214. At the outset, I would like to wish you and all participants to the TRIPS Council a good health at all times. The overall objective of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) technical cooperation programmes in the field of intellectual property is to contribute to the capacity-building of officials from the GCC member states and to strengthen their knowledge in many IP technical aspects which are of high importance for the protection of intellectual property rights and support of invention and innovation. 215. The GCC technical cooperation is based on its mandate derived from Article (20) of the GCC Economic Agreement (2001) which states that "Member states should develop programmes encouraging talented individuals and supporting innovation and invention; cooperate in the field of intellectual property and develop regulations and procedures ensuring protection of intellectual property rights; and coordinate their relevant policies towards other countries, regional blocs and international and regional organizations". 216. Although the COVID-19 outbreak affected most of the works and programmes of the GCC Secretariat General, technical cooperation activities continued to be undertaken during recent period with the means at hand and limited programmes. As reflected in the GCC Technical Assistance report for 2021, technical cooperation activities undertaken by the GCC Secretariat General covers the period from 1 September 2020 to 1 September 2021. 217. Technical assistance activities undertaken by the GCC Secretariat General during the said period focused on various IP concrete aspects such as enhancing the awareness of the intellectual property rights and its policies in the GCC region, cooperation in examination and IT systems as well as supporting innovation and invention, etc. These activities were conducted in the form of workshop, on-job training, supporting the participation in conferences or in international IP exhibitions. 218. For example, cooperation with WIPO continues to contribute to the GCC technical assistance efforts in various IP areas. In this regard, it may be worth to mention that the GCC Secretariat General, on 7 December 2020, with the collaboration of WIPO organized a workshop for inventors from GCC member states titled "Preliminary Research and Examination in Patent Databases for Individual Inventors". 219. The GCC Secretariat General continues to enhance the skills capacity of the examiners from the patent office at the GCC-CG and some GCC national offices in cooperation with the Chinese Intellectual Property Authorities (CNIPA), through On Job Training Program provided during 2629 October 2020. 220. Subsequently, the GCC Secretariat General organized a number of public lectures in November 2020 intended to raise awareness on the important role of innovation and inventions to entrepreneurship, as well as lectures in April 2021 delivered to educate students on patent guidelines. 221. Internationally, the GCC Secretariat General has virtually participated to Seoul International Invention fair, and the 5th Korea International Virtual Youth Olympics 2020. The GCC Secretariat General ambitiously intended to facilitate the bilateral communications between inventors from the GCC States with those around the world and through those fairs, the GCC Secretariat General hosts and supports all inventors from the GCC States.