WIPO Members To Approve Senior Appointments; Remove Retirement Deal 19/06/2006 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a 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)Member governments of the World Intellectual Property Organization who act in a coordinating capacity for the UN body today indicated acceptance of the officials proposed by the WIPO director general to act as his cabinet for the next three years, according to sources. But the governments rejected a proposal to give the appointees a WIPO paycheck until they reach retirement age after they finish work at the organization in 2009, they said. The amended version of WIPO Director General Kamil Idris’s proposal is expected to be formally adopted by the WIPO Coordination Committee on Tuesday, according to sources. The committee is meeting in a special session from 19 to 20 June. At the deputy director general level, Francis Gurry (Australia) and Philippe Petit (France) will remain, the position held for the past three years by Geoffrey Yu (Singapore) will be taken over by Narendra Sabharwal (India) as agreed in July 2003, and Rita Hayes will be succeeded by Michael Keplinger (both United States), according to a document from WIPO (WO/CC/54/2). Meanwhile, the number of assistant director general (ADG) positions would increase from two to three. Ernesto Rubio (Uruguay) will continue as an ADG, while Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria would fill a second ADG position that has been vacant since April 2005, and Wang Binying, a current WIPO official from China, would have her director position elevated to an ADG (IPW, WIPO, 1 June 2006). The curriculum vitae of the proposed officials are available on the WIPO website in the annexes to the document under the Coordination Committee meeting page. While the WIPO members appear to be on track to accepting the proposed names, they did not agree with the suggestion that none of the DDGs and ADGs should be allowed to continue at WIPO after their appointments expire. Members removed the final sentence of paragraph 17 (on terms of appointments), which stated: “The director general further proposes that, without prejudice of any new appointment through the Coordination Committee, no outgoing deputy director general and assistant director general shall remain in the service of the organisation upon the expiry of their appointments.” Idris is expected to complete his term as director general in 2009, and the DDG and ADG appointments are expected to end when he leaves. According to one source, the sentence was removed after concern was raised by the African Group. Onyeama would be particularly affected by the clause, as his term as ADG would be only three years and he is still in his 50s, the source said. No Deals After Departure Concomitant with being prevented from returning to WIPO, the DDGs and ADGs that had previously worked as WIPO staff (most or all of them) would have been paid by WIPO from the time their term ended until they reached retirement age. According to sources, the two paragraphs on that were removed after consultations with the director general, with the opposition led by the Group B industrialized countries. It was pointed out in the meeting today that in 2004 Idris had declared an end to the practice of indemnity for senior staff, following an auditor’s recommendation. According to sources, a Swiss official on behalf of Group B today cited paragraph 10 of document A/41/6 of the 2005 WIPO General Assembly (the annual meeting of all member governments), which stated: “By decision of November 12, 2004, the director general of WIPO put an end to all termination indemnities for separation from service of high-ranking staff members before retirement age by mutual agreement and to the implementation of the 1998 memorandum, which defined the principles governing the award of such indemnities. As a consequence, as of that date, the relevant provisions of the Staff Rules and Regulations are the only regulatory frameworks for termination indemnities for separation from service before retirement age by mutual agreement. In this year’s proposal by Idris, paragraph 18 read as follows: “The director general proposes that an indemnity be offered to those staff members mentioned above who held permanent contracts with the organisation before their appointments through the Coordination Committee and who will not have reached the age of retirement at the expiry of the said appointments. The WIPO Staff Regulations and Staff Rules relating to termination indemnity upon separation from service shall apply mutatis mutandis. However, the amount of the indemnity shall not exceed the remuneration that would have been derived from the permanent contract up to the age of retirement.” Then, paragraph 21 was an action item for the Coordination Committee that stated: “The Coordination Committee is invited to approve as described in paragraphs 17 and 18 above that staff members who held permanent contracts with the organisation before their appointments through the Coordination Committee and who will not have reached the age of retirement at the term of the said appointments, shall not remain in the service of the organisation and shall be entitled to an indemnity on the basis of the WIPO Staff Regulations and Staff Rules relating to termination indemnity applying mutatis mutandis; however, the amount of the indemnity shall not exceed the remuneration that would have been derived from the permanent contract up to the age of retirement.” Both paragraphs were removed in their entirety. 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