Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Mr. Martin Glass (Hong Kong, China)
World Trade Organization
J.2 Other matters
149. The representative of the Secretariat recalled that he had given an extensive report on technical cooperation and capacity building at the Council's meeting in March 2010, and that the present update would therefore focus only on the major developments since then. The Council's decision on the extension of the transition period under Article 66.1 had established three elements of a needs assessment for the LDC Members. The first element was that LDC Members would provide as much information as possible about their individual priority needs for technical and financial assistance, to help them take the necessary steps to implement the TRIPS Agreement. The second element of the Decision was that developed country Members were asked to provide technical and financial assistance to the LDCs to address their identified needs effectively. And, finally, the WTO was asked to enhance its cooperation with WIPO and other relevant international organizations. 150. That present update covered each of those three elements of the Decision. Firstly, the main developments that were highlighted in the Secretariat's report to the Council in March had now been implemented or were in the process of being implemented. A programme of regionally focused workshops for LDC Members, established at the request of the LDC Group of Members had now been initiated. It built on the successful workshop that had been convened in October 2009. A dedicated website had been established to enhance the flow of information about this process and to provide a basis for sharing of experiences. A draft guide book was under preparation to share experiences in undertaking the needs assessment exercise and to assist LDC Members in identifying the appropriate resources to fulfil the need once identified. And coordination with other international organizations, notably WIPO and UNCTAD, had been enhanced, including through the direct participation in the WTO activities relating to the needs assessment process. 151. The first in the series of regional workshops on the LDC needs assessment process was held on 1 3 June in Entebbe, Uganda. It had been focused on the Anglophone LDC Members from the African region. The workshop had been greatly facilitated by the support, guidance and hospitality of the hosts, the Government of Uganda. Engineer Nelson Wambosi, Minister of State for Trade, had opened the workshop with a thoughtful and insightful reflection on the development aspect of intellectual property. The Council for TRIPS delegate, Ms Elizabeth Tamale, of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry, and her colleagues from the Government of Uganda had provided extensive practical support and insights based on their own experiences in the development of a needs assessment for Uganda and the subsequent experience in seeking to implement it. He thanked all the LDC Members and Observers who had taken part in the workshop and made sure it had been a very helpful practical dialogue, as well as the developed country Members who had taken part, including Germany, Japan, the United Sates, the European Union and the other intergovernmental organizations, including ARIPO, WIPO and UNCTAD, and the two experts, Mr. Mosongo and Mr. Mengesti, who had outlined their practical experience with needs assessment projects in the African region. The workshop had consumed three very full days and had focused on the three aspects of the process which were set out in the Council for TRIPS Decision, namely the LDC needs assessment itself, novelizing developed country Member support for fulfilling needs identified and coordination across the international system. The workshop had been opened with an informal exchange of practical experience, and there had been no attempt to establish any formal outcome. Some general observations could be made. Firstly, many countries were already undertaking various forms of national planning exercises, directly related to the needs assessment activity, in the form of a national IP strategy or of more specific sectoral planning exercises. There had been strong interest in using these existing processes to inform and facilitate the needs assessment process, so as to avoid duplication of the same kind of policy making analysis and the same kind of prioritization of needs in parallel processes. 152. A number of participating countries had either concluded or were finalizing their needs assessments and were looking for sustainable ways of building up coordination with the providers of technical and financial resources so as to ensure that the needs identified could be systematically and sustainably met. A valuable feature of the Entebbe workshop was a series of bilateral coordination meetings, which had enabled LDC representatives to discuss the specific needs and priorities directly with potential technical cooperation partners. Equally, there had been strong interest in building up practical coordination on the ground and the avoidance of duplication in programme designing delivery. The need for closer coordination with the Aid for Trade and Enhanced Integrated Framework programmes, an issue already explored at the Geneva workshop in 2009, had been discussed in practical terms. There was now a substantial body of practical experience in the undertaking of needs assessments, which could be drawn together for the benefit of others, but without creating any kind of standard template or format, given that the emphasis in this process continued to lie on individual priority needs of LDC Members. 153. The material from the Entebbe workshop and other practical resources would continue to be uploaded to the dedicated webpage to facilitate further coordination and a flow of information. Already, the practical lessons shared in Entebbe would be drawn on for subsequent exercises in these series, in particular, the next regional workshop, which was scheduled to be held in Bangladesh at the end of July, with the support of the delegation of Bangladesh. That workshop was to be convened for the benefit of LDC Members and Observers from Asia and the Pacific region. Invitations had been sent and he encouraged LDC Members in this region and interested developed country Members to take part in the event.