Background Information on the WIPO Development Agenda

Development Agenda in 2004


Led by Brazil and Argentina (and the Group of Friends of Development), developing nations issued a strong call for reform at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and adopted a “Development Agenda” in an effort to replace WIPO’s mission of automatically increasing intellectual property rights to the detriment of developing nations.  The WIPO General Assembly originally adopted the resolution for a “Development Agenda” at its Fall 2004 annual meeting.  (English, Spanish, French).


The resolution from the WIPO Member States came at the same time as a growing global civil society movement issued a statement called "The Geneva Declaration on the Future of WIPO".


After the 2004 General Assembly resolved to pass a Development Agenda at WIPO, opponents of reform were able to prevent any progress from being made for two years by tying up discussions in inter-sessional meetings where one or two hold-out nations (such as the US) could veto any substantive recommendations from moving forward.  Finally, at the 2007 General Assembly, WIPO Member States were able to vote for substantive reform proposals and discussion is underway at WIPO in 2008 to adopt a Development Agenda.


Development Agenda in 2005


WIPO held three Inter-sessional Intergovernmental Meetings on the Development Agenda in April, June and July 2005.  IP Justice participated at these meetings, gave several intervention statements, and delivered a Group NGO Statement, in which 138 public-interest groups indicated support for the Friends of Development Proposal and reform at WIPO.


At the 2005 WIPO General Assembly (26 Sept. – 5 Oct. 2005), the Member States agreed to “constitute a provisional committee to take forward the Intergovernmental Inter-sessional Meeting (IIM) process to accelerate and complete discussions” on the WIPO Development Agenda.  Despite opposition from the US and Europe, Member States reached consensus during informal consultations to allow the Development Agenda to continue in the IIM process. Here is the text of the GA agreement.


Development Agenda in 2006


IP Justice participated at both meetings of the Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda in February and June 2006.


The 2006 WIPO General Assembly decided to continue discussions in the existing Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda (PCDA). The PCDA was to report to the 2007 General Assembly, with recommendations for action on the agreed proposals, and on a framework for continuing to address the other proposals.


Development Agenda in 2007


The 2007 General Assembly was finally given and passed substantive reform proposals to establish a Development Agenda for WIPO.   The agenda was based on 45 recommendations on issues related to technical assistance, access to knowledge, evaluation and impact studies, governance, etc. Member Nations have also authorized a new WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP).  The new committee will focus on implementing the adopted recommendations, monitoring and reporting on the implementation of all recommendations adopted, coordinating with relevant bodies, and discussing IP and development issues affecting member nations. 

The Recommendations to the 2007 WIPO General Assembly:

21 recommendations, as listed in Annex B, were adopted at the June 15, 2007 closed door meeting of the WIPO member nations.  24 recommendations, as listed in Annex A, were adopted at the meeting held on February 24, 2007. Member nations agreed to also hold a one day meeting in September to further refine these recommendations before submitting them at the WIPO General Assembly in September 2007.  The 43rd Assembly of Member States met from 4 September – 3 October 2007 at WIPO headquarters in Geneva and passed the 45 recommendations. 


Of those 45 recommendations, 19 proposals are slated to be implemented first (those recommendations with little financial or human resource cost).  See IP Watch’s coverage of the 43rd General Assembly’s decision on the WIPO Development Agenda.


Development Agenda in 2008


The first meeting of the Committee on Development and IP (CDIP) will be held at WIPO in Geneva from 3-6 March 2006.  Here is the meeting’s agenda.  


For more information, keep an eye on IP Justice’s main WIPO Development Agenda webpage, collection of DA-related documents and Access to Knowledge (A2K) campaign.