December 15, 2008
The approval by Member states of a revised program and budget on December 12, 2008 marked the start of a comprehensive program of strategic change in the direction and work of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) led by Director General Francis Gurry. The process aims to realign WIPO's programs, resources and structures with a new set of strategic goals, so as to enable the Organization to respond more effectively to the rapidly evolving technological, cultural and geo-economic environment.
The revised program and budget, which was approved at an extraordinary session of the WIPO Assemblies, sets out nine strategic goals. In addition to goals relating to the balanced evolution of the international normative framework for IP, to facilitating the use of IP for development, and to the provision of premier global IP services, WIPO’s new goals include a focus on building respect for IP; on developing global IP infrastructure; on responsive communication; on becoming the world reference source for IP information; and on addressing IP in relation to global policy challenges, such as climate change, public health and food security.
WIPO’s activities in support of development are prioritized in the new framework, which mainstreams the development dimension throughout the work of the Organization. A dedicated program, under the direct supervision of the Director General, is dedicated to ensuring effective coordination of work to implement the WIPO Development Agenda.
The balanced budget maintains tight fiscal discipline, and includes initiatives to eliminate duplication, cut costs and increase efficiencies. “Delivering value for money will be central to our organizational culture,” Mr. Gurry told delegates. Member States also endorsed a proposal to create 22 posts to address critical skills gaps in the Organization.
The new strategic framework, said Mr. Gurry, is “intended to refocus the work of the Organization in response to the urgent challenges for intellectual property in the 21st Century.” Describing the revised program and budget as a framework for change, Mr. Gurry thanked delegates for their confidence in the WIPO secretariat, and told them, “It is now up to us to deliver.” Delegates welcomed the intensified dialogue with the secretariat and the “unprecedented” level of transparency in the consultation process.
WIPO’s program and budget functions on a biennial basis. The current cycle covers the 2008/09 period. The session of the Assemblies that falls in the first year of a budgetary cycle typically considers a revised program and budget for the following year. In light of the change in WIPO’s leadership on October 1, 2008, the Member States agreed to postpone the Program and Budget Committee (PBC) to December 10 to 11, 2008, to allow the new Director General to present revised program and budget proposals. The PBC’s recommendations to approve the proposed program and budget were endorsed by member states in an extraordinary session of the Assemblies on December 12, 2008.
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