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

Ambassador Alfredo Suescum (Panama)
307. Australia would like to thank Ecuador for placing this item on the agenda. We welcome the opportunity to talk about IP, climate change and development. 308. Australia is making a direct contribution to global efforts to tackle climate change by partnering with other countries bilaterally and multilaterally to support them to build capacity to reduce emissions and take action towards adapting to the impact of climate change. As detailed in our most recent report under Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement, many of the initiatives by the Australian government to support technology transfer are related to climate change. I would like to draw your attention to a couple of examples from that report. 309. Australia's International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative provides $A328.2 million over five years (2008-2013) to fund programmes and activities that assist vulnerable countries, particularly small island States and developing and least developed countries, adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. One of the objectives of the initiative is to "improve scientific information and understanding, including where appropriate, through technology transfer". The funding has supported a number of projects involving scientific training, capacity building and knowledge transfer to least developed countries. For example the A$A32 million Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning aims to develop the capacity of scientists, decision-makers and planners from 14 Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste to access and apply climate information and tools to identify and develop in-country adaptation responses. 310. Australia is providing approximately A$A34 million to Australian and international non government organisations in the Pacific, Timor-Leste, the Philippines and Vietnam under the Community-based Climate Change Action Grants Programme. The programme is helping to build the resilience of communities to the impacts of climate change through community-based disaster risk reduction, food and water security, agricultural productivity and ecosystem-based adaptation activities. Support has been provided for projects in least-developed countries in the Pacific and South-East Asia, including Timor-Leste, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. 311. Most projects have a component dedicated to the transfer of small-scale technologies, such as climate resilient agricultural technologies to improve long-term food security. 312. Australia firmly believes that a strong and balanced IP system is a fundamental ingredient in the development and proliferation of climate-change technologies. A strong and balanced IP system is the key to development of climate change technologies because it provides investors an opportunity to recoup the investments necessary to bring ideas to the marketplace. It ensures innovators can obtain the rewards from their research and development, and can fund further research. It promotes further innovation through access to information, new technologies and content. 313. A strong and balanced IP system is also the key to the proliferation of climate change technologies because in this increasingly linked and competitive world, innovative firms and foreign investors generally opt for locations with relatively strong IP laws and this can have a long term beneficial economic impact. 314. Australia recognizes that there are divergent views on the role of IP in the development and proliferation of climate change technologies. Australia is willing to work with Members in this forum or perhaps more appropriately building on the work underway in WIPO, on concrete, practical suggestions that could contribute to the dissemination of climate-change technologies without distorting the IP system. Ideas may include: • establishing a central repository or searchable data base of climate change technology prior art and patent and design information to promote and disseminate climate-change technology information; or • development of international model licensing arrangements that are mutually beneficial to the licensors and licensees; • Australia is supportive of recent WIPO initiatives that promote the sharing of knowledge on environmentally sound technologies. Initiatives such as WIPO's International Patent Classification Green Inventory and WIPO GREEN allow stakeholders to determine which green technologies exist – an important first step in initiating technology transfer. 315. We do not share the view that IP is a barrier to the transfer of climate-change technologies or that the solution to increasing technology transfer is to reduce IP protection. Removing the prospect of material reward from research and development initiatives, could discourage investment in climate-change technology development in the first place. 316. Therefore, more specifically in relation to Ecuador's proposal, we thank Ecuador for the proposal. We would like the opportunity to consider further the proposal in more detail before providing more specific comments.
The Council took note of the statements made.
11.1. The Chairman said that the item had been put on the agenda at the written request of the delegation of Ecuador. He recalled that, at the Council's meeting in March 2013, Ecuador had briefly presented, under "Other Business", its submission entitled "Contribution of Intellectual Property for Facilitating the Transfer of Environmentally Rational Technology" (IP/C/W/585).

11.2. The representatives of Ecuador, Cuba, Indonesia, China, India, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Bangladesh, Nepal on behalf of the LDC Group, Rwanda, Brazil, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States, Japan, the European Union, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the United States took the floor under this agenda item. The statements will be reproduced in an addendum to the present record.

11.3. In concluding, the Chairman said that, as the representative of Ecuador had said in his initial statement, Ecuador's submission had been useful in sparking discussion on the relationship between IP, climate change and development. He believed that the discussion would continue, particularly as some delegations had indicated that they were keen to continue the debate. He noted, however, that there were diverging positions with regard to a post-Bali programme or agenda.

11.4. The Council took note of the statements made.

IP/C/M/73, IP/C/M/73/Add.1