INB4: KEI general comment on the Zero Draft

On 28 February 2023, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) delivered the following statement on the zero draft prepared by the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (INB).

While KEI welcomes the language on transparency in Articles 6 and Articles 9, it should be expanded to include more of the items addressed in resolution WHA72.8, and it may be better to place the transparency obligations in its own chapter or article.

Article 7.4(b) of the zero draft is perhaps the most important intellectual property proposal in the text, but should avoid a closed list of exceptions, or specific references to the TRIPS Agreement.

In the event of a pandemic, the mandatory obligations to use exceptions in domestic IP laws can be those that are needed to enable the necessary research activities, scaling of manufacturing, sharing of manufacturing technology, and distribution of affordable countermeasures, in a manner consistent with the objectives of this agreement. Parties should also be required to review and modify domestic laws to ensure that there are sufficient exceptions to exclusive rights in intellectual property in order to respond to a pandemic.

KEI recommends the open source dividend proposal be added to the text, as well as some more terms and conditions on government funded R&D to deal with pandemic responses.