352. The representative of the Secretariat, introducing the Secretariat's report, said the technical cooperation it had provided had remained focused entirely on the needs and priorities identified by Members and accession candidates. As Members' interests and identified needs continued to evolve and grow more diverse, the technical cooperation made available also had to evolve and diversify. The Secretariat had seen increasing interest in understanding the range of policy choices pursued by different countries within the framework of the TRIPS Agreement, and an increasing interest in understanding the policy context of TRIPS implementation, for instance, the economic dimension, and some specific sectors of interest, notably health, but also the environment, agriculture, and education, as well as the practical aspects of making use of the IP system in specific operational contexts to promote policy outcomes.
353. For the Secretariat, technical assistance was a major and constantly growing component of its programme activities, due to the brisk and increasing demand experienced, placing considerable pressure on resources. Apart from the specific activities principally organized by the IP Division in cooperation with its partners within the Secretariat, in particular the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC), TRIPS and IP issues were covered by many additional activities, ranging from trade policy courses and "Geneva Weeks" for non-residents, to support for accession processes.
354. Technical cooperation activities relating to the TRIPS Agreement continued to be directed towards assisting Members to understand the rights and obligations, including the available options, which flow from the Agreement and relevant decisions of WTO bodies. This covered TRIPS flexibilities and policy options under the Agreement, including the Paragraph 6 Mechanism on TRIPS and public health, and the interplay between TRIPS standards and policy choices. Assistance on practical use of notifications and reviews of national legislation had also been provided. Programme activities had paid increasing attention to building sustainable capacity, including through the training of trainers and strengthening regionally based expertise. Many ad hoc activities undertaken had included servicing the specific requests from Members and acceding countries on such matters as notification and review procedures, the meaning of particular provisions of the Agreement, the options available under these provisions, and background on the matters under discussion or negotiation in the Council.
355. Major activities in the previous 12 months had included the seventh joint WIPO-WTO Colloquium for Teachers of Intellectual Property from Developing Countries. In line with the emphasis in the WTO Biennial Technical Assistance and Training Plan 2010-2011, this activity had promoted cooperation with the academic community in developing countries so as to build local research and teaching capacity. The Colloquium had updated university teachers and researchers from 20 developing countries on activities and legal instruments of WIPO and the WTO, strengthened the independent research and teaching capacity of developing countries on IP law and policy, and provided a forum for exchange of information and ideas between the teachers and the two Secretariats, as well as a wide range of stakeholders, experts and WTO delegates. Participating university teachers had also made presentations on current policy issues and their own research.
356. An important new component of Geneva-based activities, the first and second joint WIPO-WTO Advanced Courses on Intellectual Property had been held respectively in October 2009 and April-May 2010. This initiative had drawn on the experience of the successful Colloquium for teachers of intellectual property, and applied a similar programme structure and pedagogic strategy, but had been tailored and focused on government officials and public sector policymakers instead of university teachers and researchers. As advanced courses, supplementing the continuing programme of general capacity building on the TRIPS Agreement, these activities had responded to the strong capacity already present in many countries, the more diversified and tailored demands expressed for technical assistance, and the interest in refining skills and exploring new issues. The courses had been able to work from a truly advanced baseline and thus explore cutting edge issues through interactive debate and practical case studies, so as to strengthen the capacity of government officials and policymakers to critically review policy options and their implications, and to learn from the wide range of practical experiences.
357. Further activities had included two regional workshops with a focus on certain topical issues under discussion, examination or negotiation in the TRIPS context, in particular TRIPS and public health, biotechnology/traditional knowledge/biodiversity, and geographical indications, in Tunis, Tunisia in October 2010 for the Francophone Africa, and in Nairobi, Kenya, in January 2010 for the Anglophone Africa. These activities had been enhanced by participation from WIPO and the WHO and by invited experts from Members participating in WTO work on these topical issues. Warm thanks had been recorded to the two host governments, Tunisia and Kenya, for their invaluable support. Other regional efforts had included a Workshop on Intellectual Property for Customs Officers of the Central American Secretariat for Economic Integration (SIECA) members, Panama and the Dominican Republic, organized jointly with SIECA and held in Costa Rica in November 2009, and a Workshop on TRIPS Standards and Public Policy Options for WTO Members and Observers in Asia and the Pacific, organized jointly with the Government of Singapore and held in Singapore in January 2010. A follow-up workshop was to take place in Singapore the following week, again looking at current policy issues and the TRIPS context. The support of the Government of Singapore was invaluable for these programmes that responded to evolving demands and interests in Asia and the Pacific region.
358. The Secretariat had also organized six national seminars or workshops at the request of Members or observers concerned, namely the Philippines, Iran, Senegal, Grenada, Uganda and China. These activities had been increasingly tailored to the specific needs and priorities identified by Member governments. For instance, in line with the requirements of the host government, the workshop in Beijing had concentrated on the economic dimension of the TRIPS Agreement, and approaches to economic analysis of two topical issues in the area of the TRIPS Agreement, namely its relationship with the CBD and geographical indications. The national workshop in Uganda had addressed elements of the individual priority needs identified in its needs assessment submitted to the TRIPS Council.
359. Cooperation with other organizations and agencies had been central to technical cooperation in relation to the TRIPS Agreement, including a longstanding programme of cooperation and coordination with WIPO, as well as the WHO, UNCTAD and other cooperating partners in the UN community. The reporting period had seen an increased focus on activities on public health and intellectual property in dialogue with the WHO and WIPO, upon which further details were reported under agenda item F, in view of the request for a specific briefing on technical assistance relating to public health under that item.
