Geographical indicator: FAO and the CSRS reinforce the capacities of the national institutions

FAO and the CSRS organized an institutional seminar of Promotion and Coordination of the Geographical indications Geographical ascriptions in Ivory Coast on the 8th and 9th of November 2017 on the site of the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS), in order to reinforce the capacities of the national institutions implied in the development of GI. In the Agreement on the Aspects of Property rights intellectual relating to the Trade (ADPIC), the geographical indication (GI) are defined as indications which serve to identify a product originating in the territory of a member, or a region or locality of this territory, whenever a quality, reputation or another given characteristic of the product can be allotted primarily to this geographic origin. Approximately 40 institutions participated in the seminar, including the Ministry for Agriculture, the Ministry for Trade, the Department of Industry, NGO’s, financial institutions, SME, Scientific Research centres, members of the press, technical and financial multilateral partners, co-operative groupings of farming and artisanal activities. After the words of welcome, the director general of the CSRS stressed that the CSRS is a research centre active in the domain of IGs and that there is existing expertise and interest in this domain. He then recommended that the CSRS and its institutional partners use recent results and those obtained during the workshop as starting point and to produce a plea to facilitate the commitments necessary to obtaining a shopping cart of goods that are IG ready to improve the wellness of the populations. Thereafter, a series of short opening speeches were held continuing for the two days. FAO has made available an online tool for analysing economic, social and environmental policies, directing towards the policies to be carried out aiming to be a guide throughout the process of implementation. It was also stated that GIs are recognized as rural development tools. For this purpose, it was announced that FAO is very active on the question of IGs in developing countries, in particular in Ivory Coast where it reinforces the capacities of the target actors and actors of support through research projects of characterization of the processes of manufacturing of ‘attiéké’, market studies of attiéké, missions of sensitizing and workshops of formation. Concerning the aspects of intellectual property, it was announced that recording remains the most common legal tool to define the circle of the legitimate users and to ensure the protection of the IG. The same strategy will be implemented on brand names by the sui generis systems and the laws. It was also stated that the recordings of IGs can be done in several systems, inter alia with the international level within the framework of WTO (APDIC) and/or the WIPO (Arrangement of Madrid, arrangement of Lisbon and records of Geneva), or at the African level, at the OAPI.  The procedure of recording proposes that the producers (or a representative grouping) recognize the characteristics of their product, define their strategy and formalize their specifications. Then, they are addressed to the National committee of IGs which validates their specifications and the committee seizes the OAPI which records and protects the name of the product. In terms of national potential for GI an inventory of 58 potential products of various origins (e.g. agriculture, silk, rafts and sauces) was established, and constitutes a selection of product candidates for a possible product characterization leading GI. The seminar ended with a round table discussion joined together as panellists the financial actors, the representatives of the engineering services of the administration and the co-operative groupings of attiéké and the artisanal products knowing the ODG fabric of Korhogo and the ODG baoulé Loincloth. It was recommended that the PAMPIG in its phase 2 is a great opportunity for the Ivory Coast, provided that all the internal obstacles with the professional bodies and the CMC (National committee of IGs and Marques Collectives) are raised in order to allow that products of the Ivory Coast know recordings of protection of their names within the framework this program.

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