WIPO: Talks About Talks
That's what the Pakistani delegation said about the second WIPO meeting on the Development Agenda, and we couldn't agree more. Even as the discussion "officially" moved on to substantive reforms of WIPO, each proposal was met with suggestions to hand the debate over to an aimless, underfunded subcommittee. It's no surprise that the most vocal advocates for this proposal are wealthy countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and most of Western Europe.
We'll have a complete wrap-up of the proceeding later today, but first we've got the 2nd day's notes after the jump.
Blogging WIPO and the Development Agenda, Round 2
The Second IIM, June 20-22: Day 2
Ren Bucholz, ren at eff.org, Electronic Frontier Foundation [RB]
Thiru Balasubramaniam, thiru at cptech.org, Consumer Project on Technology
[NOTE: This is not an official transcript. Any errors and ommissions are regretted.]
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~ African Union: The views expressed by Morocco (African Group) and Benin (LDCs) are in line with our views.
NEPAD has drawn a new framework for cooperation. We recognized that IP is one of the major elements of development and should be at the center of all development processes. It is true that WIPO has made major commitments to development and the time has come for WIPO to be more involved.
~ Union for the Public Domain:
~ World Blind Union: This is the first time that WBU has participated in the IIM. Expresses concern that none of the country proposals deal with people with disabilities, and suggests that a truly inclusive development agenda would address this oversight.
Q: So, what might this have to do with copyright? A: Improperly deployed copyright regimes can hinder the employment and access to knowledge of disabled people. Cites lack of standard exchange formats for people with sight problems and the poorly designed and implemented TPMs that keep people with disabilities from accessing information.
Hopes that a finally formulated DA will address the needs of the disabled community and will take concrete steps to address those problems.
~ European Patent Office: I would like to make two comments
1) General - In parallel to trying to get IP to foster development needs, we need to use the currently available possibilities. Many states use the IP system to foster development. The IP system has an enabling aspect. So how do we use the system for technology transfer? And why don't we see these transfers happening in a more organized way? Time is short, and we should make that happen.
2) Specific - Regarding the current debate - if you take an outside observe to these discussions, there is more common ground than differences between the Brazilian and Canadian proposals to structure the current debates. We should use all the available tools to achieve consensus. That is why I appreciate the proposal by the International Bureau to have informal consultations. Let us not restrict ourselves to formal proceedings.
~ Chair: On structure, Brazil & its allies have submitted a new proposal. Keeping in mind this and the other proposals, I would like to circulate a room document that has "clusters" of main themes. We can add anything that the chair missed. That document is available here:
-=-=-=15 minute break=-=-=-
~ Chair: Passes to Bahrain.
~ Bahrain: We need a little more time for consultation. We do agree with your proposal, but more time would be helpful.
~ Canada: We see a combination of Canada's proposal and other proposals. This clustering and possible topics paper does not have legal status.
~ Brazil: We feel that there has been a "butchering" of the proposals, especially of our own, broader proposal.
We should get a complete listing of the concrete proposals presented to the IIM. This may avoid a lengthy negotiation as to what category each item should be assigned to.
~ Mexico: Feels that the chair's suggestion helps.
~ India: We thank you for this attempt to bring some some structure to these discussions. We thought there was already a structure based on the proposals presented. As Brazil noted, the mandate of this IIM is to consider specific proposals. We recognize the difficulty that could come up and indeed has come up with the clusterization of issues. A lot of the items that have identified been put in the first cluster should belong in another cluster. A lot of time could be spent arguing as to what item should beling in what cluster.
We strongly support the discussion of the actual proposals presented to the IIM. We should not waste time arguing as to what item belongs in what cluster.
Maybe we should maybe discuss the proposals at random so no one proposal is marginalized at the expense of others.
~ Luxembourg: Prefer Canadian proposal, but are also open to the Brzillian proposal of listing topics.
~ Chile: As we stated yesterday, we are comfortable working with a list as proposed by Brazil. We would like to see the list Brazil has proposed.
~ France: This is a step forward. If we don't have structure, we will waste time. We therefore support the Chair's approach.
~ Colombia: We like the flexibility of Brazil's proposal, and we would go along with it.
~ Argentina: We need some clarification. What is the problem? There has been a clear mandate from the General Assembly to consider the Development Agenda. The proposals provide a basis for discussions. We already know the general and specific issues at hand. We are not here to negotiate the content of debate. The original GFoD proposal was presented in September. Member States have had ample time to consider these documents. We need to delve into the substance of the debate. Due to the attitude of certain delegations, these discussions are stalling.