360. Turning to the LDC needs assessment and needs communication process, the Secretariat recalled that the Council's 2005 decision on Article 66.1 provided for three elements relating to the identification, communication and fulfilment of LDC needs for technical and financial cooperation relating to TRIPS implementation: LDCs were to provide information on their individual priority needs; developed countries were to provide technical and financial help to address the identified needs; and the WTO was to enhance cooperation with WIPO and with other relevant international organizations. The report to the Council provided an update on Secretariat activities aimed at progressing each of these elements.
361. At the request of the LDC Group, the Secretariat was convening a series of regional workshops to enable mutual learning from the needs assessment process, to harvest the lessons of practical experience with needs assessment and coordination of resources to meet the needs identified, to promote horizontal cooperation and the strengthening of methodologies and coordination with other policymaking and needs assessment processes, and to work with other international organizations, including WIPO, WHO and UNCTAD, to ensure that the TRIPS needs assessment and needs fulfilment activities were integrated with or properly complementary to the many existing programme activities that were already working on the same subject matter.
362. Accordingly, following the request made by Angola and Tanzania on behalf of the LDC Group in June 2009, the Secretariat had convened two regional workshops on needs assessment, one in Uganda for English-speaking Africa and one in Dhaka for Asia and the Pacific region. A similar workshop for French-speaking Africa was scheduled for 9-11 November 2010 in Dakar, Senegal. Warm thanks were offered to the host governments, Uganda, Bangladesh and Senegal, for their support, guidance and substantive input to these workshops. In line with the request by the LDC Group, plans were under way for a major workshop for the latter half of 2011, to build on the lessons from individual needs assessment and fulfilment activities, and from the regional workshops. The Secretariat would be in dialogue with delegations as to how to take that process forward.
363. At the request of the LDC Group, a workshop had been convened in Geneva in 2009 on LDC priority needs that brought together delegates and other officials from LDCs and donor countries, and from the WTO and WIPO secretariats. The WTO Secretariat had also explored options for closer systematic coordination at the WIPO Conference on Building Partnerships for Mobilizing Resources for IP and Development, held in November 2009. In general, closer interagency coordination remained a high priority in carrying this process forward, in line with the third element of the 2005 TRIPS Council decision.
364. A key practical matter that had emerged at these workshops was the need to enhance the systematic linkages between the TRIPS-related process and the Aid for Trade and Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) programmes. The Secretariat had circulated a note on "Least Developed Country Members' Priority Needs Assessments: the Aid-for-Trade Initiative and the Enhanced Integrated Framework" (IP/C/W/544).
365. The Secretariat was continuing to consult closely with delegates as to how to take this work forward. Subject to the continuing guidance of Members, and the LDC Group in particular, the following general directions had been suggested:
• Given the wide range of existing policymaking and IP needs assessment processes already under way, it would be most effective to work with those processes as far as possible, rather than launching discrete and stand-alone needs assessment exercises that duplicate or overlap with existing processes, some of which had already undertaken needs assessments directly relevant to TRIPS implementation in LDCs. This would involve careful dialogue with other IGOs, notably WIPO and UNCTAD, with donors and bilateral programmes, and above all with the authorities in LDC Members.
• An improved flow of information would ensure that specific activities planned under the needs assessment process would truly complement existing programmes and directly address unfulfilled needs, rather than overlapping with current programme efforts to meet the same needs; possibilities to achieve this would include informal dialogue with LDC authorities to obtain updates on progress toward fulfilling identified needs so that additional resources could be focused most effectively on specific needs that remained unmet and were not targeted by existing programme activities. An improved flow of information about relevant IGO and bilateral technical cooperation programmes would also help identify resources that could be applied to progress the communication and fulfilment of individual priority needs.
• In turn, this flow of information would facilitate practical setting of priorities and programme coordination, both through continuing bilateral coordination and a continuation of coordination activities in Geneva, such as the workshops that had been convened and planned for the future.
• Finally, there was now a great deal of practical experience with needs assessment activities. Five Members had already filed reports to the Council identifying their priority needs, and this reporting represented a wealth of information about the process and methodology of needs assessment, as well as of course communicating the individual needs of the countries concerned. A clear highlight of each of the workshops on this subject had been the practical experiences reported by officials of the LDC Members concerned. For instance, a senior colleague of Uganda had made an invaluable contribution to the Asia Pacific workshop by sharing hard won practical experience and the lessons learned from Uganda's own process.
366. Accordingly, based on the experience so far achieved, specific avenues for follow up had been identified:
• Targeted follow up of existing needs assessments already tabled in the Council, and exploration of how to integrate the TRIPS needs assessment process with the Aid-for-Trade and EIF programmes, both to support further needs assessments and to ensure resources to meet identified needs.
• Continued workshops, including bilateral meetings, to promote coordination of technical cooperation programmes and making most effective use of existing needs assessment activities and technical assistance resources.
• Further development of the draft guidebook that was under preparation both as a vehicle for communicating the practical experience and case studies, and as a means of identifying sources of technical cooperation programmes that might be relevant to TRIPS implementation.
• Facilitating reporting on progress achieved in relation to identified needs, and on LDC Members' specific concerns relating to needs that remained unmet or for which specific resources or expertise might be needed.
367. The report had been characterized as only a general outline of the possible ways forward. The Secretariat would continue to consult with and take the guidance of Members, particularly the LDC Group and individual LDC Members, in order to support the fulfilment of the three elements of the TRIPS Council decision on this important matter.