WIPO Strives For “Prudent” Course On Programme and Budget 11/09/2013 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)Country delegates at the World Intellectual Property Organization this week have started ploughing through the extensive agenda of the committee overseeing the budget and the programmes of the organisation. They are struggling to find agreement on agenda items and are deferring decisions for later in the week. Meanwhile, the WIPO director general presented the proposed budget and reaffirmed the importance of development. On the first day of the 21st session of the WIPO Program and Budget Committee (PBC), taking place from 9-13 September, a number of documents relating to the audit and oversight of WIPO were presented. The reports are available with the meeting documents on the meeting webpage. The WIPO Independent Advisory Oversight Committee (IAOC) presented its report, as well as a report by the director of the Internal Audit and Oversight Division (IAOD). Some countries, such as the African Group, asked whether the PBC could approve the report of the IAOC instead of merely taking note of it, since the report contains a set of recommendations, which was not welcomed by some developed countries. Egypt also asked that more analysis be provided on the various activities reviewed and that recommendations be presented in a specific section for more clarity. On the report of the IAOD, some countries asked that the WIPO travel policy be aligned on other United Nations agencies’. The African Group also remarked that taking note of the report did not reflect its importance. A progress report on the implementation of the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit’s “recommendations for the review of WIPO legislative bodies for the period 2010-2012” was also presented on Monday. The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) is an independent external oversight body of the UN system conducting evaluations, inspections and investigations. The progress report from the WIPO secretariat shows a list of JIU recommendations, some as being “accepted” and others being “under consideration”. Some member states asked clarification as to why some recommendations were being considered and not accepted. The WIPO secretariat answered that the term “under consideration” indicates that the organisation is performing an analysis of the recommendation before accepting it and thus taking steps to implement it. It does not mean the recommendation is not accepted but is being reviewed, the WIPO official said. Of particular concern for some countries was the JIU recommendation on South-South and triangular cooperation in the UN system. The recommendation asks that UN organisations establish “identifiable and dedicated structures, mechanisms and focal points tasked with developing agency-specific corporate policy and support strategy, and ensure coordination on South-South and triangular cooperation within their respective organizations and inter-agencies, through the reallocation of the necessary staff and resources for this purpose, as appropriate.” This recommendation is currently under consideration, and the WIPO document indicates that the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) adopted in November 2011 a two-year project on South-South cooperation on IP and Development which will be evaluated in April or May 2014. Member states, says the document, will then have to take a decision on the way forward. Some delegations, such as Brazil and India, said that the JIU recommendation should be de-linked from the CDIP, be considered as an independent recommendation, and be accepted by the secretariat, which should take steps to implement it. No decision was taken yet on those documents, leaving them open to further discussion during the week. Agreement was found, however, on the report on the implementation of cost-efficiency measures. Proposed Budget, Healthy Finance, Development Priority, Says DG WIPO Director General Francis Gurry presented the proposed Program and Budget for the 2014/2015 biennium. He introduced changes brought to the document after the last PBC meeting in July (IPW, WIPO, 14 July 2013). Among them, the establishment of a programme focussed on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The idea, he said, is “that we do not believe policy on SMEs in the United States of America is the same as policy on SMEs in Burkina Faso.” “We believe that the whole notion of what constitutes an SME and the place of an SME is an intricate part of national economic policy,” he said. As part of the national economic policy, it is very important that the specialists in WIPO bureaus be responsible for giving primary advice on the implementation of the program on SMEs. He also presented WIPO’s financial parameters and said the organisation ended 2012 in a “favourable financial position with healthy results.” The results show CHF 25.6 million (US$27.4 million) in operating surplus and an overall surplus of CHF15.7 million (US$16.8 million), he said, which brought the organisation reserves to CHF178.2 million. That brings the reserves some CHF 58 million over the target set by member states for prudent financial management, Gurry said. “2013 is going well,” he said, “but we are aware that we are operating in an environment in which visibility is still not a hundred percent clear,” adding that there are many reasons why the organisation should exercise prudence in the current financial environment. In 2014-2015, WIPO foresees a rise in income of 4.5 percent (CHF713 million – USS 763 million) and proposed a cautious 3.5 percent increase in expenditure. The propose CHF673 million (US$720) would be split between CHF747 million in personnel expenditure and CHF226 million in non-personnel expenditure. “We propose no new headcount for personnel,” he explained even though the workload has increased and will keep increasing considerably. But members have been examining the secretariat’s proposal to considerably raise human resources expenditures despite this claim (IPW, WIPO, 14 July 2013). “Development is, and remains, a priority for the organisation,” and the development expenditure will remain stable at 21 percent of the total expenditure, and an absolute increase of 3.5 percent compared to 2012/2013, the director general concluded. The secretariat’s calculation of development expenditure has been called into question by some member states in the past. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org."WIPO Strives For “Prudent” Course On Programme and Budget" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.