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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli
World Trade Organization
134.   Thank you, Chair, for the opportunity to report to the Council on the recent workshop on the Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement, the fifteenth in this annual series of technical assistance activities. First, I would like to express our sincere thanks to you, Chair, and to HE Ambassador Ahmad Makaila of Chad, HE Ambassador Mustafizur Rahman of Bangladesh, and HE Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi of Finland for the invaluable support and active engagement at the workshop. We would also like to thank HE Ambassador Lansana Gberie, for personally taking part in the workshop. 135.   Secondly, I want to express our deepest appreciation to WTO Members, including least developed country Members and developed country Members for your active engagement in the workshop. The workshop was attended by more than 75 capital and Geneva-based experts from 21 LDCs and from seven developed country Members. Most of the participants had direct responsibility for technology transfer, and their expertise ensured that the workshop focussed ever more effectively on the specific needs and circumstances of LDCs. Ten experts from developed country Members made presentations during the workshop, providing updated and complementary information to the reports submitted by the developed country Members in 2021. We were delighted by the number, diversity and range of those experts who took part in the workshop. 136.   Since we organised this workshop in 2008, the Secretariat has made continuous efforts to improve the value and impact of this annual dialogue between LDCs and developed country Members. These efforts have been guided by LDCs and in particular through the coordination with the LDC Group, and this has enabled this exercise to respond to the evolving current needs and priorities identified by LDCs. Hence, we want to record our warmest appreciation for this support and guidance from our Members. 137.   I would like to highlight three main improvements the Secretariat has made for this year's workshop. 138.   Firstly, while still focusing on the specifics of how Article 66.2 has been implemented, we improved the structure and format of the workshop by providing an overview of the broader development and policy context of technology transfer to LDCs with a focus on three specific fields of technology transfer, namely the fields of health, agriculture, and the environment. We invited our sister international organizations to report from their specialized area of expertise their current works on national technology needs assessments and technology transfer programmes in LDCs, notably the WHO, WIPO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and UN Technology Bank for LDCs. The active participation of these partners significantly enriched 2022's programme. We are pleased to record our gratitude for their participation and look forward to furthering our collaboration in the future. 139.   Secondly, we developed a more sophisticated survey questionnaire on LDC needs and priorities for technology transfer with a view to assisting Members in their better understanding of the critical need for a sound and viable technological base as a foundation for LDCs sustainable development. The survey questionnaire was circulated to all LDC Members and observers, as an optional tool. The detailed survey result was presented to Members during the workshop. We would like to highlight four key results of the survey: all of the thirteen LDCs responding to the survey identified agriculture and environment/climate change as a priority technology field for them to develop a sound and variable technological base, while eleven also considered public health/pharmaceuticals and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a priority technology field. All the respondents indicated government sponsored and funded joint research and development (R&D) activities as the most relevant incentive to enterprises and institutions for technology transfer as presented in the Article 66.2 annual reports. Six LDCs indicated that they had conducted national needs assessments for technology transfer in certain technology areas. Also, six Members had established national points of contact to monitor, coordinate, assess and communicate priority technology needs to the developed country reporting Members. However, it is noted that technology transfer as a crosscutting issue may not be handled by a single department but rather requiring the involvement of several government agencies. 140.   Thirdly, we prepared a summary on the technology transfer programmes reported by eight developed country Members in 2021 with a focus on these three fields of technologies. The summary was presented in the workshop, and my colleague will briefly introduce this summary. 141.   Before we present this summary, we would like to highlight that the summary does not substitute for nor seek to interpret the reports received, but aims only to build on the continuing efforts to enhance transparency, and thus to assist Members with the practical understanding of detailed and diverse information covered in the reports submitted. Presentation on the summary of Article 66.2 reports 142.   We would also like to briefly explain the methodology used for categorizing the programmes. In particular, the programmes have been grouped according to the information provided under the "field of technology" or "category of technology" part of the optional reporting template available in the e-TRIPS Submission System. Indeed, we note that seven developed country reporting Members submitted their 2021 reports using that optional template. For the programmes reported not through the optional template, these have been grouped according to the information provided in the reports. This methodology is not cast in stone, and we will be grateful to receive Member's suggestions for improvement, bearing in mind that this is only an optional facilitative tool. We would like to emphasize that, by its very nature, the summary cannot include a full reflection of all the programmes reported. Anyone wishing to appreciate the full undertakings should consult the reports directly. 143.   A total of 449 examples of technology transfer programmes were reported in the eight reports in 2021 benefitting all 43 LDC Members and observers. The top three technology transfer categories were environment and climate change, public health and pharmaceuticals, and agriculture and food. We recognize that ICT – as a crosscutting enabling technology - plays a very important role in many of these technology transfer programmes, and that ICT programmes are oftentimes related to a particular category. Thus, we have, for the purpose of this summary, classified these ICT programmes in the respective category. For example, an ICT programmes related to agriculture has been included in the agriculture category. 