Blogging WIPO: The Development Agenda By The Numbers
For most of day 2 of this week's meeting on the WIPO Development Agenda, we counted. We heard statements from Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and South Africa about the importance of protecting the public domain, balancing intellectual property rights with human rights, and the very real problems facing developing countries . In between, we listened to developed countries reel off lists of the numbers of the 111 proposals that they would -- and in the case of the U.S., Japan and Mexico -- would not support.
There was no real engagement or debate on matters of substance; the developed countries have clearly decided that the real action will be at the September WIPO General Assembly. Meanwhile, Brazil on behalf of the Group of Friends of Development, continued carefully documenting how their 21 proposal document (PCDA/2/2) addresses and summarizes the proposals on the table.
The key question in this numbers game is what do you count? The "ticks" -- the statements in support of particular proposals? Or the "crosses" -- the no-go votes from a minority of developed countries? And how do you weigh them if there are votes on both sides and statements of qualified approval? There's clear support from a majority of countries for some proposals on WIPO's technical assistance program. There are both supporters and objectors on proposals on protecting the public domain and discussion of alternative approaches to innovation, such as free and open source software and creative commons licenses. And there's flat-out rejection of a swathe of proposals by the U.S., Mexico and Japan.
If you count the "ticks", then there's at least the prospect that we may see some long-needed and very appropriate reforms to the global intellectual property system including improvements to WIPO's technical assistance program. But if not, developed countries would effectively be given a veto over any development-oriented proposal, turning the last two years' work into nothing more than a process of elimination.
The NGO coalition's notes from day 2, posted after the jump, document these two parallel sets of discussions - the substantive and the numbers game. We'll provide our analysis of the numbers shortly.
WIPO Provisional Committee for Proposals to Establish a WIPO Development Agenda, Second Session
Day 2. June 27, 2006
Notes taken by:
Thiru Balasubramaniam, thiru at cptech dot org, Consumer Project on Technology [TB]
Teresa Hackett, teresa dot hackett at eifl dot net, Electronic
Information for Libraries [TH]
Gwen Hinze, gwen at eff dot org, Electronic Frontier Foundation [GH]
[NOTE: This is not an official transcript. It's our best effort at
providing a faithful set of notes of the proceedings. Any errors and
omissions are unintentional and regretted.]
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10:20 am approx.
Chair: Well, Switzerland didn't win last night so hopefully you all slept well.
I hope that we can continue today with serenity. I met with Regional Coordinators this morning. Told them that I have to leave during today due to other commitments, and the Vice Chair, the delegate of Kyrgyzstan, will take over chairing and take note of comments on proposals. Also told them that we don't know what the outcome of this meeting will be, but I am hoping that we can come to some sort of position by the end of this week.
A group of delegations are working outside of this meeting, and have asked for time this afternoon to continue work on that, so all regional Coordinators agreed that we would suspend meeting at 5 pm today.
[Just in time for the Brazil versus Ghana WC match that starts at 5].
We will now continue our work on Cluster B - Public Domain. Yesterday we heard an interesting statement from delegation of Chile. Do they want to continue now? Canada wants the floor.
Canada: With your permission, we'd like to come back to Cluster A - we'd like to let you know that we support majority of proposals, but concerns with proposals 3, 16, 21, 32.
On cluster B, we can support majority, and thank Chile for clarification on Public Domain
We continue to have reservations on the way proposals on public domain are worded. On 3, what is meant by "mechanism" to facilitate access to knowledge?
We share the opinion of Italy that similar proposals be grouped together.
France mentioned that some proposals were more likely to achieve a result than others, we endorse this and would like to suggest that consider these first.
Might be useful to look at what proposals are likely to receive consensus.
Nigeria's comment that WIPO's technical assistance is demand driven and neutral. Also wanted to highlight and endorse US's reminder of our mandate to accelerate our work.
Austria (on behalf of the European Communities): We can support most of the clusters in group B.
Further clarification needed:
1-3, 7, 8, 9, 17 with res18-20, 23, 27
Could lead to consensus in the short term:
EU reserves right to revise this list in due time, with consideration.
We may come up with a statement on cluster A at a later stage.
Uruguay (FoD): We would like to refer to what was said yesterday.
Uruguay expresses gratitude to Argentina, coordinator of GFOD, for work on PCDA/2/2.
We agree with most of its contents.
Yesterday the Brazilian delegate highlighted many of the principles stated in that document. We would like to highlight what was stated in that document PCDA/2/2
Paragraph 7(e) - in respect of international human rights instruments and tie in with IP. IP rights should not violate human rights. Human rights are inherent rights and do not need to be officially recognized by states to be recognized by them. We should emphasize the links between human rights and IP rights.
