A Tale of Two Development Agendas

109 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2009 Last revised: 17 Oct 2011

See all articles by Peter K. Yu

Peter K. Yu

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: February 26, 2009


In October 2004, Argentina and Brazil introduced a proposal to establish the WIPO Development Agenda. Although scholars have focused primarily on this agenda, as well as the WTO Doha Development Agenda, development agendas have also been established at other international fora, such as those governing public health, human rights, biological diversity, food and agriculture, and information and communications. Interestingly, these development agendas bear strong resemblances to another set of development agendas less developed countries advanced in the 1960s and 1970s. Bringing together these two sets of development agendas, this article examines whether the present agenda can avoid the path of its ill-fated predecessor.

Delivered as the opening lecture of the Dean's Lecture Series, this article begins by tracing the development of the Old Development Agenda. It discusses the drafting of the Stockholm Protocol, the formation of WIPO as a U.N. specialized agency, the establishment of the draft International Code of Conduct on the Transfer of Technology, and the revision of the Paris Convention. The article then examines the different new development agendas recently established at the WTO, WIPO, and other international fora.

The article concludes with six brief observations concerning the similarities and differences between the Old and New Development Agendas -- with a focus on the various players, fora, and issues involved in the two agendas, the changing political environment surrounding the development of the New Development Agenda, the growing public awareness of intellectual property issues in the past decade, and the emergence of new ideas, concepts, and rhetorical frames that have been used to boost the New Agenda.

This article suggests that significant differences exist between the Old and New Development Agendas and that these differences may provide hope for greater economic, social, cultural, and technological development in the less developed world. It nevertheless cautions that, if this hope is to be realized, less developed countries and their supporters need to take the New Development Agenda seriously and mobilize before they lose their momentum.

Suggested Citation

Yu, Peter K., A Tale of Two Development Agendas (February 26, 2009). Ohio Northern University Law Review, Vol. 34, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1349967

Peter K. Yu (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

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United States

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