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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Lansana GBERIE

69.   Traditional medicine has been an integral resource for health across world communities for millenia and remains a mainstay for these communities facing inequities in access to conventional medicines. The sociocultural practices and biodiversity heritages of traditional medicine are invaluable resources to evolve inclusive, diverse, and sustainable development. India reiterates its long-standing demand of an international enforceable regime to contain misappropriation. Patents should not be granted for existing traditional knowledge (TK) associated with genetic resources. Further where TK associated with 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 will not only help address concerns of biopiracy but also strengthen and add to the Members' commitment to transparency mechanism, which should not be understood as limited to notification obligations. 70.   The TRIPS Agreement continues to ignore numerous IPR-related obligations in the CBD which are of interest to developing countries. Despite several submissions like the disclosure proposal (document IP/C/W/474) submitted in 2006, document TN/C/W/52 submitted in June 2008 followed by document TN/C/W/59 in April 2011, calling for a decision to enhance mutual supportiveness between the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD proposed by a majority of the Membership, it is regrettable that progress remains elusive. The WIPO IGC process has also been unable to make much progress in these years. Given the enforceability of the TRIPS Agreement, there is a need and clear mandate to build the linkage between the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD under the aegis of this Council and we must ensure that substantive discussions on the TRIPS-CBD linkage is revived. 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. 71.   The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 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 expeditiously work towards these goals. We wish to share with the Membership steps taken by India in this regard. The Indian Government in August of this year has decided to open up India's Traditional Knowledge and Digital Library (TKDL) database to users beyond patent offices. This will enable the TKDL to drive research and development, and innovation based on India's valued heritage across different fields. 72.   Indian TK offers immense potential to serve national and global needs, by providing societal benefits as well as assisting in economic growth. For example, the traditional systems of medicine and wellness from our country, namely Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Sowa Rigpa, and Yoga are serving the needs of people from India and across the world even today. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also been witnessing extensive use of Indian traditional medicines whose benefits range from immune-boosting to symptoms-relief to anti-viral activity. Earlier this year, in April, the World Health Organization (WHO) established its first off-shore Global Centre for Traditional Medicines (GCTM) in India. These demonstrate the continued relevance of TK in addressing the current and emerging needs of the world. The decision emphasizes on integrating and co-opting TK with current practices towards enhancing innovation and trade. The TKDL will act as an important source of TK information for advancing knowledge and technology frontiers. 73.   At last, India is committed to continue our efforts in building momentum on the issue of TRIPS-CBD linkage in light of important developments, namely the finalization of the SDGs and the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol.

The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to these matters at its next meeting.
17. The Chair proposed to address these three agenda items together. He recalled that one tool for the review under item 4 was the information provided by Members in response to lists of questions on Article 27.3(b). He said that the latest Annual Report on Notifications and other Information Flows circulated by the Secretariat illustrated that responses to that checklist had been rather sparse recently. So far, only 28 Members had responded to the lists of questions on Article 27.3(b). The Chair thus encouraged Members to submit responses to these checklists, and to update their previous submissions if they were out of date.
18. The Chair noted that two long-standing procedural issues had been discussed extensively on the record at every regular meeting of the Council for almost ten years. The first was the suggestion for the Secretariat to update three factual notes on the Council's discussions on the TRIPS and CBD and related items; these notes were initially prepared in 2002 and last updated in 2006. The second was the request to invite the CBD Secretariat to brief the Council on the Nagoya Protocol to the CBD, initially proposed in October 2010.
19. The Chair noted that the delegations' positions on these issues were well-known and had already extensively recorded in the Council's minutes and therefore suggested that delegations focus their interventions on suggestions on how to resolve the differences and on how make progress on substantive issues.
20. The representatives of South Africa; India; Bangladesh; Sri Lanka; Indonesia, Brazil; Nigeria; Peru; United States of America; Japan; South Africa; Korea, Republic of and China took the floor.
21. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to these matters at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/106, IP/C/M/106/Add.1