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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Lansana GBERIE
European Union
121.   The European Union and its member States have taken their commitments under Article 66.2 of TRIPS Agreement very seriously since the beginning. The European Union and its member States provided proof year after year of having promptly and attentively reacted to natural, social, health, climate, food and economic changes by implementing projects specifically tailored to the current needs of LDCs individually or their regional organisations. 122.   The European Union has submitted its annual report which provides a detailed update on EU technology transfer programmes, both the European Union and its member States. This document was circulated in accordance with the Decision of the Council for TRIPS in 2003, according to which developed country shall submit annual reports on actions taken or planned in pursuance of their commitment under Article 66.2. 123.   Our programmes cover the period from July 2021 to July 2022 and can be found in the e-TRIPS Portal. Besides the EU-financed programmes, this year Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden sent reports to the European Commission on technology transfer programmes funded by these countries. The report submitted by the Commission is not an exhaustive list of all the technology transfer programmes provided but gives a vast range of examples of these programmes. The report has a total of 123 technology transfer programmes, including 24 projects funded by the EU institutions, Horizon Europe mainly, and 99 projects funded by the EU member States, notably by Germany. 124.   Today we would like to focus on three examples of the EU's and its member States' technology transfer programmes, but please don't hesitate to have a look at the report itself when it will be translated. So now I give the floor to my colleague Martin, in the room, to present very important programmes we managed in the European Union the "E-SHAPE". 125.   Thank you, Pierre Yves, and yes indeed I will describe three out of the 123 programmes included in the EU report. The first is E-SHAPE comprising showcases of the Group on Earth Observations (EO). The E-SHAPE programme is driven by the need to develop operational EO services with and for the users and to create a conducive environment whereby the strengths of Europe are exploited towards addressing societal challenges, fostering entrepreneurship and supporting sustainable development in LDCs. The proposed objectives are: a. to develop operational EO services with and for users active in key societal sectors; b. to demonstrate the benefits of EO pilots through coordinated downstream exploitation of EO data and utilization of existing EO resources; c. to promote the uptake of pilots at national and international scale, across vertical markets (private and public) and amongst key user communities; d. to enable the long-term sustainability of numerous pilots, their penetration in public and private markets and support their upscaling; e. to increase uptake by raising awareness on solutions developed through tailored and well-targeted communication, dissemination and outreach activities. 126.   The proposal aims at setting-up and promoting a sustainable organization dedicated to users' uptake of European EO resources, building on Copernicus and the Group on Earth Observations (GEOSS) through the development of co-design pilots (i.e. application-oriented products, services or solutions) built on a user-centric approach and delivering economic, social and policy value. Through the development of 27 pilots organized in seven showcases, it aims to deliver information that will contribute to the three Group on EO engagements: SDGs, Paris Agreement and Sendai Framework. The field of technology is the Vegetation-Index Crop-Insurance. 127.   E-Shape provides a financial service delivery to smallholder farmers in some LDCs with a geodata-driven, risk-mitigation insurance product that offers a basic safety net to protect them against weather-related perils. The provision of the service will be supported by on-site training, eSupport to create a long-duration product sustainability and a country-specific independence in knowledge and skills. The overall budget is over EUR 15 million. 128.   The second project is Vaccine Against Schistosomiasis for Africa, a Phase 1 clinical study in Burkina Faso and Madagascar. Schistosomiasis is a poverty-related neglected tropical disease, impacting one billion people in 74 countries. Science ranked a schistosomiasis-vaccine as one of the top-10 vaccines urgently needed. Chemotherapy is the preferred method for schistosomiasis control; but the effectiveness of mass-treatment programmes is compromised by reinfection requiring regular re-treatment. Schistosoma mansoni, causing intestinal and hepatic schistosomiasis, and Schistosoma haematobium, causing urinary schistosomiasis, are endemic. 129.   An efficient vaccine, with long-lasting protection against all schistosomiasis forms, would impact disease control. This programme funds clinical development of the SchistoShield®-vaccine in Burkina Faso and Madagascar. In baboon studies, SchistoShield® has been effective against all major schistosome species. It is the only vaccine candidate having consistently exhibited potent prophylactic, anti-fecundity, egg-induced pathology resolving, transmission-blocking and therapeutic efficacy. The objectives are manifolds: a. to assess the safety/immunogenicity of SchistoShield® in a Phase I clinical study in healthy adults from Africa; b. to refine and develop a female worm schistosome human challenge model; c. to identify correlates of protection, innate and adaptive immune signatures, gene expression and the role of antibodies in the prevention/control of Schistosoma infections; and d. to foster a global consortium for advancing research on schistosomiasis disease burden, vaccines and addressing downstream access constraints in resource-poor settings. 130.   The funding granted allows the clinical development of SchistoShield®. African site research capacity will be improved and epidemiological burden data using novel diagnostic techniques will be used to advance clinical development to Phase 2 and potential future elimination project. The Consortium VASA comprises French public research centres and private companies. 131.   And the last example is an agricultural development programme in Burkina Faso funded by Germany. In selected value chains in the programme's intervention, the famers and micro or SMEs should increase their income and improve their nutritional basis through increased and improved sustainable production in selected value chains. With this programme, the framework conditions for sustainable development of the agricultural sector, in particular, the supported value chains are improved and the competencies of producers and entrepreneurs and their organizations in the supported value chains are strengthened for an environmentally sound management of their farms. Furthermore, the services offered along the value chains of rice, cassava and soybean are strengthened and the people supported in these selected value chains have improved their knowledge about balanced nutrition and good hygiene.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
44. The Chair turned to the Council's 20th 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.
45. He recalled that in July 2022, the Council had requested developed country Members to submit updates to 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 LDC Group had submitted a proposal of a template for the submission of reports on commitments of developed countries under Article 66.2.
46. He noted that the Council had received new reports from Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda the European Union 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".
47. 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.
48. 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.
49. The Chair announced that the Secretariat was once again planning to hold the Article 66.2 Workshop in March 2023, back-to-back with the first TRIPS Council meeting of the year. This would allow LDCs sufficient time to absorb the information provided by developed countries in their reports and would also ensure that these reports are translated. 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 2023.
50. The representatives of the; the European Union; Australia; the United Kingdom; New Zealand; the United States of America; Japan; Switzerland; Canada; South Africa; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group; and India took the floor.
51. The Chair suggested that Members be given an opportunity to continue considering the information provided at our next meeting.
52. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/106, IP/C/M/106/Add.1