WIPO GA 2016: Statement by India on behalf of Asia Pacific Group – Report on the IGC

On Thursday, 6 October 2016, India delivered the following statement on behalf of the Asia Pacific Group in relation to the General Assembly’s deliberations on WIPO’s work on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.

Position Statement by India on behalf of Asia- Pacific Group on Agenda Item 16 – Report on the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), delivered by Dr. Sumit Seth, First Secretary(Economic Affairs)

Thank you Mr. Chairman

1. India has the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Asia & the Pacific Group.

Mr. Chairman

2. Asia Pacific Group is in favour of a differential level of protection of Traditional Knowledge using a tiered approach. Such an approach will provide an opportunity to strike an optimal balance between the rights and interests of the owners, the users of Traditional Knowledge and the wider public interest.

3. Establishing the level of rights based on the characteristic of the Traditional Knowledge could be a way forward towards narrowing the existing gaps, with the ultimate objective of reaching an agreement on an international legal instrument/instruments which will ensure the balanced and effective protection of traditional knowledge (TK), in addition to protection of Genetic Resources and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs), if there are instances in which Traditional Knowledge cannot be directly attributed to a local community.

4. On the issue of the scope of the protection, Asia Pacific Group is in favour of providing maximal possible protection for widely held Traditional Knowledge, as such Knowledge especially the Traditional Medicinal Knowledge is of immense commercial value. Also, there has to be some form of economic rights flowing such as a user fee as decided by Contracting Parties and in case of research and development widely established concepts of Prior Informed Consent, Mutually Agreed Terms and Access Benefit Sharing should be included while providing protection to such widely held Traditional Knowledge.

5. On exceptions and limitations, it is of fundamental importance to ensure that the provisions should be considered in a balanced way between the specific situations of each member state and the substantive interests of TK holders. Hence, the integrality of the principle of differential protections of Traditional Knowledge should be reflected in the text of the instrument/instruments.

6. Before concluding, our Group would like to express its appreciation for the leadership provided by you Mr. Ian Goss and the two Vice-Chairs in the previous sessions of IGC. We would also like to thank the Traditional Knowledge Division for meticulous preparations for the IGC Meetings.

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