The Role of NGOs and Social Movements
Chapter 8: Reappraising Intellectual Property Rights and Development: The Role of NGOs and Social Movements
8. Reappraising intellectual property rights and development: the role of NGOs and social movements INTRODUCTION Since the TRIPS Agreement came into force there has been a rapid growth in the number of NGOs reappraising the relationship between intellectual property rights and development. International NGOs have been highlighting concerns about the impact of intellectual property rights on developing countries and engaging with intellectual property-related policy-making and norm-setting activities in multilateral institutions to an extent not seen previously. The issues covered by NGOs include a vast array of inter-related topics. In relation to public health and access to medicines, for instance, concerns have ranged from how best developing countries can utilize flexibilities contained in the TRIPS Agreement, to deliberations in the WHO about how best to improve R&D into neglected diseases. Similarly, NGOs have played an important role by contributing to the debate on policy-making and norm-setting activities of the TRIPS Council, UPOV, the FAO, the CBD-COP and the WIPO on access and ownership to plant varieties, genetic resources and traditional knowledge. The contribution of NGOs to the Development Agenda process of the WIPO is also worthy of particular note. This chapter explains how and why NGOs have been able to play such an important role in supporting the work of developing delegates to multilateral institutions. It then highlights the important role played by developing country NGOs. It also assesses current arrangements that multilateral institutions have for NGO engagement and explains the limits on what NGOs can hope to achieve. The...
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