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Bangkok, 4 July 2012 – Government representatives from Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam and representatives from the private sector held the first Regional Workshop on the Disposal of Counterfeit Goods for the Judiciary, Law Enforcement Officials and Environmental Officers organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in cooperation with the OzonAction Programme of the United Nations Environment Programme – Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP ROAP). Also invited were resource persons from UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC), WCO RILO A/P, WCO ROCB A/P, US Embassy in Thailand, IPR Business Partnership, New Zealand), and REACT from The Netherlands.
The two-day meeting raised awareness and built the capacity of governments on creating and implementing environmentally-friendly methods of disposal and destruction of counterfeit goods that may contain harmful substances and hazardous wastes such as ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and electronic wastes (e-wastes). In addition, the workshop further encouraged cooperation and collaboration between public and private sector to dispose of the said goods in an environmentally friendly way and provided an opportunity to exchange information on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
“This workshop is the first of its kind and is a start of an innovative and mutually supportive partnership that the two agencies - UNEP and WIPO - hope to cultivate in Asia towards our common interest for the protection of our people and their businesses and upmost for the care of our environment,” said Young-Woo Park, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP ROAP.
“While each country is responsible for ensuring sound management of waste, more national and international cooperation and additional efforts are required now more than ever to strengthen such capacities through partnerships, technical assistance and exchange of best practices and experiences,”
Dr. Park added.
The partnership between UNEP and WIPO at the Summit with the Private Sector on Trade in Ozone Depleting Substances, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in June 2011, afforded the two UN agencies a starting point for exploring the possibilities for collaboration in assisting with capacity-building programmes for Asia.
“It is our mandate to work with organisations and the private sector to combat counterfeiting and piracy through education, awareness raising, cooperation and information sharing. We share concerns with UNEP on possible environmental consequences regarding the disposal of IP infringing goods and look forward to further cooperate with UNEP in order to identify environmentally friendly solutions in this respect,” stated Louise Van Greunen, Director, Building Respect for Intellectual Property Division, WIPO.
Asia is a major source and destination of counterfeit goods like electronics, apparel, medicines and even chemicals like ODS, and a challenge faced often by governments is what to do with seized counterfeit goods. As governments have begun to phase out ODS under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the supply of these chemicals has become more restricted. Consequently, this has led to the illegal trade of ODS by mislabeling banned chemicals as alternatives.
The government of Thailand recognizes the importance of respecting intellectual property to build the confidence for creators, entrepreneurs, right owners, national and international investors and traders. In her speech at the opening of the meeting yesterday, Kulanee Issadisai, Deputy Director General of the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) of Thailand said, “As a consequence, the DIP and relevant agencies have destroyed 80,000 items of counterfeit and pirated goods worth approximately 182 million baht on 29 March 2012.”
The case of Thailand and other examples and experiences on destruction methods of counterfeit goods from both developed and developing countries were presented and discussed in the meeting. The experience of Nepal in the destruction project for seized chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) through voluntary carbon markets provides an opportunity for monetization of climate co-benefits associated with destruction of high ozone-depleting potential (ODP) and high global warming potential (GWP) gases, especially CFCs.