~ Morocco: Summary of yesterday's African group statement.
~ Pakistan: What we have here are talks about talks. We also have another option. We have been given a mandate by the GA, and that mandate was unambiguous. That was to examine the proposals with regard to the development agenda. We desire a list of proposals, like that considered by Brazil. We also requested yesterday that the chairman provide some direction, and are greatful with his attempts so far. However, there seems to be some resistance from some countries. Clustering forces a particular lens on each proposal, while allowing each proposal to be aired separately allows a particular country to control that lens. We hope that you will start that substantive discussion, because we could continue this particular, fruitless line of reasoning indefinitely.
~ Chair: I still have three delegations on my list, and we are going to take a short break for me to focus my thoughts. When a writer writes a novel, he organizes it into chapters. This seemed logical to us to present these different chapter/clusters without prejudice to the actual topics. We could draw lots, go chronologically, or whatever. I agree that we should move forward.
~ United Kingdom: The benefits of the meeting should outweigh the costs of the meeting. We are happy to discuss our proposal on a proposal by proposal basis. One suggestion that we have is to discuss the role and mandate of WIPO first which is least controversial. We are flexible on how to move forward.
~ Iran: We suggest a method where we cluster issues within each proposal.
~ Chair: We have received a document from Brazil, and the chair wants to ask them to speack on the document.
~ Kenya: Supports proposal of Brazil.
~ Bahrain: I was unclear - we support immediate debate. When we asked for more time, it was to be able to reorganize our document into your clusters.
~ Brazil: The proposal we have made has not yet been distributed to all Member Countries. It is an alternative to categorization. It is a listing of action-oriented proposals. The order is not important to us. A lottery would be fine. The action-oriented proposals are actually contained in the documents submitted to the IIM. This is the principle we call for. This is not an exhaustive list nor is it written in stone.
~ Chair: If we have some flexibility, we could use this list to begin. We can take a break to consider the proposal. I hope this list circulated by Brazil is accepted by Members.
~ US: Glad to see Brazillian document, however, they have a problem with how their own proposals are cahracterized. Would like to propose that the US have the ability to characterize their own proposal, and suspect that other countries would like this opportunity as well.
[RB: Note that despite the invitation to comment, nobody else has a problem. On Day 3 one country asks to have their own proposal joined with another.]
~ Morocco: Thanks Brazil.
~ India: We would like clarification by the coordinator of the African Group (Morocco). We do not recall a written proposal submitted by the African Group to the IIM. We are of the understanding that we are to discuss proposals that were submitted in writing to the IIM.
Regarding the chair's recommendation that we discuss "less controversial" aspects first, this is somewhat subjective depending on the point of view of the respective delegations.
~ Bahrain: We endorse the Brazillian proposal in principle, though we note that some points from our proposal were ommitted. Reserve the right to resubmit.
~ Morocco: My last comment was the essence of yesterday's African Group statement. It was our understanding that the Brazillian list was an account of particular concerns. If this document is in fact closed, we support the first document of clusters (the Chair's submission).
~ Algeria: Offers support for Morocco's statement, and reminds that the African group's concerns must be considered one way or another.
~ India: One of the important features of the list presented by Brazil is that it's based on written proposals submitted to the IIM. We made our intervention in a positive spirit. Perhaps the African Group statement could be recast in a written form and submitted as a proposal with actionable elements.
~ Brazil: Would like to further elaborate on the ideas behind our document. It is an open document. It is not an exclusive list. The document put forth by GFoD is convergent with the African Group concerns and some members of the GFoD are members of the African Group. It is very important to work on the basis of formal documents that were presented by Members.
~ Chair: I thank all of you for your efforts. This list presented by Brazil is an open list. The Presidency will use it to improve on the language and fine-tuning it and improving it. We will try to set up a mechanism to accelarate the debate. All subjects will be discussed.
Chair: Hopes we can continue the positive energy from this morning's session. Sometimes a good lunch can make you drowsy, but he hopes that this is not the case with this group.
Received only one proposal over lunch, which was from the US and is intended to redraft item 10. Hopes that we get more. These proposals will allow us to draft a document for the GA that indicates what work remains to be done.
