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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
14 DRAFT GENERAL COUNCIL DECLARATION ON THE TRIPS AGREEMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF A PANDEMIC
288.   We appreciate your efforts, Chair, and regret that, in over a year, little progress has been made on the Waiver Proposal. The reality is that we are still in a situation in which little progress has been made to ensure that the developing and least developed countries meet the initial target of vaccinating 20% of their populations. While there have been initiatives to donate vaccines, this is a short-term solution. It is hard to believe that, at this point, we are still at an early stage of trying to reach an agreement, without progress or flexibility of positions that would allow us to save lives. 289.   According to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, only 13 vaccines are available to the population. As of 10 October, more than six billion (6,364,021,792) doses of vaccines have been administered, which is insufficient to protect human health due to the pandemic. We therefore urge the removal of intellectual property barriers and to not allow patents to be granted for vaccine production, saving lives and saving all of humanity. 290.   We consider it important to take into account the words of the Director-General of the World Health Organization, who noted that "there remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines", resulting in a pandemic that is progressing along two distinct lines: those with vaccines are opening up and those without are closing. A firm commitment from developed country Members to ensure the necessary transfer of technologies, to ensure adequate distribution networks and thus universal access to vaccines is therefore essential. The intellectual property system has a key role to play in fostering innovation of new life-saving tools. 291.   We support the statements made by the delegation of Cuba and other delegations, which support the call for a waiver in the fight against COVID-19. The waiver is the collaborative framework for the universal emergency during the pandemic. We support patent release initiatives to reduce costs and ensure universal and timely access to vaccines for all countries, because no one can be safe in this world until we all are.
121. The Chair recalled that on 4 June 2021, the Council had received a communication from the European Union on "Urgent Trade Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis: Intellectual Property".(document ), which had been followed on 18 June 2021 by a "Draft General Council Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health in the Circumstances of a Pandemic".(document ).
122. The European Union had introduced its proposed declaration during an informal meeting held on 24 June 2021. The proposal had also been discussed during informal meetings held on 30 June and 6 and 14 July, and at a formal meeting on 20 July. It had since been discussed at every meeting dedicated to discussing the revised TRIPS waiver proposal under the previous agenda item. As part of the TRIPS Council's status reports to the General Council on the revised waiver request on 27 July and on 4 October, Members had reported that the TRIPS Council would also continue its consideration of the EU's proposal.
123. The representatives of the United Kingdom; Pakistan; Cuba; Republic of Korea; Singapore; Turkey; China; Switzerland; Norway; Brazil; Mozambique; India; and the European Union took the floor.
124. The Chair thanked the delegations for their interventions. Noting that the consideration of the present item was closely linked to the previous one, he suggested to also suspend the conclusion of this agenda item, so that it could be taken up together with the waiver discussion, when the Council resumed these items.
125. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to keep the agenda item open.
126. At the reconvened meeting of 18 November, the report to the General Council was adopted and the Chair said that, it was therefore understood that the agenda items 13 and 14 on the Council's agenda continued to remain open in order to permit more time for bilateral engagement, with a view to resuming – at short notice if necessary – the meeting, when there were indications that Members might be ready to reach an agreement. [see paragraphs 93-99]
127. At the reconvened meeting of 29 November, the Chair proposed to take agenda items 13 and 14 together, as delegations had been making a single statement. [see paragraphs 100-107]
128. At the reconvened meeting of 16 December, the Chair proposed to take agenda items 13 and 14 together, as delegations had been making a single statement. [see paragraphs 108-119]
IP/C/M/103, IP/C/M/103/Add.1