September 30, 2004
40th Series of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO
Item 12: Proposal for the establishment of a Development Agenda for WIPO
Statement by the Delegation of Brazil
I take the floor on the behalf of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Iran, Kenya, Sierra Leone, South Africa,
Tanzania and Venezuela to say a few introductory words regarding our
Proposal for the Establishment of a Development Agenda for WIPO,
contained in document WO/GA/31/11. We would like to delve on, in
particular, the objectives and content of the Proposal.
At the dawn of a new Millennium, Development undoubtedly remains one of
the most daunting challenges facing the international community. This
has been widely acknowledged at the highest level in various
international fora. Finding solutions to the concerns and problems
facing developing countries and LDCs is an overriding concern of the
international community, as clearly attested by the adoption by the
United Nations of the Millennium Development Goals.
As a specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO must be guided in
all its activities by the broader development-related commitments and
resolutions of the UN system.
IP is not an end in itself. And it certainly must not be seen as such in
an institution such as WIPO, a Member of the UN family. If Development
is an overriding concern and goal of the UN system, then one is obliged
to ensure that the intellectual property system, of which WIPO is a
central part, effectively operates in a manner supportive of that goal.
Integration of the "development dimension" into all WIPO activities is
therefore of the essence.
In other international fora addressing intellectual property matters,
the "development dimension" of intellectual property has already
received increased recognition. In this regard, we wish to recall, in
particular the landmark adoption of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS
Agreement and Public Health at the 4th Ministerial Conference of the
World Trade Organization. Similarly, development-related concerns with
regard to the issue of intellectual property have been raised and are
currently being addressed in fora such as the World Health Organization
and the UN Human Rights Committee. The Sao Paulo Consensus, moreover,
which was adopted by UNCTAD XI, enshrined the important concept of
"policy space". This concept is particularly relevant to the
intellectual property sphere, where the very distinct stages of
industrial and technological development of different countries call for
distinct strategies and approaches.
The time has now come for WIPO, as a specialized UN agency, to make a
systematic contribution to this broad discussion and to begin a process
of fully integrating the development dimension into all of its work. The
Development Agenda is meant to be a positive agenda, not a negative one.
That is the spirit within which we have tabled this Proposal.
Our Proposal is a broad and horizontal one and addresses WIPO's work in
all its dimensions. Its general relevance is, therefore, certainly not
to be limited to any specific subsidiary body within WIPO. All WIPO
bodies and activities should clearly integrate the "development
dimension" into their work. The Proposal also suggests that WIPO should
pay more heed to other issues, such as the transfer of technology and
the curbing of anti-competitive practices.
In tabling this Proposal, it has not been our intention to reverse WIPO'
s work or introduce divisive issues for the Membership. IP issues are
difficult, because they are complex. But they are of relevance to all
countries, rich and poor. Likewise, Development represents a shared
objective of the international community at large. Nor has it been our
intent to criticize WIPO’s work on technical cooperation, which is of
great importance for developing countries, particularly the least
developed ones. We fully support these activities and would like to see
them expanded in accordance with the specific requirements and needs of
each country, in line with the principles and objectives set forth in
section VII of our document.
Our main purpose in tabling this Proposal has been to reestablish WIPO's
central mission and goal as a UN specialized agency, which, in
accordance with the terms of its Agreement with the UN, are to "promote
creative intellectual activity" and the "transfer of technology to
developing countries". By proposing to readjust WIPO' s course, we wish
to ensure the effective and proper realization of that central mission.
The development agenda is not only in the interest of developing
countries, it is essentially a global interest, in fact it is the most
important global requirement, one which irradiates positively on all
other agendas. An adequate and balanced system of intellectual property
for our time, one that promotes innovation, creativity and the wide
dissemination of knowledge, is inclusive of all peoples and fully
services the public interest, is of crucial importance to peoples both
in the developed and developing worlds. It would therefore be erroneous
to see the establishment of a Development Agenda for WIPO as an attempt
to polarize debate in this institution.
We recall, in this regard, the recently launched Geneva Declaration on
the Future of WIPO, which bas been signed by a broad cross-section of
over 500 individuals affiliated with public interest non-governmental
organizations, well-known Academics, including Nobel Prize laureates,
inventors and authors, and public libraries, the majority of which are
from developed countries. This inspiring Declaration, which has brought
to the diplomatic halls of Geneva the powerful voice of civil society
and its concerns and aspirations in respect of the evolution of the
intellectual property system and of WIPO, speaks eloquently about the
broad relevance of the Development Agenda: "The proposal for a
development agenda", it states, "has created the first real opportunity
to debate the future of WIPO. It is not only an agenda for developing
countries. It is an agenda for everyone, North and South. It must move
forward. All nations and peoples must join and expand the debate on the
future of WIPO."
We would point out, moreover, that yesterday, September 29th a group of
26 public interest NGOs issued a statement supporting our proposal for a
“WIPO Development Agenda”.
We see this, indeed, as the proposal of everyone. It is, in effect, in
the public domain. It is meant to speak to the concerns of everyone, or
at least to the concerns of all of us whose voices have not been
properly heard. In taking the initiative of tabling this Proposal, our
intention was to launch a process of debate, to which we hope all WIPO
Members will want to contribute. Though our Proposal contains many
ideas, it offers no definitive solutions. Because Development is a
shared commitment of the international community, incorporating the
"development dimension" in all WIPO activities should be a major concern
for us all. It is therefore our collective responsibility to ensure that
the Development Agenda moves forward. This debate is necessary for the
sake of WIPO, for its legitimacy and credibility as an institution. We
want to help it cater to the interests and concerns of all Member States
and all relevant stakeholders, including, in particular, civil society.
Given the breadth of the conceptual discussion we wish to have, our work
could also be enriched by drawing on the input from other relevant
international organizations that have done work related to the
“development dimension” of IP.
We look forward to the discussion in this General Assembly on the
Proposal to Establish a Development Agenda for WIPO, which we are
honored to have tabled.