114. We would like to thank WTO Members for having expressed interest in having a briefing from the Secretariat of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. Indeed, it is our pleasure, in our capacity as an Observer, to brief the TRIPS Council.
115. It is my privilege to make such a briefing, under this agenda item, together with my colleague Ms. Fei Jiao.
116. I recall that the delegation of Zimbabwe at the TRIPS Council meeting in July 2020 had graciously referred in particular to one of our publications and it is with this that I would like to start.
117. The publication, entitled "Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions", was first published by the WIPO Secretariat in 2015. We updated it recently in 2020 with a new cover and updates of hyperlinks to other publications and resources. The publication mainly consists of three parts: (i) background to the need for the protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources, which describes some of the key concepts and provides a factual summary of ongoing discussions on the objectives and beneficiaries of protection; (ii) options for the intellectual property protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, which covers options within existing conventional intellectual property systems and adaptations thereof; and, (iii) the work of WIPO in the field of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources.
118. Regarding the work of WIPO, the WIPO Secretariat provides seven services in relation to traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources.
119. One service area of the WIPO Secretariat is the facilitation of the ongoing negotiations of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on IP and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (the IGC). The IGC met for the first time in April 2001 and commenced text-based negotiations in 2010. The full text of the current IGC's mandate for the 2020-2021 biennium is available online. In short, the IGC will continue to expedite its work, with the objective of finalizing an agreement on an international legal instrument(s), without prejudging the nature of outcome(s), relating to intellectual property which will ensure the balanced and effective protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.
120. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Members have just agreed that IGC 41, which had been scheduled to take place in the week of 19 October 2020, has been postponed.
121. Now I would like to invite my colleague Ms. Fei Jiao, Programme Officer, Traditional Knowledge Division, WIPO to continue to introduce other of WIPO's service areas.
122. I will briefly introduce you to WIPO's other six services relating to genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.
123. Upon request, WIPO provides policy and legislative information and assistance to regional and national authorities interested in establishing policies, strategies, action plans and legislation. In 2008, around 70 regional organizations and countries had adopted or were developing such legislation, policies, action plans or strategies. By 2020, that number has doubled to over 140.
124. We have developed some tools to support this service, such as:
a. a compilation of information on national and regional sui generis regimes for the IP protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions;
b. a table compiling patent disclosure requirements enacted regionally and nationally;
c. a collection of codes, guidelines and practices relating to the recording, digitization and dissemination of traditional cultural expressions; and
d. a searchable database of laws and regulations relevant to traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources.
125. WIPO also provides support to indigenous peoples and local communities to facilitate their participation in the IGC and other WIPO activities. For example:
a. Indigenous representatives are financially supported by the WIPO Voluntary Fund to participate in the IGC negotiations. Each IGC session starts with an indigenous panel where indigenous experts can share their views on and experiences with the issues addressed by the IGC.
b. WIPO launched an Indigenous Fellowship Programme in 2009. By now, nine Indigenous Fellows from different regions have benefited from this programme.
c. WIPO provides scholarships and other support for indigenous peoples to participate in WIPO training activities.
d. Indigenous peoples and local communities benefit from WIPO's training and capacitybuilding activities designed specifically for and with them.
126. The WIPO Indigenous Entrepreneurship Programme enables Indigenous Peoples and local communities to make effective and strategic use of intellectual property in their businesses. The Programme has a practical approach and consists of training and mentoring phases.
127. Another WIPO's service is to provide intellectual property advice on the documentation of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. A Toolkit on the documentation of traditional knowledge, and a Practical Guide for museums, libraries and archives are among the Secretariat's materials.
128. The WIPO Secretariat provides information, practical tools and training related to the management of intellectual property in genetic resources and genetic data, such as through a forthcoming distance learning course "Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources in the "Life Sciences", and a practical "Guide on IP Issues in Access and Benefit-sharing Agreements".
129. Last but not least, WIPO provides different information resources on intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. We strongly recommend you all to visit our website, where you can find different kinds of materials on a wide array of topics.
130. One example of the dynamic resources we have developed is a short animation, which tells the story of the fictional Yakuanoi people as they work towards protecting their traditional knowledge assets. Different language versions, including indigenous languages, are available on WIPO's Youtube Channel.