Gurry Re-Elected By Praiseful WIPO Membership; Some Ask For Transparent, Accountable Governance 08/05/2014 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 5 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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)Some five minutes is all it took this morning for the World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly to re-elect Francis Gurry at the head of WIPO for the next six years. All delegations taking the floor congratulated the director general and underlined the achievements under his current mandate. However, the matter of allegations by one of the WIPO deputy directors general was raised. The Extraordinary Session of the WIPO General Assembly is taking place from 8-9 May. The second term of Francis Gurry, an Australian national, as director general of WIPO, will run from October 1, 2014, through September 2020, according to WIPO. Immediately after the round of applause celebrating Gurry’s re-election, South Korea took the floor to say it joined the consensus and congratulated the re-elected DG, but remarked that a document was submitted by a deputy director general of WIPO, which was covered by several media in recent days. He referred to the “Report of Misconduct” submitted by Deputy Director General James Pooley to the chairs of the General Assemblies and Coordination Committee (IPW, WIPO, 7 May 2014). “We hope to see how this issue will be handled at the General Assembly for procedural clarity,” the Korean delegate said. He advised that business be conducted “as usual … while conducting the investigation of the issue raised in a transparent and independent way.” This transparent and independent investigation is needed “for the good of WIPO,” he said. Informal information exchange took place with the General Assemblies and Coordination Committee chairs, with the seven group coordinators to discuss the matter of the document submitted by Pooley, on 6 May, he said. The WIPO general counsel subsequently provided a brief update on this issue in writing to the regional coordinators, which Korea requested the Chair – Päivi Kairamo, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations in Geneva – to supply to all member states for the sake of transparency. Gurry Looks Forward After thanking member states for their confidence and trust, Gurry commented on his position and said, “I have always thought that it was a privilege to be able to work for an international organization. To have the opportunity to serve as chief executive is an additional privilege.” “Above all, it provides an extraordinary opportunity to meet and to interact with many remarkable people from many different cultures and many different walks of life,” he said in his prepared speech. “Turning to the future,” he said, “I believe that the fundamental challenge that we face as an organization is to achieve a shared understanding of the role and value of intellectual property in economic, social and cultural development.” “Different competitive interests in an economy in which knowledge- and technology-intensive industries account for an increasing 30% share of global economic output,” is one of the many obstacles in the road, he said. Also a source of difficulties are “asymmetries of wealth, opportunity and knowledge throughout the world, historical and contemporary trust deficits, and the reality of a multi-speed and multi-tiered world in which multilateralism, while being the highest expression of inclusiveness and legitimacy, is also the slowest solution,” he said. Gurry remarked on the fact that the two latest successfully concluded WIPO treaties (Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, and Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled) demonstrate that “it is easier to reach a shared understanding on specific issues, with a demonstrable and manageable need for international action.” “As we go forward on those specific issues, it will be important that the agenda address the interests of all sides of the multilateral equation,” he said, adding that WIPO “must be able to achieve successful outcomes on broadcasting and on traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources.” “If we are unable as an organization to address the latest technological developments, the organization will fail in its main mission of encouraging innovation and will become irrelevant to the mainstream of global innovation,” he said. “[I]f we are unable to address traditional knowledge systems, the Organization will fail in its mission of universality and will not recognize the full scope of intellectual contributions to innovation.” “I am conscious,” he said “that this balance, which is at the heart of multilateralism, extends beyond the normative agenda to the whole operations and activities of this organization,” and mentioned the issue of geographical balance in the WIPO secretariat. “The message of member states in this regard has come through loud and clear,” he said. He said reaching geographical balance in the secretariat is a priority but the low rate of attrition of staff slows the process. He encouraged member states to bring vacancies in the secretariat to the attention of nationals and encourage well qualified professionals to apply. “We have plans for increasing the opportunity for persons from different countries to apply for vacancies and will unveil these in the coming month,” he said. “The politics of intellectual property are, in my view, becoming more, rather than less, challenging,” he concluded. “I do not think that this is a disturbing development,” but “a natural consequence of the increased value of innovation and intangibles and of the mission of intellectual property of finding the right balance between all the interests that surround innovation and creativity in our society.” Member States Praiseful;Group B Advocates Transparent Governance A number of member states took the floor to congratulate the newly re-elected WIPO Director General. They remarked on the success of the current mandate, mentioning the success of the Beijing and Marrakesh treaties. The Group B developed countries underlined the importance of good and transparent governance. Least developed countries and developing countries asked that the WIPO Development Agenda be mainstreamed in WIPO activities and that the level of development of countries be taken into account. Developed countries remarked that some 90 percent of the organisation’s revenues stem from fees paid by the global IP system applicants, and users of the system should be provided with protection and adequate services. Group B said it believes “that one of the most fundamental functions of WIPO is the provision and development of global IP services,” such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid System, and The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs. A lot of countries remarked positively on the conducting of the election process. Japan, for Group B, said, “Healthy governance is an essential element in the proper functioning of the organization.” Group B welcomes the mainstreaming and further development of the strategic realignment programme and results-based management, he said. Developed countries encouraged the Director General “to continue to look for ways to further improve the governance of the organisation by focusing on his efforts on transparency, accountability in the governance and management of the organisation.” The United States said it is “deeply committed to principles of transparency and accountability in all international organisations.” “In this regard,” the delegate said,”we look forward to working closely with the Director General, the secretariat and member states colleagues to ensure the good governance of WIPO, including its oversight mechanism.” “We look forward to commencing this collaboration as an immediate priority,” he said. The African Group said it hopes that the secretariat will develop a balanced work programme in its norm-setting activities and the Director General will consider the principle of geographical balance in its appointment of the senior management team. Egypt, for the Development Agenda Group (DAG) underlined the need to mainstream the WIPO Development Agenda in WIPO activities and implement its 45 recommendations as an integral part of WIPO work programme. Several developing countries complimented Gurry for WIPO’s technical assistance and capacity building, such as Afghanistan, Niger, Liberia and Sri Lanka. Conditions of Appointment of Director General The conditions of appointment of the Director General were discussed after the plenary was suspended at the end of the morning. Following the process of the 2008 election, a working group was established to discuss and make a recommendation on the conditions to be fixed by the General Assembly for the appointment of the director general. Gurry’s contract from 2008 [pdf] details his terms of employment for his previous mandate. The working group consists of Kairamo, General Assembly chair, her vice-chairs Mikhail Khvostov, Ambassador of Belarus, and Mokhtar Warida from the Egyptian mission, as well as Coordination Committee chair Senegal Ambassador Fodé Seck and his vice-chairs Hungary Counsellor/Deputy Permanent Representative Virág Krisztina Halgand and Alexandra Grazioli of Switzerland. Regional coordinators are also part of the working group. The plenary was expected to reconvene at 5 pm today to hear about the working group recommendations. Gurry, who first took office in 2008, is the fourth director general of WIPO, following Dr. Kamil Idris of Sudan (1997-2008), Mr. Arpad Bogsch of the United States (1973-1997) and Mr. Georg Bodenhausen of the Netherlands (1970-1973), WIPO said. Design Law Treaty Kairamo said informal consultations have been taking place over the last weeks on the topic of the design law treaty and the decision on the convening of a diplomatic conference. She issued an informal text with a draft decision [pdf] to be considered by member states. The draft decision includes a mention signalling that the diplomatic conference “will adopt a resolution or an article regarding technical assistance and capacity building for developing countries and LDCs [least developed countries] in the implementation of the future Design Law Treaty.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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 Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Gurry Re-Elected By Praiseful WIPO Membership; Some Ask For Transparent, Accountable Governance" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.