246. The Chairman recalled that, at its last meeting, the Council had agreed that the Chair hold consultations on the issue of observer status for intergovernmental organizations, in particular on the request from the CBD Secretariat. There were 17 pending requests for observer status in the TRIPS Council by other intergovernmental organizations, a list of which was contained in document IP/C/W/52/Rev.11.
247. The Chairman said that he would first inform the Council on developments in the Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Environment and their implications to this Council, given that this issue had been raised at the Council's last meeting. The CTESS was mandated, pursuant to paragraph 31(ii) of the Doha Ministerial Declaration, to negotiate on "procedures for regular information exchange between MEA Secretariats and the relevant WTO committees, and the criteria for the granting of observer status".
248. The CTESS was currently considering elements of a draft text under paragraph 31(ii). At a meeting of the CTESS in July 2007 where this issue had been last discussed, the Chair had reported to the Committee that "further consultations had been undertaken on the basis of a document entitled 'Elements of a Draft Text under Paragraph 31(ii)'", and noted that "there seemed to be broad support for the elements set out in this document to provide a basis for an outcome under Paragraph 31(ii)". He had added that "[t]here were also some other proposals on the table, for instance with respect to observer status, on which delegations would need to continue working in future."
249. As regards the pending requests for observer status in the TRIPS Council from the CBD Secretariat and certain other intergovernmental organizations, he said that, as had been requested by the Council at its last meeting, he had consulted with the delegations that had been most actively engaged in this issue. However, he regretted to inform the Council that the cross-cutting considerations that had prevented the Council from making headway continued to be present and, therefore, he had to report that it did not seem possible to make progress at that stage.
250. As regards the question raised at the Council's last meeting of informing the CBD Secretariat on the status of its pending request, he noted that the WTO Secretariat had last informed in writing the Executive Secretary of the CBD Secretariat of the status of the pending request by means of a letter dated 22 September 2006. In addition, the WTO Secretariat had regular contacts with the CBD Secretariat during which it kept the latter informed of relevant developments. He said that he would be happy to inform the Executive Secretary of the CBD Secretariat of the latest situation if the Council would find that useful.