behalf of the group.

The DAG maybe be seen as a successor to the Group of Friends of Development (FOD), which played an active role in advancing the initial stages of the WIPO Development Agenda since its launch in 2004 until the adoption, in 2007, of 45 recommendations that aim to integrate the development dimension in all of WIPO's activities.

"DAG represents the determination to accommodate the unique and specific interests and development needs of WIPO Member states on all IP matters," Egypt added in its statement.

The DAG also formulated a number of guiding principles, which include the need for a "development compatible approach to all norm setting activities" at WIPO and also for WIPO to "provide balanced advice on appropriate national IP strategies based in available flexibilities, exceptions and limitations."

Eighteen countries are founding members of the DAG: Algeria, Brazil, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Uruguay and Yemen.

The creation of the DAG reflects the keenness of these developing countries to inject momentum in the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda process.

On Tuesday, the second day of the CDIP session, officials discussed how to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda. The DAG supported a proposal put forward by Algeria, Brazil and Pakistan at the last session of the CDIP, which was held in November. That proposal calls for the CDIP to convene special sessions to coordinate the implementation of the Development Agenda in all areas of WIPO's work and also for the WIPO Audit Committee to review and assess the overall implementation of the Development Agenda Recommendations.

A different proposal was put forward by Switzerland, acting on behalf of a group of developed nations. While agreeing on the need for mainstreaming of the development agenda in all of WIPO's work, the Swiss proposal argued that the organisation's focus on development should not place any new financial burdens on WIPO or on member states. It also stressed that the CDIP should remain on an equal footing with all other WIPO committees.

During the CDIP session, which will conclude on 30th April, WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry gave a report on the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda.

Other items to be discussed this week include a report on WIPO's contribution to the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a report on patent-related flexibilities in the multilateral legal framework and the legislative implementation of those flexibilities at the national and regional levels.

ICTSD reporting.

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