325. The representative of the Secretariat said that the details of its technical cooperation activities concerning TRIPS undertaken between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011 could be found in document IP/C/W/557. The report recalled that the Secretariat's technical cooperation activities relating to TRIPS continued to focus on assisting Members to understand the rights and obligations under TRIPS, including flexibilities and the full range of available policy options. An increasing focus was laid on building self-sustaining capacity in developing countries, including through the training of trainers and strengthening regionally-based expertise rather than relying on centralized expertise. Technical cooperation continued to be essentially demand driven against a background, however, that Members were expressing an increasing diversity of needs and interests. This in turn was leading to an increased tailoring and focussing of technical assistance activities on specific areas of interest or sectoral policy themes, complementing long-standing activities that provided general overviews of the TRIPS Agreement.
326. The past focus on ensuring complementarity and cooperation with other inter-governmental organizations had been further enhanced with a particular focus on coordinating on public health and IP technical assistance with its sister organizations, the WHO and WIPO.
327. Highlighting two Geneva-based specific activities, he first mentioned the eighth joint WIPO-WTO Colloquium for teachers of IP from developing countries. The colloquium corresponded with a broader programme objective of building capacity within the academic community in developing countries, so as to strengthen self-sustaining know-how and research and policy analysis capacity in those countries, with a view to strengthening the independent and teaching capacities of developing countries on IP law and policy. The papers presented at the Colloquium in 2010 were of such a quality and value that they had been collated and published jointly by WIPO and the WTO as a resource, so as to provide a unique and authoritative insight for researchers and analysts covering contemporary IP and TRIPS issues within a wide range of developing countries, a wider range that was often covered in conventional academic publishing.
328. The same period saw the third joint WIPO-WTO Advanced Course on Intellectual Property, which drew on the experience of earlier successful colloquia for teachers of IP, and applied a similar programme structure and pedagogic strategy, but was tailored and focused on government officials and public sector policymakers from the developing world. The course was able to work from a truly advanced baseline given the high level of applications and expertise involved among participants and thus was able to explore cutting edge issues through interactive debate and practical case studies, so as to strengthen the capacity of government officials and policy makers to critically review policy options and their implications, and to learn from the wide range of practical experiences that were available in those programmes.
329. The technical cooperation activities outside Geneva had been led by the evolving demand from Members leading to an increasing focus on the interplay between TRIPS and specific areas of public policy, including public health, but also biotechnology, traditional knowledge and biodiversity, geographical indications, current copyright issues and environmental issues, including climate change. A key objective had continued to be a focus on health-related flexibilities in the TRIPS Agreement and policy options in the public health field, including the implementation of the Paragraph 6 system. The planning of such activities followed a new and improved format designed to respond to demands from Members to put WTO and TRIPS technical assistance into the larger context of policy choices with a particular focus on current developments and challenges.
330. The reporting period had also seen an increased focus on activities with the sister organizations that applied especially in the field of public health. The Secretariat had organized jointly with WHO and WIPO a technical symposium on "Access to Medicines, Patent Information and Freedom to Operate". The objective of the symposium had been to build on the first event in that series of joint symposia but more specifically to highlight the value of access to patent information in the context of ensuring access to medicines. It had provided an opportunity for participants with different backgrounds from government, civil society organizations and industry to share experiences, to take stock and look at future needs in that field.
331. The symposium on the LDC needs assessment process had been a structured activity stemming from the 2005 Decision of the TRIPS Council concerning LDC individual priority needs relating to TRIPS implementation and in particular the request made by Angola and Tanzania on behalf of the LDC Group at the Council's meeting in June 2009. That process included regional workshops for Francophone Africa, for Anglophone Africa and for the Asia-Pacific region and so the previous week's activity had been a culminating event that had drawn together experience harvested in each of those regional workshops and to consider informally the way ahead. The structure of the workshop conceptually followed the main elements of the 2005 Decision of this Council, involving the three steps of the identification of individual priority needs by LDC Members; the response by developed country Members to the needs identified; and the coordination role of the WTO vis-à-vis other international organizations. In particular, the workshop had focussed on the experience of the Members concerned, particularly those Members who had notified the Council of their individual priority needs. It also considered the role of intergovernmental organizations, including the WTO, WIPO, UNCTAD and active NGOs involved in the needs assessment process, i.e. the ICSTD, as well as reports by a number of active developed county Members on their relevant technical assistance programmes so as to promote coordination between the needs identified and the responses available.
332. The Symposium had used a process that had worked very well in the regional symposia, namely a series of informal bilateral meetings, matchmaking meetings that enabled the least developed countries concerned to sit down with donors, IGO and developed country programmes so as to look for opportunities concretely for responding to the needs identified. The programme concluded with a roundtable review session which touched on a number of important points of potential follow up. Among those was the challenge of meeting the needs that had been identified, in particular the needs identified in the six submissions already tabled to the Council. The discussion had focused on strategies to ensure availability of coordinated and effective resources to address the needs identified. Proposals included better use of contact points, the existing contact point list established under the Council for technical assistance, as well as developed countries taking up specific elements in the assessments and looking for follow-up in those areas.
333. A proposal had been discussed concerning specific coordination events that would focus on the specific needs assessments that had been tabled, country by country, and that would bring together development assistance partners for a coordinated discussion and follow up on the specific elements of needs assessments, particularly those elements that had not been responded to so far. Those activities could be stand-alone or could be incorporated in other events, such as a further series of such symposia, if it was agreed to go ahead with a further series.
334. He said that there was a strong focus on better coordination for existing technical assistance programmes that went beyond the obvious label of TRIPS implementation and touched on other areas of development cooperation that were relevant to TRIPS and sectoral interests under TRIPS implementation, as well as better use of the notifications made to the Council under Article 67 to identify relevant programmes. In addition, a toolkit was under development that would draw together a great deal of the experience in that area and that would be used as a repository for sharing practical experience so far as well as identifying relevant programmes.
335. A continuing focus had been on improving inter-agency coordination with the possibility of more frequent coordination meetings than the relatively infrequent meetings that had been taking place so far, as well as looking at the important role of regional and subregional organizations, and communicating practical experience with optimal national strategies for both coordinating on the needs assessment process and the responses to needs identified. He said that the Secretariat would continue to do what it could to support further coordination in the light of directions received from Members, including from the Members most concerned, the Group of LDC Members.