Committee Sees Some Progress on Implementing WIPO Development Agenda

25 November 2009

The fourth session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP), which met from 16 to 20 November, witnessed some progress on the implementation of a number of WIPO Development Agenda recommendations.

The World Intellectual Property Organization's Development Agenda, which was adopted in 2007 and consists of a total of 45 specific recommendations, aims to ensure that WIPO fully integrates the development dimension into all of its activities, consistent with its status as a UN Agency and with the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Last May, the CDIP adopted a project-based approach to implementing the WIPO Development Agenda recommendations that were not eligible for immediate implementation. In this regard, WIPO's Director General, Francis Gurry, noted at the outset of the meeting that this approach had provided "an important impetus" to the WIPO Development Agenda implementation.

He recalled that nine projects were already under implementation and that another three had received preliminary approval in May. He also stressed the importance of continuing to ‘mainstream' the Development Agenda into the work of the organisation and informed the committee that WIPO funding had been secured for the implementation of projects approved at the fourth and fifth sessions of the CDIP.

Also at last week's meeting, the CDIP adopted three new projects: one on competition policy, one on information and communication technologies, and another on developing tools for access to patent information.

Discussions on the project on IP and the public domain were lengthier, as developing countries were reluctant to include traditional knowledge among the project's activities. Ultimately, only the components of the project on patents, copyright and trademarks were approved, after some modifications.

Extensive discussions also took place on a project on technology transfer. A group of "like-minded" developing countries made suggestions and comments on the draft project, which had been prepared by the WIPO secretariat. In response to a request from developed countries, developing countries agreed to submit a document containing comments on the implementation of the relevant recommendations by the end of the year. Working from those comments, and subsequent reactions, the Secretariat will aim to prepare ‘non-paper' on the project for the next session of the CDIP.

The Committee also discussed a project entitled ‘Enhancement of WIPO's Results-Based Management (RBM) Framework to Support the Monitoring and Evaluation of Development Activities'. The project -- which will evaluate WIPO's technical assistance activities -- was adopted with a number of amendments to the relevant project document.

The most intractable issue in the meeting which remained unresolved - despite extensive consultations -- was the coordination mechanism between the CDIP and the work of other WIPO bodies. According to a statement by Brazil at the opening session, there is a need for "systemic realignment leading to the mainstreaming of the recommendations of the agenda into the work of all WIPO bodies."

However, the gap in positions between a joint proposal made by Algeria, Brazil and Pakistan, which was supported by many developing countries, and one by developed countries was not overcome. At the heart of the matter lie differences over how the CDIP should oversee the mainstreaming of the WIPO Development recommendations and principles into the work of other WIPO bodies.

Proponents of the joint proposal say that the CDIP should include a permanent item in its ordinary sessions to coordinate, monitor, discuss, and assess the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda recommendations in all areas of WIPO's work, including by all relevant WIPO bodies. But developed countries argue that all WIPO Committees stand on an equal footing and that there should be no duplication with other WIPO governance arrangements.

Countries ultimately decided to take up the matter first thing at the next session of the CDIP.

ICTSD reporting; "Coordination Tops Issues at WIPO Development Agenda Meeting," IP-WATCH, 17 November 2009.

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