A CDIP Project titled “Intellectual Property, Tourism and Culture” was launched in Sri Lanka through a WIPO Mission undertaken from 2-6 May 2016. This Mission brought together the main stakeholders in the fields of IP, tourism and culture, and a National Steering Committee has been established for the project implementation at national level. In the framework of this Project, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has been appointed as the coordinating agency for the project implementation in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka on Wednesday ( 5 October 2016) became the 24th country to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, handed over the instrument of accession to the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Dr. Francis Gurry, during the ongoing 56th Series of Meetings of Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO, 3-11 October 2016 in Geneva.
More than 75 WIPO member states have signed the Treaty, which entered into force on 30 September 2016, 3 months following the ratification of the 20th country. The Marrakesh Treaty is envisaged to facilitate the availability of published works in accessible formats for the people who are blind, visually impaired, and print disabled. – such as Braille - through limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright right holders. The Treaty is also designed to provide assurances to authors and publishers that their published works will not be misused or distribution to anyone other than the intended beneficiaries.
The Director General of the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Dr. Francis Gurry, commended Sri Lanka for its achievements and concrete deliverables under the 10 Point GoSL-WIPO Intellectual Property Action Plan, which could serve as a good model for other countries similarly placed as Sri Lanka.
Dr. Gurry made these observations when Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Mr. T.M.K.B. Tennekoon met him on the sidelines of the 35th Session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) held from 25- 27 April 2016 in Geneva.
Sri Lanka has been selected as one of the four pilot countries to participate in a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Project titled “Intellectual Property, Tourism and Culture.” This Project will contribute to promoting awareness of the role of IP in Sri Lanka and supporting the tourism-related economic activities of the country. Further it will enhance the scope for utilizing IP for development in a new area, under the ongoing cooperation between WIPO and GOSL through a 10 Point Action Plan.
Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) communicating this decision to Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, has informed that this selection was made pursuant to Sri Lanka’s expression of interest and formal proposal submitted to WIPO to participate in this Project in August 2015. This is the first time Sri Lanka has been selected to participate as a pilot country for a Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) Project. WIPO officials will liaise with the relevant authorities of the Government of Sri Lanka to begin project implementation early in 2016.
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha addressed the 55th Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of Member States of WIPO on 5 October 2015 in Geneva.
Director General of the National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Geethanjali Ranawaka and Second Secretary Ms. Dilini Gunasekera also participated in this session.
The Director General of the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Dr. Francis Gurry, has assured support to the government's policy of orienting Sri Lanka towards a knowledge and innovation economy. Recalling his visit to Colombo in November 2013 when a 10 Point Action Plan was developed to strengthen IP related activity in the country and cooperation between Sri Lanka and the WIPO, Dr. Gurry commended the progress already made under this programme, and discussed modalities to further assist Sri Lanka.
Dr. Gurry made these observations when Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Mr. S.S. Miyanawala met him on the sidelines of the 15th Session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) held 20-24 April 2015. Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization Ambassador Nimal Karunatilake and Second Secretary Dilini Gunasekera were associated in the discussion.
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said Sri Lanka believes that the ‘10 Point Action Plan’ between the Government of Sri Lanka and WIPO could serve as a useful model for developing countries in upgrading their intellectual property protection regimes and delivering the benefits of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) to a broader spectrum of stakeholders.
Ambassador made this observation when he addressed the 54th Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of Member States of WIPO on 23rd September 2014 in Geneva. He noted as the coordinator of SAARC Countries for WIPO- SAARC Consultation Meeting earlier this month, Sri Lanka highlighted the need to enhance implementation of the Development Agenda through its activities and the importance of formulating targeted country plans to achieve the objectives of WIPO’s technical assistance. He also added that the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen mutual cooperation between WIPO and SAARC countries, expected to be considered during the upcoming Summit Meeting of SAARC Member States scheduled to be held in Kathmandu November this year, will further contribute to the development of IP regimes in our region.
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), has urged WIPO to play a greater role in promoting the understanding and adoption of Intellectual Property policies and laws in member countries, respecting their different levels of development. He said that “WIPO’S activities should be supportive of the development goals agreed with the UN System” and “Accordingly, WIPO should be required to play a proactive role to support national scientific and technological capability; foster access to knowledge and explore all possible mechanisms for innovation to effectively promote development".
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he delivered a joint statement at the 13th Session of Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at WIPO in Geneva on 19 May, 2014 on behalf of G-15, a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries comprising 17 member States - Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha has stressed the need for strong political will to overcome the differences among Member States in order to reach a timely conclusion of a legally binding international instrument to protect Genetic Resources (GRs), Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs). Ambassador Aryasinha said such an instrument would prevent the misappropriation of intellectual property relating to GR, TK and TCEs in a fair and balanced manner, and offer the necessary protection to the human and natural resources that would bring considerable benefits to the people of the developing world. He underlined the need to strike the right balance between the rights of creators and holders of GRTKF on the one hand, as well as the interests of users on the other.
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), has urged WIPO to take measures to promote South-South Cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property for Development. He said that “WIPO should act as a catalyst to increase triangular cooperation between developing countries and LDC’s, through initiatives to identify best practices in the use of intellectual property for, inter alia, technology transfer, public health, food security, and other global challenges in which intellectual property has an important role to play".
Addressing the 51st Session of the WIPO Assemblies on 23rd September 2013, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva observed that the innovations and the well-managed mechanisms for protection of intellectual property rights play a crucial role in enhancing the social and economic development of a nation.
As the world is looking beyond the year 2015 for way forward through a comprehensive development agenda, IP has a crucial role to play in enriching the lives of vulnerable sections of humanity and creating greater opportunities for growth and prosperity. Sri Lanka believes that IP is not only a tool for innovation and creativity but also an important catalyst for economic and social empowerment of a wide spectrum of people.
The Sri Lankan delegation, headed by Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, participated in the 50th series of meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Member States held 1-9 October 2012 at the WIPO in Geneva, with the participation of more than 180 countries. The comprehensive agenda and meeting schedule was accompanied by informal meetings that took place on the sidelines of the Assemblies. Sri Lanka was nominated as Asian Group Coordinator of the WIPO, at the commencement of the Assemblies. The Asian Group nomination comes at a significant moment with Sri Lanka playing a more visible role in the multilateral sphere after the ending of its 30 year long terrorist conflict.