144.   This slide demonstrates the number of programmes provided by each of the eight developed country reporting Members in the different technology transfer categories. As you can see, the United States and the European Union and its member States, as the two top providing Members, have provided approximately 48% of the total number of programmes. In the interest of time, we will only elaborate on the programmes reported in top three categories areas for technology transfer, which are agriculture and food, environment and climate change, public health and pharmaceuticals. 145.   Starting with the environment and climate change category. In this category, a total of 102 technology transfer programmes have been reported which benefitted 41 LDC Members and observers. As you can see, the European Union and its member States together with the United States and Norway are the top three providers of such programmes. Together they have provided 75% of the 102 technology transfer programmes reported. 146.   As you can see, we have grouped the types of environmental technologies into four subcategories, namely climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, biodiversity and ecosystem, and waste management. The vast majority of environmental technology transfer programmes reported are in the climate change mitigation subcategory. 147.   When looking at the LDC beneficiaries, we note that Uganda benefitted from around 28 programmes, at least two third of which were programmes related to climate change mitigation. Other LDC beneficiaries such as Tanzania, Bangladesh, Zambia, Cambodia, Nepal, Madagascar and Mali benefitted from more than 15 programmes, the majority of which were also related to climate change mitigation. 148.   Moving on to the category of public health and pharmaceuticals. A total of 92 programmes have been reported in 2021 which benefitted 39 LDC Members and observers. As you can see, the United States provides for 41% of programmes in this category. 149.   Here we have grouped the types of health technologies into five subcategories, namely healthcare system, services and equipment, communicable diseases, reproductive, maternal and child health, regulatory standards, safety and security, and non-communicable diseases. As you can see, the majority of health programmes reported fall under the healthcare system, services and equipment subcategory, as well as the communicable diseases subcategory. It may be interesting to note that there were eight programmes reported on COVID19 surveillance, testing, data collection and forecasting. 150.   When looking at the LDC beneficiaries, we note that Tanzania benefited from the highest number of programmes in the healthcare system, services and equipment subcategory, whereas Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo each benefitted from seven programmes in the communicable diseases subcategory. 151.   Moving on to the overview on the agricultural technology transfer programmes reported in 2021, a total of 92 programmes have been reported which benefitted 39 WTO LDC Members and observers. As you can see, the European Union and its member States together with the United States have provided and reported on 43% of these programmes. 152.   For the purpose of the summary, the agricultural technology transfer programmes have been divided into eight subcategories, which are crop productivity and food security, trade/export/marketing and value chain, rural development, agricultural infrastructure, livestock, fisheries, horticulture, and a general subcategory called agricultural. As you can see, the vast majority of agricultural technology transfer programmes reported are in the crop productivity/food security subcategory. 153.   When looking at the LDC beneficiaries, we note that Cambodia and Mozambique each benefitted from 16 programmes, the majority of which are related to crop productivity and food security. As advised to the Council at its previous meeting, the workshop comprises a workshop segment and a reporting and review segment within the formal meeting of the TRIPS Council. Therefore, as you have mentioned, Chair, we have arranged the attendance of capital based LDC participants at the present TRIPS Council meeting on their national delegations. We do hope that workshop participants will make full use of the opportunity to draw on the insights and information shared during this workshop and to engage fully in the TRIPS Council's discussion. In the meantime, we look forward to Members' further guidance arising from the Council's discussion. We conclude by thanking them for their continuing commitment to this area which we understand is a strong priority of LDCs, and for their indispensable role in guiding our work in this area.
56. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
51. The Chair recalled that the Council had conducted the Nineteenth Annual Review under Paragraph 2 of the Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement at its meeting in October 2021. At that meeting delegations from developed country Members had briefly presented the updated reports they had submitted under Article 66.2, and the Council had agreed that it would revert to the item at the present meeting to permit continued consideration of the submitted material. He also recalled that, in July 2020, the LDC Group had circulated a new submission entitled "Proposed New Template for Annual Reporting under Article 66.2 of the Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights" in document .
52. In order to give LDCs more time to absorb the information provided by developed country Members in their reports, and to ensure that these reports were available in the official languages of the WTO, the Secretariat had once again organized a "Workshop on the Implementation of the Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement". Due to the sanitary situation, the workshop had been held in virtual format on 2, 3 and 4 March 2022. The Chair indicated that some capital-based delegates who had participated in that Workshop were present at the meeting.
53. The Chair asked the Secretariat to report on this Workshop.
54. A representative of the Secretariat took the floor.
55. The representatives of Sierra Leone; Chad,; Bangladesh; Togo; Nepal; Tanzania; Norway; the European Union; the United Kingdom, South Africa; Japan; Switzerland; the United States; Canada; and Australia took the floor.
56. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/104/Add.1, IP/C/M/104/Rev.1, IP/C/M104