Applies to right to culture, right to knowledge etc
Committee on the Right of the Child monitors one of the more contemporary international human rights conventions. Many signatories. In 2004 the Committee recommended that rights of child should be give supremacy when negotiating IP instruments. Human rights have to be taken into account when IP treaties are negotiated.
An NGO [3D - or the Federalist Society report on the desk outside??)]has supplied an interesting report on human rights and IP, and here there is a document that highlights the role that human rights should play in these discussions [Federalist Society?]
We support the majority of proposals in first cluster. Support calls for WIPO technical assistance and capacity building activities to be properly planned, demand driven, evaluated, and encourage WIPO to take strategic and coordinated approach to such activities and ensure that there is an effective priority setting mechanism to ensure that WIPO's limited resources are focused appropriately. This will assist economies such as Australia, to plan development activities and avoid duplication.
We support many of Cluster 2 proposals but important that WIPO activities stay member-driven. Member countries have their own national norm-setting processes. National process on norm-setting include consultation and policy development processes with wide range of constituencies. National processes should be fed into international level at WIPO.
Generally support contributions to norm-setting debate from wide range of participants - industry and public interest groups.
However the participation of interest groups within WIPO needs to be managed. Must not detract from Member States' ability to contribute to meetings, and should not substantially add to duration and frequency of meetings.
Supports proposals 5.6,.8,12, 13 15, 16
1,9,11,17,18,19,22,27 supports in principle but requires further clarification before could fully support.
[TB: 22 refers to examining non-IP type/non-exclusionary systems for fostering innovation, creativity (e.g. free software development and creative commons models]
[TB: 27 refers to "To promote models based on open collaborative projects to develop public goods, as exemplified by the Human Genome Project and Open Source Software".]
Iran: Norm-setting is very important for my delegation. Para 7 (PCDA/2/2)
Reservation on 5 (cluster B) - no relationship with norm-setting in WIPO. On 6, conflict with mandate of ACE - which is dealing with this on its Agenda, and has clear mandate on this.
[GH: i.e. the US's two proposals]
[TB: Cluster B-point 5 is on "Best Practices for Economic Growth"]
Want to focus on para 6 - piracy is having a devastating impact on my country and that's why we support it so strongly. If we have such a level of piracy, we will not be able to develop national knowledge basis very much.
Also support para 13 - have to recognize differences between DCs and developed countries and even between diff DCs and Developed countries.
Thanks GFOD for their proposals.
Croatia on behalf of Central European and Baltic States:
Agree to support majority of clusters but some reservations on others, not sure
1,2,3,7,9,10,14,17,18-20,23,27 - some outside of WIPO mandate within UN system.
We would support constructive proposals recognizing role that WIPO operates. In interests of all countries that these discussions conclude in an operative manner.
We would like to finish this week in an operative manner.
Several proposals of cluster B should be included in the recommendation to GA
5,6,8,12,15,16, and 21 but have to look at financial implications of these, but think that very close to agreement.
We need to look at financial implications of these. With respect to other recommendations, we need to see how they fit under WIPO's mandate.
Truly important that WIPO continues to focus on its work in IP and there are other international bodies that have other mandates.
With respect to cluster A, we support the majority of proposals. Think WIPO should focus on assessments done to coordinate activities and assistance properly.
Want to reiterate what Canada said, that the list contains repetitions and duplications. Useful to go through these and highlight common points.
In a multilateral field, normally countries attempt to visualize results that they hope to achieve. Mandate that joins us all is to have a structure for development. Focus on designing a structure. All proposals submitted - the list of 111 proposals - goes towards this. The merit of the list is to highlight work done by countries.
Want to highlight work of GFOD and excellent effort made by PCDA/2/2. Bolivia endorses this work and gives us framework for making progress. Particularly supports
7(c) on the public domain
Participation of civil society in norm-setting activities
Argentina: We need to regroup proposals that are similar.
Supports statements of Canada, Switzerland, and comments of Uruguay and Bolivia, on need to regroup proposals that are similar. That is what we tried to do in document PCDA/2/2 that tried to group our and other proposals.
We should not lose sight of the context of these proposals, which are set out in more detail in meetings of PCDA and in the IIM sessions. I think our document would be quite useful in the second phase called forth by Switzerland. Our document calls for a particular timing - see for instance, proposals on technical assistance in paragraphs 3 and 4 we have used word "immediately". For issues that are more complex, such as technology transfer, are left for posterior stage, development.