[Ip-health] Statement of Brazil to the 48th General Assembly of WIPO, September 2010

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Sep 21 14:41:41 PDT 2010


The Permanent Representative of Brazil, Roberto Azevedo, delivered the  
following statement to the 48th session of the WIPO General Assembly.  
The intervention was delivered in Portuguese; below is the English  



Statement Delivered by the Permanent Representative of Brazil,  
Ambassador Roberto Azevedo

Mr. Chairman,

Let me start by congratulating you on the excellent job you have been  
doing in conducting the work of WIPO's General Assembly.

Let me also extend my thanks and appreciation for the Director-General  
Francis Gurry, and, through him, for all the work undertaken by all  
members of the Secretariat of WIPO.

Last year was the first time that I addressed the General Assembly in  
the capacity of Brazil's Permanent Representative. On that occasion, I  
voiced my conviction that it would be in the interest of all member  
States to preserve the role of WIPO as the key multilateral body in  
charge of setting rules and principles on intellectual property matters.

By reiterating the same message today, I cannot fail to observe that  
the institutional strengthening of WIPO has gained even more momentum  
and relevance since then. A multilateral agency of the UN system, a  
forum that gathers around 140 countries, an organization whose  
deliberations are increasingly more transparent, with an active  
participation by representatives of both the private sector and civil  
society, WIPO can count on the indispensable credentials of  
legitimacy, "expertise" and inclusion to take a leading role in the  
debates on the evolution of the international system of intellectual  

Legitimacy, "expertise" and a culture of inclusion are pre-requisites  
for ensuring the effectiveness of any new international rule. Without  
those three elements, these norms will not be applicable to, nor  
enforced in relevant economic spaces that today constitute the dynamic  
centre of the world economy.

That is why all member States should strive to maintain WIPO at the  
centre of intellectual property "rule making". This would also entail  
agreeing on intergovernmental mandates to the complex talks under way  
in different fora on the interplay between intellectual property, on  
the one hand, and public health, climate change and food security, on  
the other.

Mr. Chairman,

The approval of the Development Agenda in 2007 was aimed at extending  
the benefits of the intellectual property system to all countries,  
especially those that are still to reap fully the promised benefits of  
the system. Countries in that country, it is worth recalling, are not  
limited to developing ones.

The Development Agenda has added a new dimension to this Organization  
that calls for empirical learning methods and flexible implementation  
methodologies, in addition to budgetary resources commensurate with  
its importance.

The Development Agenda demands furthermore a change in WIPO's  
organizational culture, a change that must also be extended to the  
atmosphere in which intergovernmental negotiating processes take  
place. It is necessary to leave behind defensive postures that are  
associated with mutual mistrust. The Development Agenda is meant to  
fill an important void in the system of intellectual property, bring  
to it a higher balance.

WIPO provides rights holders as well as member countries with relevant  
services. But the role of WIPO is not limited to that of a provider of  
services. An agency of the UN system must comply with the wider goals  
of the United Nations, in particular the promotion of development and  
of the millennium development goals.

Those wider goals are the cornerstone of the creation, earlier this  
year, of the Development Agenda Group (DAG), of which Brazil is one of  
the founding members. The DAG will be coordinated by Brazil after the  
General Assembly.

In around five months, the DAG has consolidated itself as an open  
grouping of countries, willing to engage in dialogue as wells as  
capable of promoting consensus on matters that have positioned  
development as a key component in this Organization.

Mr. President,

Changes of such magnitude and depth require time and willingness to  
take root.

We are fully aware that a lot remains to be done. Yet, some  
developments that have taken place over the past 12 months may be  
taken as an indication that we are on the right track.

We have managed to approve, within the CDIP, a mechanism for  
coordination, monitoring and assessment of the implementation of the  
Development Agenda.

We have also reached tangible progress in the process of reform and  
improvement of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

We have deepened and accelerated, at the IGC, the negotiating process  
of one or more legal instruments aimed at the protection of genetic  
resources, traditional knowledge, and folklore.

We have developed the concept of respect for intellectual property.  
That concept implies a broader and more complex approach to dealing  
with enforcement-related issues.

We have intensified, at the SCCR, the process of talks that may lead  
to the resumption of negotiations of a treaty for the protection of  
audio-visual performances, as well as of the debate on exceptions and  
limitations on copyrights.

Within that context, as is well known, Brazil along with Ecuador,  
Mexico and Paraguay, - and backed by a significant number of countries  
representing a broad array of social realities - has been working  
towards the recognition of the effective and socially binding  
solutions to improve access to knowledge for persons with print  

Our proposal must be seen against an international legal framework for  
copyrights that is deeply consolidated and tested in more than a  
century of effective implementation.

Furthermore, we have been working - the four countries sponsoring a  
draft treaty for copyright exceptions to visually impaired - in close  
coordination with NGOs with relevant and concrete experience in  
dealing with the everyday challenges faced by the visually impaired,  
in particular the World Blind Union.

Brazil remains optimistic about prospects for real negotiations on the  
matter, which will ultimately represent a test to gauge the capacity  
of WIPO to contribute to the strengthening of the UN values and to the  
realization of Millennium Development Goals.

We must work towards a true convergence of international governance in  
the fields of human rights and intellectual property, thereby giving  
concrete expressions to principles of coexistence that guides us while  
at the same time keeping our feet firmly on the ground.

We hope to be able to conclude, in as short as possible a time frame,  
a treaty at WIPO that might be what Stevie Wonder referred to  
yesterday, at the opening session, as a "declaration of freedom" for  
the blind to the extent that it will allow for better access to  

Brazil will continue, in a nutshell, to be giving its substantive  
contribution, individually or together with other member countries,  
and in the different bodies and committees of WIPO, such as the  
Advisory Committee on Enforcement or the Standing Committee on  
Patents, where we have tabled written submissions over the past twelve  

Mr. Chairman,

In concluding, I would like to welcome the establishment, within the  
Secretariat, of units devoted to in-depth economic analysis and to the  
implementation of the Development Agenda, as part of the strategic  
realignment pursued by the Director General.

Brazil, like other countries that may be said to belong to that  
category of "late comers" to the knowledge economy, has a good deal to  
gain from an informed reflection on the impact of intellectual  
property on the different dimensions of development policies, based on  
sophisticated empirical evidence.

With that in mind, Brazil has hosted earlier this year a meeting of  
economists who are experts on intellectual property. The meeting was  
organized by WIPO and its chief economist, Carsten Fink.

Thank you.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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