Abstract Just a few years following the coming into force of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreements, the risks they posed to human health and food security became self-evident. This problem has been acknowledged by the WTO in the Doha Declaration, by other United Nations Organs and commentators. Joined at the hip the WTO and TRIPS system, as implemented, seems to have aggravated the severe and debilitating disease burden and food insecurity of many of its member developing countries that existed prior to TRIPS. Although the WTO and its Council on TRIPS have recognized the problem their response hardly matches the gravity of the circumstances confronted. The solutions relied on are mostly textual analysis and interpretative devices designed to exploit the so-called internal flexibilities embedded within TRIPS. Little attention has been paid to exploring the source of the problem which appears to be within the structure, the operating premises supporting the constitutive architecture of TRIPS and the linkage of the right to trade in all goods and services to the protection of foreign intellectual property rights. The risks to health and food security appear to have their nesting conditions and roots deep in some structural flaws of the WTO and TRIPS as a system. The marriage of two complex international systems demanded the prior investigation of two critical questions. First, whether under international law there is a fundamental right of states to trade. Second, whether an idea however formed or expressed has an unmistakable and undeniable national or territorial origin such that the right to trade in all goods and services must be conditioned on its protection. This work seeks to reframe the analysis and discussion of the risks posed by the WTO and TRIPS to human health and food security by examining these foundational premises and suggesting solutions that go to the heart of the problem. Given the indisputable link between technology and economic development, the history of advancement of human society across regions, and its link to human health and food security, we argue that the WTO and TRIPS should be delinked and TRIPS reconstructed as a separate system. A reconstruction of TRIPS would give the global community the opportunity to adopt a more balanced system with greater sensitivity to the evident cultural diversity, and the needs of all countries in achieving economic development, health and food security taking into account the history of ideas in the evolution of humanity as a species.
- World Trade Organization,
- Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property,
- Human Health,
- Food Security,
- Right to Trade
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kojo_yelpaala/3/