Tuesday, September 26, 2006

South African statement at WIPO General Assemblies

Highlights of the general statement by the Republic of South Africa at the WIPO General Assemblies

This statement was delivered by Glaudine Mtshali, Ambassador, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission.

Geneva, 25 September to 3 October 2006

"This 42nd General Assemblies come at a time when Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 19 September 2006 said that "... the world is divided by an unjust economy, world disorder and widespread contempt for human rights and the rule of law...". The stalled Doha Development Round confirms Secretary-General [Annan's] observation as it bears witness to the pernicious hold that the powerful economies have on global trade and rules. It also reinforces the suspicion with which developing countries view global trade initiatives which do not benefit poor countries despite the politically correct titles attached thereto.

In the same vein, WIPO is challenged with the task of ensuring that the development agenda is taken seriously, is member-driven, and becomes deeply entrenched in all WIPO's rules, treaties, polices and programs...

It is our responsibility as Member States of WIPO to ensure that development is central to WIPO's activities, and that intellectual property rules and norms are supportive to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals...

With regard to the Development Agenda proposal, South Africa calls for the continuation of the Development Agenda process in2007, with the view to agree on a set of recommendations, which would reflect both substantive and technical assistance issues. South Africa will not support recommendations that are not balanced. South Africa is firmly of the view that the development agenda is about more than just technical assistance. Norm-setting is at the core thereof.

South Africa reiterates that the Development Agenda must be incorporated in all areas of WIPO's activities, committees and structures. In this regard we reject a "one size fits all" approach and favour different standards of protection depending on the stage of development.

South Africa therefore welcomes and urges the General Assembly to extend and renew the mandate of the PCDA to continue its work on the development agenda...

The 15th Session of the Standing Committee on Copyrights and Related Rights agreed on a recommendation to convene a Diplomatic Conference on SCCR's Draft Basic Proposals. The exclusion of simulcasting and web casting from the draft basic proposal as was agreed in the 14th Session of the SCCR, should be maintained as a condition for proceeding to a Diplomatic Conference. We believe that the holding of a diplomatic conference in the absence of consensus on key substantive issues is clearly contentious and premature".