376. Under the previous agenda item we reported specifically on technical assistance in the public health area, so this report is a more general update on our activities relating to technical assistance in the TRIPS area. The details are found in document IP/C/W/600, so this report simply focuses on a few broad highlights and trends.
377. The overarching consideration is that technical cooperation remains driven essentially by demand of Members, as well as those countries in the process of accession to the WTO. We are seeing a diversity of needs and interests that Members identify in this process. This in turn creates a need increasingly to tailor and focus technical assistance activities on specific areas of interest or specific sectoral policy issues. This is particularly the case in national and regional workshops. At the same time, again driven by demand and the feedback we receive, we are working towards a more holistic approach to capacity-building activities with the goal of putting the TRIPS Agreement and the policy choices within the TRIPS framework into their broader operational context. That in turn leads to a greater collaboration, both within the Secretariat with other areas of expertise, but also with a wider range of international partners and experts who take part in our activities.
378. This approach is manifested particularly in the flagship Geneva-based activities: last year saw the sixth in the series of WIPO-WTO advanced courses for government officials on intellectual property. Again the approach here was to strengthen policy capacity and understanding of the IP framework generally and the TRIPS Agreement within that framework, while examining specific current policy issues that are of interest to the participating government officials.
379. A similar approach has been taken with what was the eleventh in the series of WIPO-WTO Colloquia for Teachers of Intellectual Property from Developing Countries. The aim is to enhance research and teaching capacity, so that the indigenous capacity of developing countries to work and educate on IP issues is accordingly strengthened. And the focus here again has been on both the overall international framework but also on current policy issues.
380. A particular progress there has been in developing the Colloquium Papers as an academic journal, thereby strengthening the capacity of the participating academics and enabling them to build their academic credentials as part of the Colloquium.
381. We have already touched on the other flagship Geneva event, which is the series of workshops on public health, and so I turn to the workshop on realizing the developmental objectives of the IP system: LDC priority needs for technical and financial cooperation that was held in June 2014. The focus of this activity was under the general provision of Article 67 on technical cooperation and the ongoing technical cooperation programmes of the WTO itself, but also our partners, WIPO in particular, for the benefit of LDCs. The focus was, in particular, on improving the coordination of responses to the priority needs identified by LDCs and ensuring a better matching of supply and demand of technical and financial assistance, so that it does match the priority needs identified by LDCs, taking account of their own priority sectors and developmental objectives.
382. The workshop was a very practical process. It looked at a number of practical questions, in particular, the utility of needs assessment and how they fit into the broader process of planning and executing development cooperation activities, the specific challenges of responding to individual priority needs that least developed country Members have identified and communicated, and the accessibility and relevance of information provided. This refers in particular to the extensive reporting on technical assistance activities, as well as communications by LDC Members about their priority needs, how to improve the management of that information again, so that it becomes a more practical planning resource without the information being locked in the documents themselves and facilitates improved coordination and above all delivery of technical assistance to LDC Members.
383. A further issue that has been discussed in previous sessions of this process also included the possibility of establishing a dedicated fund to respond to LDC needs. The workshop itself was part of a series of activities undertaken under the broader guidance of the LDC Group, and in particular responding to a specific request made by the LDC Group in the TRIPS Council. This has included a series of three Geneva-based workshops, as well as regional workshops in the past. Accordingly, it fits into that broader process.
384. I think that is all the details we need to share at this stage but obviously we have more details in the report that has been filed. I would simply conclude by mentioning that the Secretariat report has adopted a particular format of an introduction covering the general trends and highlights and then including the details of each activity in a separate table. We are very grateful to our technical cooperation partners, a number of whom have adopted a similar format. This is part of the experimental process of developing a coherent, optional framework for reporting the details of these activities. This would lend itself to a more workable information management system and we should be able to report back to the Council in the course of next year about how this can be turned into a more accessible and more user-friendly means of consulting this very important information about technical cooperation activities and the available programmes in this area.