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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)

143.   Canada is pleased to report on its efforts to provide incentives to enterprises and institutions for the purpose of promoting and encouraging technology transfer to least developed countries (LDCs), to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base. 144.   Canada's 2021 report on the implementation of Article 66.2 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement (document IP/C/R/TTI/CAN/2) provides an update on the range of projects and initiatives undertaken by Canada over the past year. Before discussing some of the more noteworthy projects included in this year's report, we point out that Canada's report on Article 66.2 focuses primarily on non-market projects, as financed by Canadian departments, agencies and institutions, through official development assistance, grants and other concessional financing. For instance, Canada provides financial incentives in partnership with Canadian educational and research institutions in a range of development areas, such as agriculture and food security, public health, artificial intelligence and education, sustainable development, as well as business development and capacity-building for small and medium-sized enterprises. 145.   In addition to updates on existing projects, this year's report includes information on a recent subsidy programme, the Health Innovation Platform, funded in partnership with Grand Challenges Canada, an organization financed, inter alia, by Global Affairs Canada and which funds innovators in low- and middle-income countries. It has supported 1,300 innovations in 106 countries to date. In particular, it should be noted that specific provisions on technology transfer to LDCs have been negotiated under this funding mechanism. The programme supports innovators to develop and transition to scale innovations that improve the health, human rights and well-being of women, adolescents and children in low- and middle-income countries, including in conflict-affected areas. The programme, which focuses on a number of countries such as Burkina Faso, Haiti, Madagascar and Uganda, aims to provide more e products and health services, taking into account gender and local needs, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized people. 146.   Another significant project from the past year, called "An Integrated Food Systems Approach to Build Nutrition Security", was launched in 2021 with HarvestPlus and partners in Bangladesh, Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia. This project seeks to improve access to nutrient-rich biofortified foods for women, children and adolescents in vulnerable rural households. A related project, called "Strengthening the Nutritional Resilience and Food Security of the Most Vulnerable in Mali", aims to improve the food, nutrition, and health situation, increase agricultural productivity and incomes of target populations, mainly women and girls, in the Mopti and Ségou regions, while tackling the effects of climate change on food security in their communities, in collaboration with the World Food Programme. 147.   Our report this year also mentions a project called "End-to-end artificial intelligence and data systems for targeted surveillance and management of COVID-19 and future pandemics affecting Uganda". Through collaboration between the International Development Research Centre, Makerere University and the Infectious Diseases Institute in Uganda, this project strengthens Uganda's data systems to create COVID-19 responses which are based on artificial intelligence and improve the monitoring and management of the pandemic. The project also develops and deploys artificial intelligence detection and diagnosis tools to improve patient care and monitor in real time the spread of COVID-19 and associated risks. 148.   Canada is fully prepared to provide, upon request, further information on these technology transfer projects and programmes contained in Canada's 2021 report on the implementation of Article 66.2. Canada also invites interested delegations to consult the Project Browser on international projects funded by the government of Canada to obtain further information on these and other initiatives. 149.   Finally, Canada would also like to take this opportunity to once again thank the Secretariat for having organized the March 2021 workshop on Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement, and thank the Members who shared their experiences and valuable ideas in this area. We look forward to the next workshop on the implementation of Article 66.2 and to further discussions with other Members on these important issues.

The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
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, IP/C/M/103/Rev.1