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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Pimchanok PITFIELD
135.  In relation to the relationship between trade and genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with them, we gather here not merely to discuss trade in abstract terms but to recognize the profound interconnection between our economies and the invaluable wealth of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, which often find its roots in the stewardship of indigenous peoples and local communities. The impact of these resources on our daily lives is immeasurable, from the food we consumed to the medicinal remedies we rely on. 136.  However, there is an essential aspect that we must bring to light. A study published in "Financing 2020" informs us that indigenous communities manage or hold tenure rights over a remarkable 25% of the world's land surface. Land which accommodates approximately 80% of our planet's biodiversity, are not mere statistics, but a testament to the crucial role of these communities in conserving and managing these invaluable resources. Our present conversation should pivot towards devising trade practices that are not only more sustainable but also imbued with fairness. It is our shared responsibility to ensure that the guardians of these priceless resources receive due recognition and fair returns from their contribution. The Nagoya Protocol, for instance, serves as a beacon in this regard. It underscores the importance of prior informed consent in mutually agreed terms. Implementing these principles in practice translates into more inclusive decision-making processes and equitable sharing of benefits, by so doing we promote conservation, boost local economies and contribute to the fight against poverty. 137.  On a similar note, let me bring up the essential role of disclosure requirements in patent applications. These requirements, already implemented by several countries ensure that any patent application is not just a quality patent, and that it involves a realm of knowledge that is related to genetic resources or traditional knowledge which must be disclosed. This practice fosters transparency, prevents biopiracy and ensures fair compensation for the use of these resources. In this vein, let us underline the significance of fostering capacity-building and technological transfer. By equipping these communities with the necessary skills and resources, we empower them to manage their resources and knowledge sustainably, thereby fortifying our collective future. 138.  As we deliberate upon trade, let us bear in mind that we are not merely discussing commodities, but also we are acknowledging the fruits of our earth and the wisdom of generations, assets of immeasurable value that must be utilized sustainably and equitably for everyone's benefit.
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. She 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). She 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), with Saudi Arabia being the most recent Member to respond in 2021. 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 delegations' positions on these issues were well-known and had already been extensively recorded in the Council's minutes. She 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 India; Bangladesh; Indonesia; Peru; South Africa; China; Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group; Ecuador; the United States of America; Japan; Nigeria; Thailand; Korea, Republic of; Canada and Brazil 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/108, IP/C/M/108/Add.1