A Tale of Two Development Agendas
109 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2009 Last revised: 8 May 2023
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 Development Agenda will follow 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 to the Berne Convention, 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 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 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 the significant differences between the Old and New Development Agendas 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 Agenda seriously and mobilize before they lose their momentum.
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