Would like to spend 1 hour on each topic, starting from least controversial. Hopes that we will review at least 9 by end of day tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon will be spent reviewing the chair's report. We'll start in this order:
1) Item 10, the US would prefer to say [garbled]
2) Item 8
3) Item 13
~ Argentina: We are not calling into question the changed proposed. We think that it will be helpful if we can find out what terms are used to evaluate how controversial a topic may be. We think that item 4 is the most important and basic. Thinks that moving between topics without any links between them raises possiblity that the discussion will suffer.
~ Chair: Sees no problem with that. Entirely open to allowing delegations to express views on topics, and thinks that the order is unimportant. As Argentina says, item 4 is clearly linked to item 10.
What I would like to know is the views of various delegations on these various proposals specifically item 10 (Brazilian text and United States text)
~ India: Would like more clarification on how items are determined controversial or noncontoversial. Would like especially to have an early "heads-up" on where things stand. Thinks that it would take no more than 15 minutes to run through the whole list.
~ US: In light of new comments, does the chair still want the US to present its change on Item 10? Wants clarification about the Indian delegation's suggestion - not familiar with this "initial survey." Could India explain?
~ Chair: The US should present first. Then we'll forget the word "controversial" and simply go by the choice of the chair.
~ US: Their proposal is premised on recognizing the benefit of IP and WIPO in development. It is not just about technical assistance. It is instead designed to build on existing successful work by bringing together all stakeholders. Proceeds to outline the two main arms of the proposal: a WIPO Partnership Database and a WIPO Partnership Office.
~ Mexico: Thinks that the proposal put forward by Argentina is an "excellent proposition" as there are many items that are interlinked. However, Item 4 is more general than Item 10 - perhaps we should discuss them both now.
On Item 10 bis. [RB: The US's amended Item 10], it is important to think of costs for the database and website and office. Perhaps we should keep our feet on the ground. Who contributes this financing? How much do we pay? Where do we get these resources?
~ Canada: Wishes to address 10 bis. With regard to technical cooperation, it's important that these be as efficient as possible. With that in mind, Canada finds the US proposal compelling and wishes to pursue it further.
~ Argentina: We've already said that we believe that technical assistance should be linked to other elements that we do not believe are found in the US proposal. We think that technical assistance should be mainly based on needs and requets from member states. That's why the GFoD paper suggests real evaluation of these efforts.
~ Pakistan: Wishes to share their thoughts on US proposal. We agree that technical assistance is an important element of WIPO's work. This is something already on its way with respect to the Secretariat's work. The US proposal would strengthen the technical assistance work which has improved in the last two to three years.
An establishment of the WIPO partnership office and the database is fine. However, we find the conspicuous absence of certain ideas in these discussions. There needs to be a change in mindset in these discussions of the WIPO DA which would have effects upon the US technical assistance program. We are talking about having development in the IP system, but technical assistance is a but small part of the Development Agenda proposal.
~ United Kingdom: The US proposal is an important contribution to WIPO's efforts to provide effective technical assistance. We called for a proper evaluation of WIPO's technical assistance.
~ Chair: I want to thank Argentina for its intervention calling making linkages between the different of the action-oriented proposals by Member States.
~ Brazil: We would like to briefly emphasize the points that have been made by previous delegations.
The friends of development (IIM/1/4) mentioned information sharing as being useful in the field of technical cooperation. This was never intended as a stand-alone proposal. Information sharing should be accompanied by principles and guidelines for pro-development technical cooperation.
~ Sweden: We welcome and support the US proposal and align ourselves with the United Kingdom. A key principle of technical cooperation is that it should be demand driven.
~ Australia: Garbled [TB: Basically supports the US proposal]
~ Japan: We think the US proposal to establish a database is positive.
~ United States: Certain private sector interest would be involved with the donor agencies. However, it would be up to the developing countries which programs to implement [i.e. "demand driven"]. Due to the structure of the proposal, much of this could be done through extra-budgetary resources and the existing budget of WIPO.
~ Chair: I would like to ask a member of the GFoD to elaborate on Item 4.
~ Brazil: The GFoD noted that WIPO plays an important role in the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement in developing countries. The legal and technical assitance activities of WIPO should include the implementation of the pro-development aspects of the TRIPS Agreement including Articles 7,8, 13, 31, and 40 and the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.
These principles and guidelines for development and implementation of technical assistance would act as a roadmap (WO/GA/31/11 and IIM/1/4). The UK IPR Commission looked at these questions related to WIPO's technical assistance. There is agreement that the principles and guidelines that we have identified in our document are correct. These principles and guidelines are not an exhaustive list.
