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

Ambassador Mothusi Palai (Botswana)
European Union
348. The European Union attaches great importance to this issue and is a major contributor as reflected in our quite detailed and substantial report. Today, I would like to refer in detail to some of these projects that are very important in areas like climate change, treatment of water, and treatment of some diseases. One of them, EartH2Observe, is a project that will support efficient and globally consistent water management and decision-making by providing comprehensive multi-scale water resource observations at a local, regional, continental and global level. LDC Members that are recipients of this project are Bangladesh and Ethiopia and the EU contribution is in the range of €9million. The technology that is transferred with this project includes processed satellite images and in situ data containing information on all components of the water cycle, which are freely downloadable. There are also applications of local and global hydrological models. These are also transferred for free. 349. But we have also projects with countries like India, where we have launched a pilot initiative on water-related challenges. Just to give you two examples of projects in this area: firstly, the ECO India project, aims to develop innovative, cost-effective and sustainable approaches for producing portable water and treating waste water at the community level, focussing in particular on oceanic water-stressed regions in India. This project consortium represents a world class interdisciplinary research team from several institutes and SMEs in Europe, India and Israel. 350. The Nawaech project seeks to develop natural water systems and treatment technologies to cope with water shortages in urbanized areas in India. It aims to explore, assess and enhance the potential of natural and technical water treatment systems to improve their performance and reliability to cope with water shortages. 351. Another project called "Preface" is about enhancing the prediction of tropical Atlantic climate and its impacts. Again it is a project with a budget of approximately €9million and the beneficiary countries are Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Cap Verde, Morocco, Senegal, Benin, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. This project seeks to assist our African countries which are bordering the Atlantic and who strongly depend on their ocean and may be affected by tropical Atlantic climate in general. Its goals are to reduce uncertainties in our knowledge of the functioning of tropical Atlantic climate, to improve climate prediction and the quantification of climate change impacts in the region, to improve the understanding of the cumulative effects of the multiple stresses of climate variability, greenhouse-induced climate change and fisheries on marine ecosystems and ecosystems services. In addition, it seeks to assess the social-economic vulnerabilities and evaluate the resilience of Atlantic African fishing communities to climate-driven ecosystem shifts and global markets. In order to meet these goals the project brings together European and African expertise. The target regions include areas more affected by climate change and by its consequences. This project has very practical results that involve considerable technical knowledge, IP-protected items and a considerable transfer of technology. 352. I would also refer to a project concerning a low-cost mosquito-contamination device for sustainable malaria mosquito control targeting, in particular, Tanzania, with a budget of €1.5million. 353. Another project, COSMIC is the community-based scheduled screening and treatment of malaria in pregnancy for improved maternal and infant health: a cluster-randomized trial. The budget for the recipient countries, Burkina Faso and Benin is approximately €700,000 and €566,000 respectively. This project aims to develop low-cost intervention to deal with malarian pregnancies. It seeks to educate community-health workers and consumers to improve the use of rapid diagnostic tests. It involves pharmaceutical companies as well. You can find more information about this on the website that is mentioned in our report. 354. In addition, we have programmes dealing with renewable energies in Latin America, in particular a programme called EURO-SOLAR. This programme proposes a new approach to traditional rural electrification projects by mainstreaming renewable energy. This involves linking power generation to a series of goals, including improvements in education and health, development of productive activities, skilled building within the community; and it also has a gender focus. The kit, which is designed for this EURO-SOLAR programme, is wholly based on renewable resources and has a neutral impact on the environment, therefore ensuring the sustainability of the development model. Systems of this kind are a good alternative in isolated rural communities where direct connection to the electricity grid is not viable for technical or economic reasons. Some key figures for this project: it has improved the living conditions of 300,000 people by linking isolated communities and providing them with electric energy; it has eight beneficiary countries in Latin America; it has a total budget of €36million, 80% financed by the European Union. It involved 3,000 Internet-connected computers, 500 satellite antennas, and 2,500,000 square metres of solar panels. 355. I could go on and on. I think these projects deserve that people know about them. But for the sake of the schedule I will stop here today, but I would really ask people to have a look at the information we provided and to have this in consideration when we see so much criticism about how TRIPS falls short of its ambitions in providing for technology transfer and capacity building.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
10.1. The Chairman recalled that, at its meeting in February 2003, the Council had adopted a decision on the "Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement". Paragraph 1 of the Decision provided that developed country Members shall submit annually reports on actions taken or planned in pursuance of their commitments under Article 66.2. To this end, they were to provide new detailed reports every third year and, in the intervening years, provide updates to their most recent reports. These reports were to be submitted prior to the last Council meeting scheduled for the year in question.

10.2. The fourth set of detailed annual reports under the Decision had been presented to the Council's meeting in November 2012. At its meeting in June 2014, the Council had requested developed country Members to submit a second set of updates to these reports for the present meeting. The Secretariat had issued on 24 July an airgram (WTO/AIR/4336) to remind developed country Members of this request.

10.3. To date, the Council had received updates to the annual reports from the following developed country Members: Australia; Japan; New Zealand; Canada; Norway; Switzerland, as well as the United States. This documentation was circulated in document IP/C/W/602 and addenda. The report submitted by the European Union and individual member States, namely Austria; Belgium; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Ireland; Luxemburg; the Netherlands; Slovakia; Spain; Sweden and the United Kingdom, had been made available as a room document on documents online and would also be circulated as an addendum to document IP/C/W/602.

10.4. The Chairman recognized that some of the information had been received only very recently, and most of it was, so far, available only in its original language. Therefore, he suggested that Members make further comments on the information at the next TRIPS Council's meeting.

10.5. He said that, for the seventh year in a row, the Secretariat had organized, at the request by LDC Members, a workshop on transfer of technology under Article 66.2 back-to-back to with the Council's end-of-year meeting on 27 October 2014. It had again brought together LDC and developed country experts to discuss this matter at a very practical level, building on the earlier workshops. There had been again a constructive exchange of views which was useful to both LDC and developed country delegations.

10.6. The discussions had also covered the reporting format that could be used by developed country Members in order to make the information provided more accessible. He recalled that, at the tenth review, Haiti on behalf of the LDC Group requested that the Council adopt the proposed format for reports submitted by developed country Members under Article 66.2 contained in a communication submitted by Angola on behalf of the LDC Group prior to the ninth review and circulated in document IP/C/W/561. The Secretariat had informed the Council a number of times of its work to develop an information management tool for this purpose that would facilitate the submission, processing and circulation of information on available incentives. One thing that was being explored was how the substantive concerns could be reflected in any such new tools. This had been considered at the Workshop.

10.7. In order to record the questions posed to reporting developed country Members on the occasion of the previous Workshop held on 9 October 2013, a compilation of these questions had been circulated as a room document on documents online at the request of the LDC Group.

10.8. The representatives of Australia; the European Union; New Zealand; Nepal; the United States; Bangladesh on behalf of the LDC Group and Bangladesh took the floor.

10.9. The Chairman thanked the Secretariat for organizing once more the Workshop and the delegations concerned for their constructive contributions at the Workshop; and indicated that the Council would provide an opportunity, at the next meeting, for Members to make further comments on the information submitted for this meeting that they might not yet have been able to study.

10.10. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.

IP/C/M/77, IP/C/M/77/Add.1