REPORT OF THE ACADEMIC FORUM OF THE FOURTH IBSA DIALOGUE PROCESS TO THE PLENARY SESSION
(1) The IBSA Academic Forum was held on April 12-13th 2010, in Brasilia. There were one hundred participants from the three countries. Twenty eight speakers presented research findings
(2) Other than academics and researchers, there was also participation from the relevant Ministries of the three IBSA countries. This facilitated a shared understanding on the areas where there is demand for policy relevant research across the IBSA process.
(3) The main message of the Forum is that there is capacity, willingness and ability to deliver collaborative research on a number of themes.
(4) It was agreed that collaborative research should deliver evidence-based substantive inputs that could feed into the overall dialogue process, including the policy deliberations between the leaders of the IBSA countries.
(5) The presence of the Heads of research institutions and think-tanks also facilitated agreement on the institutional arrangements for collaboration.
(6) The forum was able to agree a concrete work programme around the following themes:
. Social Development Strategies for Inclusive Growth
. Health innovations, intellectual property rights and Access tomessential drugs
. The role and Potential of IBSA as a Plurilateral arrangement
(7) The forum also identified
. Sustainable Development and the Climate Change Challenge;
. Macroeconomic policies for inclusive growth; and
. Food security and rural livelihoods;
as potential research areas on which a collaborative programme could be developed in the future.
The Forum agreed to the following substantive policy recommendations in the thematic areas on which discussions took place, which I am asked to place before the plenary:
Health Innovation, Intellectual property rights and Access to Essential drugs
(1) Co-operation between the patent offices in the IBSA countries, particularly to stop the awarding of frivolous patents and to prioritize access to essential medicines;
(2) Consultation between IBSA countries on bilateral processes including free-trade agreements, which may have adverse impacts on access to essential drugs in the other IBSA countries;
(3) Sharing information on cost effectiveness analyses undertaken by the three countries; and
(4) Collaboration in R&D especially on priority and neglected diseases.
Social Development Strategies for Inclusive Growth
(5) Building on the success of programmes like Bolsa Familia, CSG and NREGA, the countries should collaborate on designing a portfolio of policies to create and sustain a comprehensive social protection framework; and
(6) Support evidence-based research leading to improved policies to address unemployment, particularly youth unemployment.
IBSA as an effective plurilateral arrangement
(7) Rapid enhancement of development cooperation through the increase of resources available through the IBSA fund;
(8) Projects funded by the IBSA fund should be better documented and widely disseminated; and
(9) Expand support to priority areas of research with benefits beyond IBSA, to the Global South, facilitated by a Research Fund established by the IBSA countries as a trusteeship.