~ UK: Indicates concern about some proposed guidelines, and again proposes that the PCIPD is the ideal forum for discussing these concerns. This would also allow for the discovery of how other committees provide technical assistance.
~ Canada: At the last meeting, several countries commended WIPO's work on technical assistance & cooperation. Canada prefers a demand-driven approach. Often, technical assistance is delivered in isolation from other development work. We wish for rational WIPO policy. Therefore, we think that this should be discussed in PCIPD.
~ India: Surprised that the previous two speakers wished to push this discussion to the PCIPD. With respect to the GFoD proposal, it presents the fundamental question of whether technical cooperation can actually be used to aid development. This question clearly does *not* belong in PCIPD, as it refers to a more meta-level consideration that encompasses the role of PCIPD.
As for the US proposal, this is straight down the street of technical assistance. "Partnering" with a DC with an industry group is likely to be uncomfortable if what the country really needs is less protection in a particular area.
India is shocked, however, that the US and UK would jump to push the GFoD proposals into the PCIPD when the US database proposal is so clearly in that realm.
~ UK: Wishes to explain PCIPD is a "legally set up body" that is already in existence. All members of WIPO can participate, and it has an extremely broad mandate. Their proposal is that this body, properly reinvigorated, is the ideal venue for this discussion. They noted earlier that the US proposal should be pursued there as well. They were therefore surprised that India was surprised.
~ Argentina: We need to put ourselves in the proper context. The proposal for a development agenda for WIPO does not have separate components - it is a whole. The GFoD are not proposing a technical procedure, but are rather trying to get to a conceptual framework for this work. We also explain mechanisms, and those are covered in issues 11-13. With regard to sending these themes to PCIPD, we also have a mandate that is clear. The assemblies can later take our agenda and make other decisions on what to do.
Reiterates principles in GFoF proposal from first IIM.
Why would we leave these to another body when our mandate is so clear here?
~ Iran: We need some guidelines and principles in this body before dropping the whole thing in PCIPD.
~ Australia: This delegation agrees with the UK on the scope of PCIPD. If the concern is that the PCIPD has not traditionally worked on these issues, this would be an opportunity to "mainstream" these issues there. It could also encompass the US proposal.
~ Algeria: Agrees with Argentina, India, Pakistan: we have a mandate. If we cut up the DA, then tomorrow we'll have to put it back together at some point. The GA asked us for set of principles. Technical assitance isn't appropriately before this body
~ US: Has concerns about Item 4 on principles. These stem from some troubling premises, for instance GFoD para 59. His delegation doesn't share these premises. For instance, he doesn't think that he's ever heard a delegation say that IP is an end in itself.
In light of these issues, US would have an enormous amount of discussion about those principles. This is probably where the UK is coming from when they suggest putting this into the PCIPD. Does believe that we are currently meeting their mandate to examine proposals and report to the General Assembly, but that doesn't mean that we have to have completed all the work contained in these proposals.
~ Chair: Pakistan next, then we'll spend the last 30 minutes on Item 13.
~ Pakistan: In our view, there is currently not a development orientation in the delivery of technical assistance. Though we've appreciate the assistance they've always gotten, there are gaps. The GFoD proposal addresses these gaps.
Second, would basically like to disagree with punting to PCIPD for two reasons. First, the PCIPD is currently structured towards maximizing IP. Second, having a development agenda for the entirety of WIPO has been handed to the IIM. Passing the buck is not the way to deal with it.
On technical assistance, note that the GFoD proposal would facilitate foundational studies on whether or not it is working.
~ Trinidad & Tobago: Suggests going through each proposal - if not at this meeting then the next - and say where there is misunderstanding in the way proposals are phrased. We perhaps we can discuss these proposals substantively. Then we can effectively try to achieve some method of consensus.
~ Mexico: The delegate from Trinidad & Tobago and I are in agreement. In fact, I was just going to submit this method of proceeding.
We all know that every topic in front of this body is very complex. Tomorrow, we will have to submit a report that says we had a general discussion of these points, but we were unable to reach consensus on any of them.
It seems to me that we should not lose sight that there is a link between IP and technological policy. This is found in items 2,3, and 4.
~ Nigeria: We are discussing the issue of technical assistance. We need to discuss what constitutes technical assistance. Would the provision of one or two computers be considered technical asssitance? Would a lecture tour from a developed country to a developing country be considered technical assistance. Should technical assistance be advanced to further strengthen enforcement measures or should it be used to help countries to develop their latent potential.
