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

H.E. Ambassador Lundeg Purevsuren
European Union
252.   This year's technology transfer report shows that the European Union and its member States take their commitments and obligations under TRIPS Article 66.2 seriously and make efforts to put in place projects that incentivizes technology transfer to LDCs. The EU and its member States gave proof to promptly react to natural, social, health, climate and economic changes by putting in place projects specifically tailored to the current needs of least developed countries (LDCs). The report is an advanced working document, it has not been finalised yet. 253.   Technology transfer refers to the ways and means through which companies, individuals and organizations acquire technology or know-how from third parties, whether such technology is IPRprotected or not, including know-how. 254.   However, technology transfer is often one component of a more complex project, rather than a stand-alone activity. The acquisition by LDCs of a sound and viable technological base does not indeed depend solely on the provision of technology or equipment, but also on acquisition of know-how, management and production skills, improved access to knowledge sources as well as on adaptation to local economic conditions. 255.   Therefore, training and education of university graduates, exchanges of qualified staff, and joint research projects must accompany the buying or licensing of IP rights related to the transferred technology. Relevant literature has proven that the mere transfer of technology without the training of local employees does not enable the recipients to achieve the internalization of the provided technology and to reduce the technology gap with developed country Members. Several projects put in place by the European Union and its member States are accordingly aimed at providing such training and education. 256.   Most projects that deal with sectors such as energy, water, agriculture, governance and infrastructure result in transfer of know-how and technology. Moreover, their prolonged duration reflects the goal of helping local forces to develop independent systems in the concerned sectors. 257.   Let me give you some examples from the technology transfer programme of the EU: 258.   First, the AfriAlliance project (Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate) continued also this year and aims to identify appropriate social innovation and technological solutions for key water and climate change challenges, leading to identification and boosting sustainable market and investment opportunities in Burkina Faso. The project supports effective means of knowledge sharing and technology transfer between Africa and the EU, all with the aim of increasing Africa's preparedness to address the vulnerability of water and climate change-related challenges as well as to improvement water and climate monitoring and forecasting processes and tools in Africa. 259.   Second, the DAFNE project (Use of a Decision-Analytic Framework to explore the water-energy-food Nexus in complex and trans-boundary water resources systems of fast growing developing countries) applies an innovative integrated water management approach, tailored to local conditions, to water management in specific basins, operational water management across different countries, identification of vulnerabilities, improved local capacity and increased social and economic well-being within the study areas. The project activities range from monitoring, development of indicators and scenarios, modelling, development of decision support systems and interaction with stakeholders and policymakers to negotiation exercises and simulations. The beneficiaries are Mozambique and Zambia. Accelerating Progress towards Maternal, Neonatal and Child Morbidity and Mortality Reduction in Zambia 260.   The aim of this project is to improve maternal, neonatal and child health and the nutritional status of women and children; and in particular to increase utilisation of quality health and nutrition services by vulnerable women, adolescents and children in selected urban and rural districts (comprising 30% of the population in Zambia) within the provinces of Lusaka and Copperbelt. Health Systems Strengthening – Support to the Ministry of Health and the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority 261.   The aim of the project is to improve the health status of the people in Zambia in order to contribute to socio-economic development. The project also aims at improving the capacity of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and related institutions to deliver quality assured essential medicines, including their rational and correct use as well as developing and implementing evidence-based policies and strategies. Projects by member States Support of competitiveness and marketing of the constructed (artificial) wetlands technology in Cambodia – Czech Republic 262.   The project aims to create the conditions for investment projects in the area of constructed wetlands in Cambodia. These wetlands represent an economically, technologically as well as aesthetically attractive alternative to standard mechanical and biological wastewater treatment plants. Certain innovative improvements of the well-proven constructed wetland technology have been developed by the companies implementing the project making the wastewater treatment more effective and manageable. The project seeks to improve sewage disposal in the rural areas of Cambodia and improve the quality of both surface- and groundwater. The technology is most suitable for the recreational facilities, smaller municipalities and industries and has a wide potential in the country and beyond. The pilot project in Siem Reap province has been completed in mid-2019 and handed over to the beneficiary. Transfer of Environmental Multi-Stage Flash desalination technology to Mozambique – Czech Republic 263.   The aim of this project is to transfer an unique Environmental Multi-Stage Flash (EMSF) technology to Mozambique in an area with extreme scarcity of freshwater supply for drinking as well as irrigation purposes. The technology has a potential for low-cost, energy-efficient and climate-friendly desalination in any region suffering from freshwater scarcity, but abundance of (solar) heat or other forms of energy. The initial phase of the project (feasibility study) intends to verify the suitability of EMSF technology in local conditions and prepare the ground for installation of 2 EMSF units during the implementation stage. Sustainable Development of Mining in Rwanda (SDMR) – United Kingdom 264.   Policy objective is to contribute to the economically and environmentally sustainable growth of Rwanda's mining sector through supporting an enabling environment that will increase private sector investment in mining in Rwanda, and by testing the effectiveness of targeted interventions for a new mining services aggregation model as a way of achieving a viable and sustainable mining sector. Budget or funds allocated is £750,000 provided by the United Kingdom. The intervention aims to build a digital collection of maps and reports on Rwanda's geology and mineral resources and up-to-date exploration information such as, for example, geochemical and geophysical data and mine production data. The expected impact of the project is to increase access to geological and cadastre information to support the private sector in securing finance, increase investment in mining and improve the transparency of mineral rights management.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
45.   The Chair recalled that, as provided by a TRIPS Council Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 of February 2003, developed country Members were to submit annual reports on actions taken or planned in pursuance of their commitments under Article 66.2. They were to provide new detailed reports every third year and updates in the intervening years.
46.   In June 2019, the Council had requested developed country Members to submit the first set of updates to the sixth set of reports in time for the October meeting, and the Secretariat had since circulated a reminder. The Council had received updated reports from the United States, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, Canada and Norway. The documents were being circulated (IP/C/W/656 and addenda). In addition, the Council had received an Advance Working Copy of the report from the European Union and some of its member States. It had been made available as a room document (RD/IP/34) on documents online; and, would also be circulated as an addendum to document IP/C/W/656, once finalised.
47.   Paragraph 2 of the Council's Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 explained that the annual review should provide Members with an opportunity to pose questions in relation to the information submitted and request additional information; discuss the effectiveness of the incentives provided in promoting and encouraging technology transfer to least developed country Members in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base; and to consider any points relating to the operation of the reporting procedure established by the Decision.
48.   Some of the information by developed country Members has been received only very recently, and most of it was, so far, available only in its original language. Therefore, Members would have an opportunity to make further comments at the next meeting of the Council. This would give Members a chance to study the information recently circulated and any additional information subsequently received.
49.   For the same reasons it had been decided to once again hold the Article 66.2 Workshop in February 2020, back-to-back with the TRIPS Council’s next meeting. The dates of the workshop would be 4-6 February 2020. This would give LDC delegations sufficient time to absorb the information provided by developed-country delegations in their reports and also to ensure that these reports were available in the official languages of the WTO. The Workshop would comprise two days of sessions on 4-5 February 2020, and a reporting and review segment within the formal meeting of the TRIPS Council on 6 February 2020. The Chair invited delegations from developed-country Members to introduce their reports.
50.   The representatives of Canada; the United States of America; the European Union; Japan; Australia; Switzerland; Norway; and Bangladesh took the floor.
51.   The Chair suggested that Members be given an opportunity to continue considering the information provided at the next meeting.
52.   The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/93, IP/C/M/93/Add.1