IP Disputes in Medicine

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"Open Ended" IGWG Drafting Groups

by Ben Krohmal

The IGWG has just resolved that there will be "open ended" participation in the groups that will draft preliminary documents to come out at the end of this IGWG meeting, where open ended means "those who wish to participate may participate." No word yet on whether this includes NGO's or other non-member state delegations. The documents are expected to be "Elements of a Plan of Action" and "Elements of a Global Strategy."

Updated 11:30am EST:

South Africa asked if "those who wish to participate" includes everyone in the room. The Chair clarfied that his expectation had been that no NGO's would be included, that official experts could be included if requested by a member state, and that the European Commission would be included. However, he noted that there was little precedent on this issue, and that his suggestion was open to debate. South Africa, speaking on behalf of the AFRO region countries, responded by arguing that NGO's be able to participate in drafting groups upon the request of member states. Norway requested clarfication of the rules, and the Chair explained that WHO Constitution rule 86 gives the Chair the flexibility to include NGOs in drafting groups. The U.S. weighed in that NGO participation could be appropriate, assuming drafting groups would be responsible for distilling information and not negotiation. Kenya offered further support for the inclusion of NGOs, stating that NGOs' expertise is greatly needed by many of the member states. As the afternoon session ends, it appears that NGOs will be permitted to participate in the drafting groups.


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