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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
World Health Organization (WHO)

227.   The World Health Organization (WHO) takes this opportunity to highlight to the WTO Council for TRIPS some technical cooperation activities that have taken place since our last report to the Council. The WTO Secretariat went into detail in relation to the trilateral collaboration activities and I am not going to repeat. In the framework of the trilateral cooperation, WHO continues to strengthen the interagency collaboration with World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other relevant international organizations to respond more effectively to the ever-evolving challenges at the interface of public health, innovation, intellectual property and trade. The three Directors-General agreed to enhance and focus their joint support in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, organizing capacity-building workshops or updating the COVID-19 insert to provide Member States updated information in relation to the pandemic and the different mechanisms to promote global equitable access to COVID19 health technologies. 228.   In May 2021, WHO Member States adopted a landmark resolution on strengthening local production of medicines and other health technologies, to strengthen global health security, and to support progress towards universal health coverage. The Resolution among other aspects make reference to the use of the TRIPS flexibilities to promote equitable access and to explore patent pool models and voluntary mechanisms to promote technology transfer, including the WHO COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (WHO C-TAP). 229.   C-TAP is a mechanism for sharing COVID-19 health technologies in a transparent and nonexclusive manner through public health-oriented voluntary licensing and technology transfer to multiple manufacturers. It aims to facilitate timely, equitable and affordable access of COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and other medical devices promoting competition and more sustainable solutions. C-TAP is engaging in bilateral discussions with several manufacturers and concluding some licensing agreements with some technology holders that would hopefully be announced very soon. C-TAP recently conducted an online Member States questionnaire on existing and potential additional national and regional incentives to technology holders for them to facilitate scale up and access to COVID-19 health technologies through C-TAP. 230.   Among other initiatives, WHO also recently established a technology transfer hub for mRNA vaccines in South Africa where technology holders and manufacturers were also called to share their mRNA vaccine know-how for rapid scale up. WHO Member States are currently discussing a possible international treaty or other legal instrument to provide the basis for improved international cooperation to prepare for, detect and respond to epidemics and pandemics. 231.   WHO reaffirms its commitment to support countries, upon their request, through technical cooperation activities derived from the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPA-PHI). WHO collaborates closely with WTO and other relevant international organizations to provide the health perspective during the technical assistance on topics related to the interface between public health, innovation, intellectual property and trade, including the use to the full of TRIPS flexibilities and the implementation of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. 232.   The COVID-19 pandemic response echoes and reinforces the need for a global collaborative effort to holistically tackle the most challenging public health needs. We invite you to read more about WHO's technical cooperation activities in relation to application and management of IP in the respective report provided to the TRIPS Council. We would be glad to answer any questions delegations may have regarding these activities.

The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
70. The Chair recalled that in June 2021, the Council had agreed to hold the annual review of technical cooperation at the present meeting.
71. Developed country Members had been requested to update information on their technical and financial cooperation activities relevant to the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement. Other Members who also made available technical cooperation were encouraged to share information on these activities. The Secretariat had issued an Airgram on 15 June 2021 reminding developed country Members of this request. Intergovernmental organizations observers to the Council and the WTO Secretariat had also been invited to provide information.
72. The Council had received information from the following developed country Members: Switzerland, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda Norway has also submitted information in this regard. These reports are being circulated under the new dedicated document series with the symbol – where "R" stands for "Reports" and "TC" stands for "Technical Cooperation".
73. Intergovernmental organizations had also submitted updated information: the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had also submitted information in this regard. Their reports were being circulated in the same document series observer]/.
74. The report of the WTO Secretariat on technical cooperation activities in the TRIPS area was available in document .
75. The representatives of Norway; Canada; Australia; the European Union; Switzerland; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group; the United Kingdom; the United States; Japan; the WTO Secretariat; the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); and the World Health Organization (WHO) took the floor.
76. The Chair noted that most of the valuable information provided by Members and IGO observers had been received only very recently. He would provide delegations an opportunity at the next regular meeting to make further comments on the information submitted.
77. 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