Monday, June 26, 2006

WIPO Development Agenda meeting currently in informal discussions on procedure

26 June 2006

12:19 PM

The second session of the Provisional Committee on Proposal related to a WIPO Development Agenda (PCDA) is taking place at WIPO headquarters in Geneva from 26 June to 30 June 2006. Among the issues at stake is how this committee will take stock of the 111 proposals submitted since September 2004 and make a decision to the General Assembly on how WIPO implements (if at all) or establish a Development Agenda. Last Friday, the 15 Members of the Friends of Development (Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Equador, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uruguay and Venezuela) submitted a proposal to the PCDA on a "Decision on the PCDA on the Establishment of a WIPO Development Agenda" (PCDA/2/2). This proposal comes with an introductory note explaining the purpose of the submission. Here are some excerpts from the introduction which note that the

aim of the document is to help the PCDA to fulfill the mandate entrusted to it by the 2005 General Assembly, by submitting a report with recommendations to the next General Assembly. In this connection, the document contains a series of decisions relating to normative activities, public policies and the public domain, technology transfer, access to knowledge, technical assistance, impact studies and assessments, and WIPO’s governance and mandate.

As regards technical cooperation for example, an effort has been made with the language in order to accommodate almost all the proposals put forward by the African Group, Bahrain and a group of countries, United States of America and the Group of Friends of Development. On that basis, the proposal would provide a basic framework for technical assistance that would allow effective progress to be made on issues that require further technical debate, as is the case for example with the proposals relating to financing mechanisms. Certain proposals of the Group of Friends of Development, which have not been included in this proposed recommendation, will be subject to further consideration at the 2007 General Assembly.

As to WIPO’s normative activity, flexibilities, public policies and the public domain, the broad language used in the wording of the proposal was intended to cover the vast majority of proposals put forward by the developing countries; in other words, the African Group, Chile and the Group of Friends of Development, some of which have been the subject of debate since 2004.

Today the meeting began 10:32 AM and was suspended at 10:47 AM to discuss matters of procedure with regional coordinators and interested parties. The informal meetings are still in session. Sources say that the Group B countries (WIPO code for rich countries) support the Chair's suggestion to "cluster" the proposals into three baskets: (1) consensus, (2) emergent consensus and (3) no consensus. The Friends of Development group opposes this approach. It is unclear at this stage as to how the week will unfold and what type of decision this committee will take with respect to the Development Agenda.