The US proposal is predicated upon on the assumption that ICT facilities exist on an equal footing in all countries. This is not the case.
There is an initiative put forth by the African Group on the Digital Solidarity Fund to bridge the digital divide. Perhaps the US could help to fund this.
~ Brazil: We would like to make a procedural remark. We thought we were at the stage where we could discuss substance. We are a little concerned by remarks made by some that the IIM is not the appropriate forum in which to address certain proposals such as the GFoD principles and guidelines for the development and implementation of technical assistance. We have a clear mandate from the General Assembly to consider these substantive proposals. This is the forum tasked to discuss these principles and guidelines. We take notice the constructive proposal put forth by Trinidad & Tobago. We note that the UK has suggested that PCIPD be the forum for this discussion. The GFoD has already responded in IIM/1/4 stating clearly that they object to this approach. The IIM has a mandate from the General Assembly and we should have substantive discussions on the proposals and not discuss whether this is the appropriate forum or not.
~ Colombia: Regarding the action-oriented proposals list: for us, it is important to distinguish a process of decisionmaking from the execution of those decisions. We think that the proper body for the former is certainly the IIM, not the PCIPD. Perhaps the PCIPD could be given a mandate to implement the decisions that are made. We think it is very important to separate these aspects.
The principles and guidelines in the GFoD document are quite clear. It is difficult to apply technical assistance to implement the Millennium Declaration Goals vis a vis IP.
Finally, regarding continuous evaluation, the assembly must make provisions for ongoing monitoring, and that activity could fall to the PCIPD.
Don't believe that there needs to be a timeline on these proposals. It's hard to understand how one could come to a conclusion on these issues by the end of the next meeting, and instead we could come to the general assembly with a report that relies on more work for execution.
~ Argentina: We want to refer to the statements we have just heard and specifically on what the delegate from Colombia just said on a methodology.
That might be useful. The only way to reach an agreement is this one, and it's the only way that we can find consensus.
Would like to refer to the concerns expressed by the US regarding the principles and guidlines. It is true that we have different philosphical concerns, but that's no reason to condemn them. In fact, they could be made even more broad & encompassing. We don't understand the actual problem with these guidelines.
~ India: We recognize that we have difficulties on several levels.
We reviewed Para 66 IIM/1/4 and we find that it would be locate to find anything that could possibly be objectionable. We are confused that the US would single para 66 as a "problem" paragraph.
A second problem we find is that these proposals that claim this should be taken up in other committees. There is a perception that the IIM is a "general committee". We thought this would be more akin to a reform process that is taking place in the UN. This would be akin to "disbanding" the UN reform committee which did not actually take place. There is a lack of the development dimension in the work of this organization. There is a huge lacuna in this respect over the 30 years of this organization's history.
We saw the IIM process as a mini-reform process that mirrors the UN reform process taking place in New York.
~ United States: Cites the paras where he has concerns. As for para 66, that was one that he cited where they *do* overlap. There must have been a misunderstanding.
~ Mexico: When I read paragraph 66, it raises a few thoughts. Generally, when WIPO provides assistance, it has been solicited by the host country. But when I read para 66, I think there is a misunderstanding. I would like to understand from the GFoD what it means to "gurantee that the level of technology matches the level of development." It may interact badly with TRIPs.
[TB: The TRIPS Agreement provided transition periods for developing countries and LDCs with respect to the implementation of the Agreement. Paragraph 7 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement states that "least-developed country Members will not be obliged, with respect to pharmaceutical products, to implement or apply Sections 5 and 7 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement or to enforce rights provided for under these Sections until 1 January 2016, without prejudice to the right of least-developed country Members to seek other extensions of the transition periods as provded for in Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement".]
~ Chair: He's satisfied that we're on to the substantive issues, but thinks we're not moving fast enough. What he would like is for each delegation with a proposal or point of view to explain their reasoning & allow us to come together. He wanted to avoid this "game of ping pong," where delegations are constantly asking for the floor to rebut or clarify even minor points. Instead, would have preferred to have each delegation with a proposal present their views.
~ Colombia: What will the procedure be from today through tomorrow? Which proposals will we cover tomorrow so that we can do homework tonight?
~ Chair: Would like to discuss Item 13, not sure where to go from there. Tonight will develop some connections, then proceed one-by-one by selecting related issues.