[Culturetalk] fw: WIPO IGC update
EliseH at spc.int
Fri Sep 25 21:51:53 EDT 2009
Please find web link at bottom of forwarded article
25 September 2009
WIPO Approves CHF64 Million Conference Hall; Intensive Informals Held On
By Kaitlin Mara <http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/author/kaitlin/> @ 7:55
How to handle the deadlocked negotiations on traditional knowledge
remains a sticky decision at this year's World Intellectual Property
Organization General Assemblies, with four proposals on the table and
informal meetings ongoing in advance of a formal discussion next week.
Meanwhile, WIPO member governments this week agreed to fund a CHF64.2
million franc (US$64.5 million dollar) WIPO conference centre aimed for
The future mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual
Property and Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Folklore (IGC)
is in question as delegates have been unable to agree on the ultimate
goal of the committee's work, a programme for that work, and a timeframe
in which it must be completed.
At press time, more informal meetings of "regional coordinator-plus-one"
were scheduled for this afternoon, and a possible draft "non-paper"
coming from the meeting chair, Argentina Ambassador Alberto Dumont. The
meeting is scheduled to run into this evening, with the possibility of a
session tomorrow, Saturday, some participants said. [Update: A concern
was raised this afternoon about the representation of the Asia Group in
the informal meetings on traditional knowledge, according to a source.
Yemen currently holds the presidency for the Asia Group.]
The African Group in October 2008 submitted a proposal
_8_rev.pdf%20> [pdf] to the IGC calling for text-based negotiations
with the goal of creating an international, legally binding instrument
to protect traditional knowledge, genetic resources, and traditional
cultural expressions. It also set a tentative deadline for submitting a
text for such an instrument as 2011, and laid out a work programme by
which that could be achieved.
Some countries were not amenable to this outcome and at both the 13-17
October meeting of the IGC the 29 June to 3 July meeting no agreement
The African proposal remains largely as it was at the last IGC meeting
in July, according to sources, and is being supported by a large number
of developing countries. While the African proposal contains other
details, text-based work, a legally binding instrument, and a work
programme with a timeframe are seen as the three critical issues for
those supporting the African proposal, say sources.
There are also three other proposals on the table. One from the European
Union - similar to a document
rslag-eu-3-juli-09.doc> [doc] they submitted to the July meeting -
contains in its preamble the affirmation that "indigenous and local
communities have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop
their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional
knowledge, and traditional cultural heritage" and urges the IGC to
"prepare a declaration" on the importance of protecting against
misappropriation of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and
traditional cultural expressions.
In parallel, the latest EU document, available here
[pdf], calls for continued IGC work, with no outcome prejudged, but with
a work programme and timeframe that would include three IGC sessions a
There are also new proposals from the US and Australia, not previously
tabled at an IGC. The US proposal, available here
[pdf], calls for a renewed mandate asking for the committee to
"accelerate" work "towards further convergence," but makes no
recommendations on specific timeframes or goals save that there should
be progress reports submitted to the 2010 and 2011 General Assemblies.
It specifies that no outcome of the continued deliberations should be
excluded, including the possibility of an international instrument
(though "legally-binding" is not in the US text).
The Australian proposal, available here
[pdf], contains "a commitment to text-based negotiations," and calls for
a clearly defined work programme and timeframe, but "without prejudice
to the outcome," including the possibility of a legally-binding
instrument. It asks that a "text for an international
instrument/instruments" be submitted to the 2011 General Assemblies "if
Several governments opened the 22 September to 1 October meetings with a
call to move longstanding IGC talks to something concrete like a binding
treaty or other instrument.
The opening statement by Brazilian Ambassador Roberto Azevedo said, "The
fundamental objective of the Development Agenda - of extending the
benefits of the intellectual property system to countries and
communities excluded from innovation" should guide the assemblies' work
on IGC. He added the "hope that the IGC will be given a fresh and strong
mandate calling for the negotiation of legally binding instruments."
Indonesia also affirmed in its statement that "it is in the very
interest of Indonesia that international legal protection is applied to
[the IGC] to prevent further misuse and misappropriation." It added:
"The contours of such [an] agreement have already been made available
through the various deliberations of the IGC what we need now is
political will for its concretisation."
A delegate from Namibia told Intellectual Property Watch that continuing
negotiations is not problematic, but "we must have something concrete on
the table," with an objective and a deadline. "We are fed up with
talking and want to talk on basis of a text," the delegate added.
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