The World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) Intergovernmental Commission’s (IGC) negotiations on the draft text of an international legal instrument on the protection of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) continued from 13-17 July, 2012. The WIPO Secretariat announced that good progress was made on the definition of protectable TCEs, the identification of beneficiaries, and exceptions and limitations to the scope of protection. An informal expert group has been established to reduce the number of options in the text. The text will be shared with the WIPO General Assembly as a work in progress when it meets in October 2012. The General Assembly will consider the need for additional IGC meetings and decide whether to convene a Diplomatic Conference.
There is still no consensus on whether the negotiations will result in three separate instruments on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, or if there will be one combined instrument. There is also disagreement around the nature of the instrument(s), namely whether they will be legally binding or not.
While representatives of indigenous peoples were allocated a greater role in the discussions, they were not able to achieve the changes in the WIPO rules that they sought. The Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus released a closing statement expressing their disappointment that the IGC ‘has not substantive and concrete steps to ensure the full, equal, and direct participation of Indigenous Peoples in WIPO Processes that affect us.’