[Ip-health] EIFL makes a plea in support of LDCs - letter to Chair of TRIPS Council

Sangeeta Shashikant ssangeeta at myjaring.net
Tue May 21 03:29:21 PDT 2013

On 21/05/2013 11:22, "Teresa Hackett" <teresa.hackett at EIFL.NET> wrote:

>20 May 2013
>Letter to the Chair of the Council on Trade Related Intellectual
>Property Rights (TRIPS): Alfredo Suescum, Ambassador of Panama to the
>World Trade Organization (WTO)
>Dear Ambassador Suescum,
>Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) is an international
>not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling access to knowledge
>through libraries in more than 60 developing and transition
>countries,nincluding ten Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
>We wish to express our concern at the conduct of the informal
>consultations taking place in Geneva regarding the request by LDCs for
>an unconditional extension of the transition period of the WTO TRIPS
>We fail to understand why the legitimate request by LDCs is subjected
>to consultations that appear to be aimed at forcing LDCs to accept
>conditions that will result in a dilution of their
>unconditionalnrequest. Article 66.1 clearly affirms the mandate of the
>TRIPS Council into accord extensions of the  transition period upon
>receipt of a dulynmotivated request, thus recognizing the special
>requirements of LDCs and their need for policy flexibility.
>We deplore any exclusion of developing countries (that gave widespread
>support to the LDC request at the TRIPS Council meeting on 5-6 March
>2013)1 from the consultations, a tactic that we believe serves to
>undermine the negotiating capacity of LDC members who represent the
>poorest and weakest segment of the international community, and who
>face serious financial and administrative constraints2.
>LDCs are requesting the freedom to tailor their IP systems until they
>graduate from LDC status in order to be able to grow economically
>viable industrial and technological sectors. While the goal is to
>halve the number of LDCs in the next 10 years, a study measuring
>Multidimensional Poverty - an index created in collaboration with
>UNDP¹s Human Development Report - illustrates the diversity of
>deprivations in health, education and living standards that face
>people in poor countries. For example if Nepal, Rwanda and Bangladesh
>continue progress at the current rate, multidimensional poverty will
>be halved in less than 10 years3 and eradicated in 20. In Ethiopia, an
>estimated 45 years is needed to halve multidimensional poverty; in
>other words, to achieve poverty levels equivalent to those Nigeria has
>now, and it will take Malawi 74 years to eradicate acute poverty as
>measured by the index.4
>Such findings provide incontrovertible evidence of the need for the
>request, as expressed in the statement of the government of Malawi
>that it is not ready to implement the TRIPS Agreement. Ministry of
>Industry and Trade spokesperson, Wiskes Nkombezi, however ³hoped the
>plea by LDCs for the extension of the waiver will be heeded and that
>rich countries, who are proponents of stringent adherence to the WTO
>Trips agreement will understand the economic and social environment
>compelling LDCs to seek these waivers².5
>The findings are also a stark reminder, if one were needed, that the
>granting of a waiver for a limited time period, such as five years, is
>wholly unrealistic and amounts to a ratcheting up of pressure on LDCs
>to adopt TRIPS under the guise of being a development-friendly
>We strongly believe that LDCs must not be forced to adopt higher TRIPS
>standards of protection, such as for databases and the three-step
>test. LDCs should not have to take on costly obligations with regard
>to enforcement measures, such as the establishment of new criminal
>procedures and border controls. Instead scarce resources should be
>used to develop essential services, including investment in education
>and well-resourced libraries providing access to knowledge,
>acknowledged by the World Bank as a major factor in development6 .
>As you may know, the LDC request has received wide-ranging support
>including from Members of Congress of the United States7, UN
>agencies8,, legal academics9, industry10, and civil society11, many of
>whom are dismayed at developments. We expect that the rules of the WTO
>and the rights of its members are fully upheld. As Chair of the
>Council on TRIPS, we look to your leadership to ensure that
>consultations are conducted in a spirit of fairness and equity. We
>believe that LDCs deserve no less from the rest of the international
>Yours sincerely
>Teresa Hackett
>Programme Manager EIFL-IP (Copyright and Libraries)
>2 Communication from Haiti on behalf of the LDC Group of 5 November
>2012 (IP/C/W/583)
>3 The Guardian, 6 May 2011 http://bit.ly/lUHom0
>4 Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI)
>5 Nation Online, 20 May 2013
>6 http://bit.ly/gMzoHl
>8 UNDP/UNAIDS http://bit.ly/Z4m4Hf
>9 http://infojustice.org/archives/29370#more-29370
>10  http://www.ccianet.org/index.asp?sid=5&artid=363&evtflg=False
>11  http://bit.ly/Za3QcA

More information about the Ip-health mailing list