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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
United Kingdom
122.   The United Kingdom is committed to implementing Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. Having submitted our full Annual Report to the Council, this delegation would like to provide this Council with an insight into one of the many projects undertaken by the United Kingdom. 123.   The Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems Project (ZELS) is a joint multistakeholder research initiative between the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Defence Science and Technology Laboratory; Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office; Economic and Social Sciences Research Council; Medical Research Council, and Natural Environment Research Council. The project focuses on two elements: 1) reducing the impact of zoonoses, that is, a disease that has jumped from an animal to a human, on people from low socio-economic groups and their livestock by generating new knowledge and evidence that enables the mitigation of risks from zoonotic disease; and 2) forging mutually beneficial inter- and multi-disciplinary partnerships between researchers in the UK and developing countries and enhance the scientific capabilities of southern partners for the longer term. 124.   Behavioural adaptations in live poultry trading and farming systems and zoonoses control in Bangladesh (BALZAC) is one of 11 programmes funded under ZELS. The trade in live birds provides smallholders with an important source of income and can provide a route out of poverty. However, it can also play a major role in the transmission of zoonotic pathogens, such as avian influenza viruses. The scientific evidence to inform the selection of risk-based and cost-effective prevention and control options for major zoonotic diseases which contributes to decreasing the likelihood of occurrence, prevents their transmission to humans, and reduces their impact on human health. In the face of disease outbreaks in poultry, farmers and traders worry about economic loss. 125.   They may change practices in order to reduce such loss, altering the structure of the trade networks. These changes may, in turn, modify the way disease spreads, and even prolong and strengthen the epidemic. This four-year project studies the behaviour of people working in the Bangladeshi poultry farming and trading system. It aims to identify the socio-economic, cultural, and epidemiological factors that shape the structure of live bird trade networks in Bangladesh, and the types of changes in the network structure which could facilitate the emergence of zoonotic pathogens and influence their maintenance and dissemination. 126.   Based on this understanding of the underlying system behaviour, BALZAC seeks to develop control and surveillance strategies tailored to the evolving characteristics of live bird trade networks. Employing an inter-disciplinary perspective, the project would involve a combination of traditional ethnographic techniques, such as observations and semi-structured interviews, innovative techniques using methods developed in experimental economics, biological sampling from both humans and poultry, and the development of joint epidemiological and socioeconomic models. 127.   The structure of the network shaped by the movements of live bird traders influences the potential of a pathogen to invade the poultry population, the scale of the epidemic, and the level of human exposure. Avian influenza viruses, and in particular H5N1, would be used as a model to study the traders' and farmers' responses to disease risk. The approaches we would adopt in this research would produce both specific local knowledge and more general knowledge which would be useful for understanding influenza outbreaks and even some aspects of other animal and human infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics in other parts of the world. The United Kingdom is happy to discuss its projects in more detail with Members as appropriate, and we are looking forward to the workshop on this important topic to take place next year.
60. The Chair turned to the Council's 19th annual review of developed country Members' reports on their implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. Under a Council decision of February 2003, developed country Members are to submit annual reports on actions taken or planned in pursuance of their commitments under Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. New detailed reports are required every third year, and updates in the intervening years.
61. He recalled that in June 2021, the Council had requested developed country Members to submit their seventh set of new detailed reports in time for the present meeting, and the Secretariat had since circulated a reminder. He also noted that the LDCs had submitted a proposal of a template for the submission of reports on commitments of developed countries under Article 66.2.
62. He noted that the Council had received new reports from Switzerland, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda Norway had also submitted its report. This documentation was being circulated under the new dedicated document series with the symbol – where "R" stands for "Reports" and "TTI" stands for "Technology Transfer Incentives".
63. He said that paragraph 2 of the Council's Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 states 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 consider any points relating to the operation of the reporting procedure established by the Decision.
64. Some of the information by developed country Members had been received only very recently, and most of it was, so far, available only in its original language. He therefore intended for Members to 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.
65. The Chair announced that the Secretariat was planning to hold the Article 66.2 Workshop in March 2022. In light of the changing situation, the dates of the workshop had not yet been fixed, but would be communicated as soon as they were finalized. This would allow LDCs sufficient time to absorb the information provided by developed countries in their reports and also to ensure that these reports are available in the official languages of the WTO. It would further be an opportunity to discuss the LDC Groups' proposal for a template for reporting on commitments under this Article. He indicated that the Workshop would comprise two days of workshop sessions, and a reporting and review segment within the first TRIPS Council meeting of 2022.
66. He reported that in preparation of the next annual Workshop, the Secretariat had circulated an Article 66.2 survey questionnaire to LDC Members, acceding governments, and observers on 27 September 2021. The relevant delegations were invited to answer questions on current areas of needs and priority for technological development, projects that are relevant to these areas of technology transfer, and their general experience with projects reported under the Article 66.2 implementation and review process. The survey was an optional tool to assist with preparations for the annual workshop and aimed at facilitating and informing practical dialogue and coordination. The deadline to submit answers to this survey questionnaire was Friday, 29 October 2021.
67. The representatives of the United Kingdom; the European Union; Canada; Australia; Norway; the United States; Switzerland; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group; China; India; and Japan took the floor.
68. The Chair suggested that Members be given an opportunity to continue considering the information provided at our next meeting.
69. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/103, IP/C/M/103/Add.1