Members Still Debating Changes To Oversight At WIPO 10/10/2016 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment 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)Stung by what some saw as a botched process for handling an investigation into allegations from senior officials about the head of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO members are working this week to agree on changes to procedures. A new draft text circulated this morning introduces additional responsibility for governments in the process, and is under discussion today. At press time, ambassadors from the African Group were meeting among themselves and asked to hold up the process until internal agreement could be reached on the text. The plenary is scheduled to reconvene at four o’clock today. The annual WIPO General Assemblies are taking place from 3-11 October. The latest draft text of the proposed changes to the WIPO Internal Oversight Charter changes is available here [pdf]. The latest version accepted many of changes in the previous version [pdf], but the latest text goes much further. WIPO General Assemblies 2016 The texts show amendments being made by member states to changes to the WIPO Internal Oversight Charter as proposed by the member-state Internal Advisory Oversight Committee (IAOC). Changes would affect future handling of complaints about the Internal Oversight Division and at the top staff levels of the organisation. Specifically, they seek to ensure member states have sufficient access to any reports and that they have a say in the decision on how to handle the reports. As an example of changes, the latest version adds a line at the end of paragraph 35, to say, “In cases where allegations are substantiated, and upon request, Member States shall be provided confidential access to the reports.” In paragraph 36, the earlier version showed an extensive attempt to find a way to address investigations involving the director general. There was concern with the OIOS investigation report that it was deemed closed by two people – the chairs of the General Assembly and Coordination Committee, without an opportunity for member states to take an action if they wished. The new text simply states in paragraph 36 and 37 that investigation reports on the IOD director and the director general shall be submitted to those two chairs but also the IAOC and the external auditor (and a report on the director general would go also to the IOD director). Then much of the former subtext of paragraph 36 is now set out as their own items in new paragraphs 38 and 39. The new version drops a series of complicated steps that would have set up special committees and other steps. It also sets deadlines for the process, as noted in the 10 October plenary meeting by the Coordination Committee chair. And it clarifies which information member states will receive automatically and which they can receive on request, including unredacted versions. Allegations made three years ago by the deputy director general regarding the director general went through various stages within the organisation but ended up in the United Nations Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which issued a report. That report was initially withheld from WIPO member states under the decision of the General Assembly and Coordination Committee chairs, with a summary instead being provided by the then chair of the General Assembly. On 7 October, WIPO announced that the WIPO Coordination Committee, which is effectively the member state executive body, had agreed to recommend to close that investigation (IPW, WIPO, 7 October 2016). But some member states noted this morning that the investigation issue still has to come before the full General Assembly before it is final. The African Group then announced that it is still in consideration and not ready to agree. It is unclear if there might be further concerns raised about the past investigation, or if the focus is only on the IAOC proposed changes going forward. IP-Watch will report on progress as it occurs. Image Credits: WIPO 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 William New may be reached at email@example.com."Members Still Debating Changes To Oversight At WIPO" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.