Thursday, February 23, 2006

WIPO PCDA discussions on way forward

Thursday, 23 February 2006
Thiru Balasubramaniam

The afternoon session of the fourth day of discussions dealt mainly with structuring future discussions of the development agenda. The Chair (Ambassador Gauto Vielman of Paraguay) distributed a document entitled "Clusters of Proposals" from A to F listed vertically.

A. Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

B. Norm-Setting, Flexibilities, Public Policy and Public Domain

C. Technology Transfer, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Access to Knowledge

D. Assessments, Evaluation and Impact Studies

E. Institutional Matters including Mandate and Governance

F. Other Issues

Nearly one hour was devoted to whether to structure this list "horizontally" or "vertically". The Ambassador of Argentina proposed that this list be structured in horizontal clusters in a table or matrix format. This he suggested would be a better way to visually see the common threads binding the proposals. Different delegations could then identify which cluster or column they felt their proposals belonged to. This initiative was supported by Brazil, Pakistan, and Venezuela. Many other members including the United States noted that this process was time consuming and was not the most efficient way to proceed.

The delegate from Pakistan had an inimitable quote on these discussions,

We can't resist the temptation to recite this line while we are looking at your proposal; a dance is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire. It is somehow relevant to the discussion we are having here. The desire is horizontal because we want to have a common ground. We have received from you a vertical expression.

The Argentine idea for a table would visually indicate how much support different proposals would receive.

At the end of the day, the Chair called on Members to submit their respective proposals by 10 AM tomorrow and indicate under what headings they wanted their submissions to be included. The Secretariat will then compile the submissions and present a compilation by 2:30 PM. At the 3:30 PM the WIPO PCDA will resume and consider this compilation and the Chair's summary.