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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
60.   Studies estimate the world herbal trade to stand around USD 120 billion and is expected to reach USD 7 trillion by 2050, rapidly rising exports of medicinal plants during the past decade show a worldwide interest in these products as well as in traditional health systems. According to World Health Organization (WHO) medicinal plants still form the basis of traditional or indigenous health systems used by majority of people in most developing countries. These facts attest to the importance of the linkage between TRIPS Agreement and Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). 61.   The problem faced countries like India, which are rich in traditional knowledge, lies in the misappropriation of this knowledge. Thus, India reiterates the long-standing demand of an international enforceable regime to contain misappropriation. Patents should not be granted for existing traditional knowledge and associated genetic resources. Further where traditional knowledge and associated genetic resources form the basis of scientific development, it is important to have disclosure of source or origin of the resource/knowledge along with disclosure that the access was on mutually agreed terms. This would also strengthen and add to the Members' commitment to transparency, since transparency obligations cannot merely be limited to notification obligations. 62.   We need to ensure that substantive discussions on TRIPS CBD linkage is revived. Considering the clear mandate from the Doha Ministerial Declaration and support from many Members for this process, it is our responsibility to take this forward. We also reiterate our demand for a formal briefing by the CBD Secretariat in the interest of most Members. We also support updating the three factual briefs by the Secretariat. 63.   Taking cognizance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals which calls for promoting access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, in targets 2.5 and 15.6 we need to work towards these goals in unison. India hopes to continue our efforts in building momentum on the issue of TRIPS CBD linkage considering the new developments such as the finalization of the sustainable development goals and ratification of the Nagoya Protocol.
27. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the issues at its next meeting.
21. The Chair said that the next three agenda items concerned the Review of the Provisions of Article 27.3(b), the Relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. Following past practice, he proposed that these three items be addressed together.
22. The Chair recalled that one tool for the review under agenda item 3 was the information provided by Members in response to a list of questions on Article 27.3(b) of the TRIPS Agreement. The "Annual Report on Notifications and other Information Flows" that had been introduced at Council's meeting in March, had illustrated that responses to this checklist had been rather sparse recently. So far, only 28 Members had responded to the list of questions on Article 27.3(b), with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia being the most recent Member to submit responses. He encouraged delegations to submit responses or update their previous responses, as well as notify any relevant changes in legislation.
23. The Chair recalled that two long-standing procedural issues under these items had also been discussed extensively, on the record, at every regular meeting of the Council for almost ten years now:
a. First, the suggestion for the Secretariat to update the three factual notes on the Council's discussions on the TRIPS and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and related items; these notes were initially prepared in 2002 and last updated in 2006; and
b. second, the request to invite the CBD Secretariat to brief the Council on the Nagoya Protocol to the CBD, initially proposed in October 2010.
24. Following suggestions made at the June 2021 meeting, the Chair had raised these questions with delegations again during the preparatory consultations on 6 October. While he had not detected any movement in delegations' positions on these two issues, he had noted a willingness to engage bilaterally on possible solutions in this regard. He encouraged delegations to pursue this option to resolve these differences soon.
25. Members' positions on these issues were well known and already extensively recorded in the Council's minutes. He encouraged delegations to focus on suggesting solutions, when addressing these procedural questions.
26. The representatives of Brazil; China; Bangladesh; India; Indonesia; Zimbabwe; the Plurinational State of Bolivia; Nigeria; South Africa; Canada; the United States; Japan; Australia; and the United Kingdom took the floor.
27. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the issues at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/103, IP/C/M/103/Add.1, IP/C/M/Rev.1