Actas - Consejo de los ADPIC - Ver detalles de la intervención/declaración

Ambassador Karen Tan (Singapore)
World Trade Organization
97. The representative of the Secretariat said that the length of his statement was in itself a measure of the importance he hoped to give to the LDC needs assessment process, and an indication of the degree of support the Secretariat wished to contribute to it. The process had been established by the TRIPS Council in 2005. It was now moving into a mature phase and as the LDC Members were taking important steps and investing considerable effort and resources in defining and articulating their priority needs, it might be timely to provide the Council with a general update on this process. A key concern throughout had been that the process was owned by the LDC Members and designed to serve their priority needs and to facilitate ways for other Members to meet those needs in a coordinated manner. His understanding was that, in order to be most useful, the process needed to identify areas of key interest to developmental and other objectives of the LDCs concerned; and to assist those Members to identify how the IP system, including the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement, could serve as a tool to achieve their public policy goals and their individual priority needs. The WTO Secretariat itself was renewing its efforts to support the process as a facilitator, but of course remained entirely responsive to the needs and directives of Members. 98. One important development over the past year had been paying more attention to a possible increased role of the Aid for Trade and the Integrated Framework initiatives as sources of resources and support for the process. Accordingly, as some Members had requested, the Secretariat had given an opportunity to the coordinator of Aid for Trade and a representative of the Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat at the Council's meeting in October 2009 to inform Members of the opportunities under these initiatives and to advise LDC Members on the steps they would need to take in order to make use of those existing mechanisms. In addition, a Secretariat background note giving full details of those initiatives had been circulated in document IP/C/W/544. These two initiatives together provided an important opportunity to progress both the needs assessment itself, but also, perhaps more importantly, ways of sustainably fulfilling those needs. However, it was up to the Members concerned to decide how they would like to make use of those opportunities and the role of the Secretariat was limited to providing technical advice and informing of the opportunities available and what the possible avenues were. 99. As already mentioned by the Chair, the Secretariat had held a very fruitful workshop back to back with the Council's meeting in October, this complying with the request put by the LDC Group. The workshop had intentionally been held at a technical level and had been intended to promote dialogue and coordination on the needs assessment process itself so as to enhance the alignment of available resources with the priority needs identified by individual LDC Members. It had facilitated the exchange of views and experiences between the LDC Members concerned and industrialized countries, as well as the Secretariat itself, and included other areas, such as the Integrated Framework and Aid for Trade, and a key partner in this area, WIPO. Details of that workshop were available online on a special webpage set up to facilitate discussion and information on the needs assessment process. 100. The workshop had been particularly useful in harvesting the experience of individual Members who had already undertaken the needs assessment. This was an important part of the process in that it allowed for mutual learning between the Members concerned, so that the process in one country could help informing the others. Some of the most important presentations at that workshop had been from the Members themselves, who had set out the approach they had taken and the practical lessons they had learnt from that approach. The workshop was intended to be practical and focused on the grass roots experiences of the countries themselves. In addition there had been strong emphasis on coordination, in particular between intergovernmental organizations and the providers of technical assistance, so that parallel initiatives actually reinforced each other and were effectively coordinated, and did indeed support LDC Members in achieving their goals with maximum leverage from the resources available. More details were available in the presentations and the summary available on the website. 101. As to the follow-up to that exercise, he said that the workshop had not been considered a stand-alone effort, but rather a step in a coordinated programme of activities that had been put together directly in response to the requests of the LDC Members. Indeed, the biennial technical assistance and training plan that had commenced just two months before provided for three subregional workshops on the needs assessment process for LDCs to be held in the course of the year. The purpose of those forthcoming workshops was to support LDC Members in providing as much information as possible to the Council on their priority needs in order to assist them to take the steps necessary to implement the TRIPS Agreement, while taking due account of each country's individual developmental and other domestic objectives. As already noted, that initiative responded to a specific request made by the LDC Group at the Council's meeting in June 2009. These workshops would also provide an opportunity to present a new guidebook intended to support LDC Members in undertaking and coordinating the needs assessment in a fast and effective manner. The objective was to ensure maximum coordination of the providers of technical assistance, and the Secretariat would be doing its utmost to ensure that other intergovernmental organizations and other active agencies involved in technical assistance would take part in those workshops so that the focus would not merely be on the needs assessment of LDC Members, but also in establishing pathways, structures and coordination mechanisms to sustainably and effectively meet the needs that they had identified. 102. Furthermore, the Secretariat intended to hold a symposium on the needs assessment process for Geneva-based delegates in the course of 2011. That formed a part of the overall biennial technical assistance and training programme. The Secretariat was focusing in that coordinated effort on involving a wide spectrum of potential providers of technical assistance, both from among the WTO membership and from other international organizations and agencies. This would ensure that coordination was as effective as possible and that the priority needs identified by LDC Members had the best chance of being met in a systematic fashion. The Secretariat was also exploring the possibility of organizing three subregional workshops in 2010: (i) for English speaking African LDC Members in early June in Uganda; (ii) for the Asia Pacific region in Bangladesh in late July; and (iii) for French speaking African LDC Members in early November. The Secretariat had already stepped up coordination with international organizations active in this field, so that project delivery could be more coordinated and guided by the needs assessment, and so that the needs assessment process was better harmonized with parallel programmes and existing activities that dealt with TRIPS related areas. Another key priority had been to harvest the experience and practical lessons of needs assessment activities undertaken so far, so that further countries could benefit in planning and undertaking their programmes, as well as exploring subregional and regional possibilities where these were appropriate and accorded with the needs assessed, once again reflecting an interest expressed on the part of LDC Members. 103. He said that a dedicated webpage had been prepared to help inform Members on the needs assessment process and to increasingly provide practical resources available in that process (background, origin, etc). It also highlighted the roles of the Aid for Trade initiative and the Integrated Framework. The webpage also summarized key developments and provided links to relevant official texts and documents, as well as the presentations from the workshop convened in 2009. The dedicated webpage was intended only as a practical tool for making existing information more readily available, to bring it together in one place and to facilitate awareness and coordination. It did not touch on the substantive aspects, which remained in the hands of the Members concerned. The dedicated webpage was easily accessible under the WTO website through the "TRIPS Agreement" and "specific TRIPS issues" gateway pages.1

1 1: Available at