41. The representative of the Secretariat said that, at the previous meeting, he had indicated that more than 30 developing country Members had expressed interest in taking advantage of the Joint Initiative. Since then, some of those Members had provided more information on their needs or submitted further requests to the two Organizations. One additional Member had expressed interest in receiving assistance under the Joint Initiative and the Secretariat was consulting with the International Bureau of WIPO on the best way in which to respond to it. Recalling the general approach that had been agreed with the International Bureau on the way to respond to these requests, he said that in most cases the International Bureau was taking the lead in providing the assistance requested by integrating the requests into its 1999 programmes of assistance for each of the countries concerned. The WTO Secretariat had been contributing to these activities of WIPO to the extent that its human resources permitted. In the past two months, since the last meeting, the WTO Secretariat had provided speakers to four regional seminars organized by WIPO: those held in Oman for Arab countries, in Zimbabwe for the English-speaking Sub-Saharan African developing countries, in Cameroon for the French-speaking Sub-Saharan African developing countries, and in Dominica for the CARICOM countries. Another mode of follow-up agreed with WIPO and Members concerned was the organization of joint events. In this regard, plans had been developed for joint national TRIPS seminars in a number of Members. Two such events would take place in June and a further one was scheduled for September. The Joint UPOV-WIPO-WTO Symposium on the protection of plant varieties held on 15 February in Geneva was also relevant to the WIPO-WTO Joint Initiative. This Symposium had been followed by a joint regional workshop held in Bangkok in March for countries from the Asia-Pacific region. Two more regional seminars on plant variety protection would be held in May: one in Cairo for countries from the Middle East and North Africa and the other in Nairobi for English-speaking African countries. Further, in March 1999, a joint WIPO-WTO symposium on the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement was held in the Central African Republic for the French-speaking Sub-Saharan African countries. In certain instances, the WTO Secretariat had taken the lead in providing assistance, in particular when it came to matters relating to WTO mechanisms. Some of these activities had been undertaken in response to specific requests under the Joint Initiative, but many of the Secretariat's ongoing activities also benefited countries that were in the process of implementing the TRIPS Agreement. For example, the WTO Secretariat had organized regional and national trade policy seminars that had focused on, among other areas of the WTO, the TRIPS Agreement. In the recent past, such seminars had been held in Singapore and Ghana, in March, and in Pakistan, in April. To help Members with notification procedures and documentation, the Secretariat had continued to establish WTO reference centres in many developing countries, the number of which was now 47. Further, the WTO Secretariat had responded to requests under the Joint Initiative by providing information and advice through its regular contacts with delegations in Geneva and experts in capitals.