“Viral hepatitis is an international public health challenge, comparable to other major communicable diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. Despite the significant burden it places on communities across all global regions, hepatitis has been largely ignored as a health and development priority until recently”. – WHO, Global Health Sector strategy on viral Hepatitis 2016-2021: Towards ending viral hepatitis
The concept of Farmers’ Rights recognized the role of farmers as custodians of biodiversity and helped to draw attention to the need to preserve practices that are essential for sustainable agriculture. This paper examines one particular aspect of such rights, perhaps the most controversial. It deals with the component of farmers’ rights referring to the use, exchange and sale of farm-saved seeds. Although that concept was initially introduced in 1989 with the aim of balancing the rights of farmers as breeders and of commercial plant breeders, a specific reference to the rights relating to seeds was only introduced upon the conclusion of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2001.
The Need to Avoid “TRIPS-Plus” Patent Clauses in Trade Agreements
A recent article in a prestigious journal reminds us of how the intellectual property chapter of free trade agreements can prevent the sick from getting treatment. This article also critiques the TPP clauses and warns that they should not be translated to national laws or copied into other FTAs being negotiated. (more…)
This paper discusses the current negotiation issues in the context of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the position the African Group has taken in these negotiations. (more…)
Mitigating the Regulatory Constraints Imposed by Intellectual Property Rules under Free Trade Agreements
IP provisions in FTAs may have implications on a wide range of public policy areas. A vast academic literature has addressed the “flexibilities” available under the TRIPS Agreement and the negative impact of FTAs in relation to access to medicines. (more…)
South Centre Statement on the Amendment to the WTO TRIPS Agreement to Ease Access to Affordable Medicine
An amendment to the TRIPS Agreement that aims to facilitate the access to affordable medicines has entered into force upon approval by two thirds of the WTO members. The amendment reflects the recognition by WTO Members of the need for the continued enhancement of global intellectual property rules to allow Members to systematically take measures to protect public health.
South Centre Statement to the WIPO Assemblies 2016
The statement highlights that the greatest challenge for developing countries and LDCs in the area of intellectual property (IP) is the proliferation of regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements that impose IP obligations, together with the coercive external political and economic pressure to restrain from making use of the flexibilities in the IP system.
Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance: Challenges for Developing Countries
On 21 September 2016, a High Level Meeting was held on antimicrobial resistance at the sides of the United Nations General Assembly. It was followed by the adoption of a political declaration. This declaration paves the way for new coordinated actions on antimicrobial resistance backed by higher political commitment, on the basis of the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (GAP) of the World Health Organization (WHO). (more…)
Innovation and the Global Expansion of Intellectual Property Rights: Unfulfilled Promises
The incorporation of intellectual property into trade agreements has not proven to bring about the promised benefits. The premises that have underpinned the global strengthening and expansion of intellectual property through such agreements – namely that the same standards of protection are suitable for countries with different levels of development and that innovation will be boosted – do not match the reality. (more…)
The boundaries between scientific and technological knowledge are nebulous in some technical fields, such as the biological sciences and their applications. This has led to the appropriation under patents of knowledge (such as on specific genes) of scientific nature, which may not only have negative effects for the further development of science and new technological contributions, but also encroach on the fundamental right of access to science. (more…)