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Assessing the Needs for Financial and Technical Cooperation of Least Developed Countries in Implementing the TRIPS Agreement

National Stakeholder Consultations

Organised by ICTSD in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Sierra Leone and Saana Consulting
Freetown, Sierra Leone, 9 - 16 July 2007

Description | Agenda | Participants | Documentation

Description

The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), in cooperation with Saana Consulting and with the support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), has recently launched a project to undertake, upon request, needs assessment diagnostic studies in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) aimed at identifying their needs for financial and technical co-operation in the context of the implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which sets minimum substantive and procedural standards for intellectual property at a multilateral level.

According to the Decision of 29 November 2005, and for the purpose of facilitating targeted technical assistance and financial cooperation, LDCs are asked to provide the TRIPS Council with comprehensive information, preferably before 1 January 2008, as to their individual needs for assistance in implementing their TRIPS obligations.

As a contribution to this process, the project has provided technical support to undertake, upon request, a comprehensive diagnostic study and assessment of technical and financial assistance needs in LDCs. Sierra Leone and Uganda, upon their request, were selected as the first two pilot countries for the IP technical assistance needs assessment project. This needs assessment was undertaken in Freetown on 9 - 16 July 2007 by Saana Consulting and members of the ICTSD Programme on IP and Sustainable Development, in the context of Sierra Leone's ongoing IPR reform process under the 'Protecting IPRs Project', which began in 2005 with the Assistance of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

ICTSD with Saana Consulting organised a dialogue titled Improving Intellectual Property Technical Cooperation for Least Developed Countries to Facilitate the Implementation of the TRIPS Agreement in Geneva on 3 May for Geneva-based LDC missions to the WTO. The purpose of this meeting was to present their draft diagnostic toolkit, tailor-made to the needs of LDCs, explore challenges, options and further inputs for the needs assessment exercise and consider countries that would be interested in participating in the country needs assessment study. The project was also introduced at the LDC Group coordination meeting at the WTO where formal feedback on the project and the toolkit were received. All these consultations and comments have helped ICTSD to revise and improve current activities to LDC needs.*

Objectives of the Needs Assessment

The overall objective of the national needs assessment assignment is to help LDCs identify their technical and financial cooperation needs in light of the request by the TRIPS Council in its decision of 29 November 2005 and their obligation to implement the TRIPS Agreement by 1 July 2013.

The needs assessment included a national stakeholder dialogue which to introduce and explore the diagnostic study, gather information from stakeholders, facilitate identification of needs and present the approach to using the diagnostic toolkit developed by Saana Consulting for ICTSD.

The specific objective of the current needs assessment is to review the current status of the IPR and innovation reform process in Sierra Leone and to provide direct assistance for the next stage of detailed planning and implementation of the required legal and administrative reforms, together with a tailored program of capacity building and awareness raising for key stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society. In undertaking the needs assessment, the engagement of officials and ministers from government departments and agencies involved with IP-related policymaking, administration and regulation was essential in generating a successful outcome for the assignment. In addition, the participation of other stakeholders including businesses, academia, consumers and civil society was a great asset to generating a transparent and open assessment process.

* For more information, including the Diagnostic Toolkit for the assessment of the needs of LDCs for financial and technical cooperation for implementing the TRIPS Agreement, please visit the project webpage: http://www.iprsonline.org/ictsd/LDCneeds.htm

© ICTSD 2004 - Last Update: 05-Oct-2009