New WIPO committee on Development Agenda gets underway

The newly created WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) is meeting this week in Geneva from 3 March – 7 March 2008. The chair of the CDIP is Ambassador Trevor Clarke of Barbados. Today the discussion has focused mainly on the rules of procedure and modalities governing this Committee. Unfortunately, finding the 45 Development Agenda recommendations adopted at the WIPO General Assembly in September/October 2007 on the WIPO website is not easy. For the sake of transparency, it would be good if the International Bureau published these 45 recommendations on a readily accessible site.

Today, two documents bearing the seal of the Chair were circulated. The first document consists of two parts:

(a) Preliminary Implementation Report with respect to the 19 proposals identified for
immediate implementation by WIPO; and

(b) Initial Working Document regarding the implementation of the 26 agreed proposals.

The second document contains suggestions made by the Central European and Baltic States, the Group of Friend of Development and the Republic of Korea on activities for the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda recommendations.

So far, Member States have made general statements and inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations are slated to speak now. More details of Member States’ interventions will be made available soon. As my recollection goes, South Africa, Brazil and Thailand made strong interventions; Thailand specifically referenced access to knowledge.

Earlier in the day, there had been some tension between on how to deal with the 19 proposals identified for immediate implementation vis-a-vis the 26 agreed proposals. At the end of the day, the Chair suggested a “cluster by cluster” parallel approach. This means, the CDIP would consider the first proposal in cluster A of the 26 recommendations followed by the first proposal in cluster A of the 19 proposals identified for immediate implementation.

The substantive work will begin tomorrow.

Today the Indian representative posed a question to the Chair: “How will you ensure that the development dimension is incorporated into WIPO?” Perhaps this is a question that could well be posed to the entire WIPO membership as it meets this week to make decisions on how the Development Agenda will be implemented.