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PIB Summaries 01 June 2024

  1. Adoption of Treaty on Intellectual Property and Traditional Knowledge
  2. Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting


Context:

The Treaty on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, and Associated Traditional Knowledge was adopted at the Diplomatic Conference organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at its headquarters in Geneva.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

About World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Nature:

  • A specialized agency of the United Nations located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Established by the WIPO Convention in 1967.

Mission:

  • To lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that fosters innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.

Membership:

  • Comprises 193 member states.

Functions:

  • Provides a global policy forum where governments, intergovernmental organizations, industry groups, and civil society come together to address evolving IP issues.
  • Regular meetings of member states and observers in various standing committees and working groups to negotiate changes and new rules, ensuring the international IP system keeps pace with the changing world.
Key Points about the Treaty on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, and Associated Traditional Knowledge

Requirements:

  • When a patent application involves genetic resources, the applicant must disclose the country of origin or source.
  • If traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources is involved, the applicant must disclose the Indigenous Peoples or local community that provided it.

Genetic Resources:

  • Often utilized in patented inventions, such as medicinal plants and agricultural crops, though the resources themselves cannot be patented.

Implementation:

  • The Treaty will establish an international legal framework requiring patent applicants to disclose the origin of genetic resources and the associated traditional knowledge once ratified by 15 contracting parties.


Context:

India successfully concluded hosting of the 46th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM-46) and the 26th Committee on Environmental Protection (CEP-26) from May 20th to May 30th, 2024 in Kochi, Kerala.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Understanding the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM):

  • Purpose: The ATCM is an annual gathering of the original 12 parties to the Antarctic Treaty, along with other parties interested in Antarctic research.
  • Antarctic Treaty: Signed in 1959, the treaty designates Antarctica as a region devoted to peaceful activities, scientific collaboration, and environmental preservation.
  • Membership: Currently, 56 countries are party to the Antarctic Treaty, including India, which became a Consultative Party in 1983 and reaffirmed its commitment through the Antarctic Act in 2022.
  • Meeting Frequency: Initially held biennially from 1961 to 1994, the meetings have been annual since 1994.
  • 46th ATCM Agenda: The agenda includes discussions on sustainable management of Antarctica, policy, legal matters, biodiversity, inspections, data exchange, research, climate change, tourism, and awareness.
  • India’s Role: As a Consultative Party, India participates in decision-making alongside other Consultative Parties and has been conducting annual scientific expeditions to Antarctica since 1981.

Understanding the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP):

  • Establishment: Formed in 1991 under the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid Protocol).
  • Function: The CEP advises the ATCM on matters related to environmental protection and conservation in Antarctica.
  • Importance: Both the ATCM and CEP play crucial roles in safeguarding Antarctica’s delicate ecosystem and promoting scientific research in the region.
  • Annual Meetings: Convened under the Antarctic Treaty System, these meetings serve as platforms for addressing environmental, scientific, and governance issues in Antarctica.
  • 26th CEP Agenda: Focuses on evaluating the Antarctic environment, climate change responses, area protection, marine spatial protection, and biodiversity conservation.

June 2024
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