A comprehensive study on promoting awareness on the role of Intellectual Property (IP) in promoting tourism-related economic activities and culture of the country is nearing finalization in consultation with the national steering committee chaired by Secretary Ministry of Tourism and WIPO experts.
Last year, Sri Lanka was selected as one of four pilot countries - the others being Ecuador, Egypt and Namibia for this WIPO pilot project on ‘Intellectual property, tourism and culture’.
Addressing the 19th session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) held at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on May 15, Dilini Gunasekera, Second Secretary of the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission in Geneva who outlined the progress achieved said, as a part of future activities under this project, Sri Lanka looks forward to contributing to the development of teaching materials on IP related to tourism and promoting the inclusion of specialized curricula in tourism management schools and in national IP academies. Areas such as Ayurveda, eco-tourism and agro-tourism may be considered for further cooperation through this project.
She said, Marcelo Di Pietro, Director of Special Projects and South Corporation Division of WIPO who visited Sri Lanka last week to assess the progress achieved in implementing this project, held discussions with Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga, the Ministry Secretary, senior officials of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) which is the coordinating agency and other stakeholders from the private sector.
Di Pietro also met the stakeholders of the tourist industry and undertook several field visits to Wadduwa, Hikkaduwa, Ambalangoda and Gannoruva Agro-tourism Park in Kandy in order to have a first-hand account of the potential use of IP system in promoting tourism and culture in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka also took note of the continued progress achieved in the implementation and mainstreaming the Development Agenda within WIPO’s work and welcomed the initiative taken by the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) to continue discussions on the SDGs and the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda.
On ‘Mapping of South-South cooperation activities within the WIPO’, the Sri Lanka statement highlighted WIPO’s support to activities carried out by the Group of Fifteen (G-15) currently chaired by Sri Lanka to promote South-South cooperation in the field of intellectual property.
It was noted that two international seminars were held in Algeria in April 2016 and in Colombo in April 2017, which contributed to enhance capacities and transfer expertise among the G-15 member countries, in the realm on IP rights associated with traditional knowledge.
The G-15 workshop held in Colombo from 24-25 April was followed by a national workshop on Traditional Knowledge (TK) on 27-28 April, where a draft national policy on TK and TCEs was discussed among national stakeholders with the contribution of WIPO experts.
Gunasekera added that inelik Getahun, Assistant Director General of the Global Issues Sector of WIPO inaugurated the Colombo workshops, and that his visit was the first since WIPO Director General Dr. Francis Gurry visited Sri Lanka in November 2013, when a ‘10 Point Action Plan for GOSL-WIPO Cooperation’ was embarked upon.
During his visit, Getahun also held meetings with Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen and Secretary/Foreign Affairs where further fine-tuning of WIPO – Sri Lanka cooperation was discussed.