WIPO Proposes 10 Percent Cut In Governments’ Annual Contributions20/07/2017 by Catherine Saez, 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 depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.The World Intellectual Property Organization has proposed a 10 percent reduction in the contributions its member states make to the UN agency. The proposal, which met with some unanswered questions from WIPO member states at a committee meeting last week, is said to reflect the agency’s robust finances and will be taken up again in September. The move would shrink government contributions to WIPO’s overall budget to less than 5 percent of its total revenues.Member states’ first reading of the proposed budget by WIPO for 2018/2019 also led to some amendments in programmes, notably new indicators of progress. Program and Budget CommitteeThe 26th session of the WIPO Program and Budget Committee (PBC), which took place from 10-14 July, was tasked to do a first reading of the draft proposed program and budget [pdf] for the next biennium 2018/2019 (IPW, WIPO, 12 July 2017).10% Cut Aimed at Helping Countries’ Fiscal ConstraintsAt the opening of the PBC session on 10 July, the WIPO director general announced a proposed reduction of 10 percent in countries’ contributions.According to the draft proposed program and budget, “The excellent financial performance of the Organization has given rise to several dividends. We are proposing a decrease of 10% in the contributions of Member States in the 2018-2019 Biennium, a measure that we hope will make a modest contribution to the management of the fiscal constraints experienced by many Member States.”The WIPO director general has established the unit contribution value at 10 percent lower than in 2016/2017, it says.WIPO member states do not pay the same contribution to the organisation. The contribution classes of member states (as of 15 July 2017) is here.As shown in the draft proposed program and budget 2018/2019, the unitary contributions for 2018/2019 would drop by 9.9 percent for a total of CHF 31.3 million (US$ 32.7 million). Contributions from member states would then represent 3.8 percent of the total WIPO income. The organisation derives the bulk of its revenue from the Patent Cooperation Treaty fees, which are estimated at 76.7 percent of WIPO total revenue in 2018/2019.The overall income for WIPO in 2018/19 is projected to reach CHF 826.2 million Swiss francs (US$ 864 million).Last week, several countries, such as Indonesia for the Asia and Pacific Group, the United States, and Pakistan asked about the rationale for this proposal and said they need to further reflect on the suggestion. Indonesia asked to understand the cost and benefit of such reduction.The discussion is to be continued at the next session of the PBC in September.Amendments in Programmes As reflected in the list of decisions [pdf] adopted by the PBC, issued on 14 July, some amendments to the draft program and budget for 2018/2019 were agreed. Those amendments concern Programme 3 (Copyright and related rights), Programme 4 (Traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources), Programme 5 (The Patent Cooperation Treaty system), Programme 8 (Development Agenda Coordination), Programme 13 (Global databases), and Programme 30 (Small and medium-size enterprises and entrepreneurship support).In Programme 3, some countries asked that the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled be added on the list of copyright treaties for which WIPO should provide support to member states.In Programme 4, a request was made that WIPO share the feedback received by all stakeholders about the PCT during surveys and other outreach activities. In the same programme’s expected results (II.1), about the wider and more effective use of the PCT system for filing international patent applications, a mention “to include developing countries and least-developed countries,” was added.In Programme 8, a new performance indicator was added to show the number of programmes that substantively report on the extent to which the 2007 Development Agenda Recommendations have guided their work.In Programme 13, a new item has been added in the implementation strategies to “continue exploring an enhanced and optimal architecture and model for geolocations of data servers for speedy access to Global Databases.” A new performance indicator has also been added: level of satisfaction of users of WIPO Global Databases. The revised draft program and budget is also expected to give detailed repartition on the number of records in Patentscope, in global brand and design databases, for the following regions/groups: Africa, Arab, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and countries in transition.In Programme 30, a new performance indicator has been added: “PCT applications originating from universities and research institutions in developing countries and LDCs.”Union AllocationsSince the negotiation and consequent adoption of the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications and Regulations, the United States has called for a modification of the allocation of income and expenditure by WIPO unions. They argue that the Lisbon Agreement is running a chronic deficit and the successful unions such as the PCT, which provides some 75 percent of the organisation’s budget, or the Madrid system, should not be contributing to the deficit of the Lisbon system.The US also requested last week that mention be made in the program and budget for conditioning the provision of funding for a diplomatic conference (high-level negotiating meeting) in the 2018/2019 on consensus of all WIPO membership on this diplomatic conference, and that all WIPO membership participate in that diplomatic conference.The US, as well as a number of countries voiced concern at the fact that the Geneva Act was adopted with a reduced (28) members of the WIPO membership.Constitutional Reform ProcessIn a separate matter, according to the PBC meeting document [pdf], constitutional reform efforts began in the late 1990s and led to the adoption of one amendment in 1999, and several others in 2003. In particular, the 1999 amendment to the WIPO Convention would limit the WIPO director general to serving two six-year mandates. The 2003 amendments would abolish the WIPO Conference, and formalise the unitary contribution system and the changes in contribution classes that have been practiced since 1994.None of those amendments has entered into force because the director general has not yet received the requisite number of notifications of acceptance of the amendments from member states, the document said.No decision was taken by the PBC last week, other than for the WIPO secretariat to encourage outreach efforts to member states regarding the ratification process and report back to the 28th session of the PBC, next summer. Image Credits: WIPOShare 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)RelatedCatherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."WIPO Proposes 10 Percent Cut In Governments’ Annual Contributions" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.