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Implementing WIPO’s Development Agenda

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Implementing the World Intellectual Property Agendais now available at IDRC’s Open Books.

Implementing the DA, edited by Jeremy De Beer, is a series of essays, emerging from the work of the EDGE network series about to develop concrete strategies for implementing the Development Agenda. Formally the Development Agenda is a series of 45 recommendations adopted by the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation in October 2007. These recommendations were adopted in an attempt to focus WIPO on its mandate as a United Nations agency to support development. Although its unlikely to be acknowledge in official pronouncements the adoption was also an attempt to restore confidence in the World Intellectual Property Organisation as a multilateral organisation which represents the interests of all its members, rather than a vehicle for rent seeking by a handful of multinational corporations based in the global North.

More broadly though, as de Beer points out in the introductory chapter the Development Agenda is far more than a the list of recommendations, it is an attempt to change the paradigm for intellectual property laws in the 21st century.

Essays examine how to define the DA, how the DA may take into account different levels of development, how the impact of the DA might be assessed, the governance and leadership of WIPO and the DA, how emerging economies interact with the DA. Eleven of the twelve essays approach the DA from a process perspective, how may it be implemented. One chapter, which I wrote, on Treaty Provisions on Minimum Exceptions and Limitations for Education takes a different approach, considering how on aspect of the Development Agenda might be concretely implemented by WIPO through an international agreement setting minimum exceptions and limitations for education. In so doing it draws on specific recommendations from the 45, shows how these relate to the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations, and makes a case for minimum international exceptions.

As a contributor I am very grateful to Jeremy de Beer for the work involved in bringing together a range of scholars, encouraging the conversation, and editing a timely and important book. Most importantly I hope that this book will contribute to implementation of the Development Agenda, because as Jeremy says in the opening chapter: “Implementation is the litmus test for the Development Agenda’s success”.