WIPO Committee Set To Approve Reports On Budget, Construction, Personnel12/07/2006 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate.The powerful Programme and Budget Committee (PBC) of the World Intellectual Property Organization this week appears to be in agreement with WIPO management on several critical and previously contentious endeavours.At the sparsely attended first day of the 11-13 July PBC meeting, members appeared to generally agree with proposals from WIPO, according to participants. These proposals include plans for a large, new construction project, a mandated desk-to-desk review of organisation employees, and a demand by member states to insert themselves more fully into WIPO programme and budget planning.The PBC finished its work on 11 July, and plans to reconvene late on 13 July to give final approval to the documents.The CHF125 million ($101 million) construction project (excluding the cost of land) was approved by the October 2005 WIPO General Assembly, the annual meeting of members. It would consist of a five-floor administrative building with 560 workplaces, a cafeteria seating 320, and four basement levels with delivery, storage and parking.WIPO’s staff size grew significantly in the 1990s and many staff have been working from a variety of locations around Geneva at substantial rental costs. The ground was already broken for the new building adjacent to the existing headquarters, but had been held up for review until the 2005 General Assembly gave it the tentative go-ahead. This year, the WIPO Audit Committee has been examining the plans.Khalil Issa Othman, chair of the new WIPO Audit Committee, reported to the PBC on 11 July that his committee, in its two meetings this year, chose to assign an audit of the construction plans to an outside firm. The process of identifying who will be the external manager, or “pilot” of the project is ongoing, but it does not appear the audit will be completed before the 2006 General Assembly.WIPO projected that under the current timeframe the 26-month construction would begin in February 2008, and possibly be completed in April 2010. It had been anticipated to begin in April 2007 and completed in June 2009.The audit will determine if the building could be constructed within the budget proposed by WIPO, and identify any new regulations or practices. The Audit Committee also asked the WIPO secretariat to submit a new construction charter that includes clearer lines of authority and responsibility, and other management controls. A WIPO construction contract from the late 1990s came under legal scrutiny for possible problems.Desk-to-Desk Review May Begin in AutumnUnder concerns from the UN Joint Inspection Unit that hiring practices had gotten out of hand in the recent boom years at WIPO, the member states asked WIPO to have an external outfit conduct a “desk-to-desk” assessment of WIPO jobs. WIPO told the PBC that the review had not begun yet, mainly due to it waiting for the new Audit Committee to be set up and other procedural issues. WIPO has drafted terms of reference for the project, which is budgeted at CHF 500,000 ($405,000). The project is now being targeted for the 2008-2009 budget biennium, with a final report at the 2007 General Assembly, according to the WIPO report.One item in WIPO’s proposal that is expected to be taken out, according to one participant, is the suggestion that an external firm would have to “validate its understanding of the expected evolution of the world IP environment.” The apparently stricken pre-assessment proposal also called for ensuring “the effectiveness of the consultancy work through an understanding of WIPO’s position by gauging the alignment of WIPO’s business processes, technology, organizational architecture, culture, and leadership capabilities with the strategic goals and objectives of WIPO as defined by WIPO member states.”This proposal was said by WIPO to be necessary to meet the requirements of the nine-member Audit Committee, which itself remains under scrutiny by some member governments who perceive it to be weighted toward members friendly to the WIPO secretariat.The Audit Committee chair also reported that the head of Internal Audit at WIPO has not been named yet, and urged that it be done. He further reported that the committee itself is testing a system of online document and information exchange among its members.Finally, the PBC is expected to approve a proposed new mechanism for greater involvement of member states in WIPO’s programme and budget planning. As WIPO operates on biennial cycles, the proposal contains a plan for the second year of the current 2006-2007 cycle, and another for all cycles to follow beginning in 2008.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"WIPO Committee Set To Approve Reports On Budget, Construction, Personnel" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.