WIPO Director General Visits Belarus: Meets President, Government Ministers and Other Officials

June 5, 2019

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry met with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, as well as the country’s Prime Minister and other top officials in a series of sessions aimed at expanding bilateral cooperation in the field of intellectual property (IP).

In the June 4, 2019, meeting, President Lukashenko hailed recent developments at WIPO and confirmed Belarus’s interest in the further development of cooperation with the Organization. The President also expressed his appreciation for WIPO’s assistance in the human resources development in the field of IP, while Mr. Gurry affirmed WIPO’s willingness to further assist Belarus in the development of its IP system.

Photo of WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry meets with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko (Photo: Courtesy of BelTA)

Mr. Gurry subsequently attended the opening ceremony of the Regional Seminar on Current Challenges and Strategic Use of Intellectual Property Rights, where he spoke about challenges to the use of IP rights in the modern world. The Director General underlined IP’s role in protecting the competitive advantage conferred by innovation, new technologies and new creations. He highlighted the increasing use of IP tools in the modern global economy, while noting that the creation of new international rules and norms related to this change was struggling to keep pace.

From the point of international cooperation, we have many challenges as a consequence of this new position of IP. The greatest challenge is simply keeping pace, because what happens at the national level reasonably slowly, happens even more slowly or much more slowly at the international level. And we are living in a period when the capacity of the international community to reach agreement is extremely limited, and we can see this across the sectors.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry

Meeting the Prime Minister

On June 5, 2019, the Director General met Prime Minister Sergei Rumas, who expressed high appreciation for WIPO’s assistance to Belarus and offered assurances of his country’s enduring support the Organization.

The Director General and the Prime Minister also discussed the potential accession of Belarus to two WIPO treaties: The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.

They also discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation, including:

  • the organization of the development of a new National IP Strategy in Belarus for the period of 2021-2030;
  • joint capacity building and awareness-raising activities; and
  • the enhancement of the capacities of universities and research institutions to effectively manage their IP assets and the elaborate their institutional IP policies.

Memorandum of Understanding signed

The meeting was attended also by Mr. Igor Karpenko, Minister of Education of the Republic of Belarus, Mr. Pavel Utyupin, Minister of Industry of the Republic of Belarus, Mr. Alexander Shumilin, Chairman, State Committee on Science and Technology of the Republic of Belarus, Mr. Vladimir Gusakov, Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, and other governmental officials. During the meeting the Mr. Gurry signed a Memorandum of Understanding between WIPO and the Government of the Republic of Belarus, shaping the framework for further cooperation.

Photo of WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and Mr. Alexander Shumilin, State Committee on Science and Technology of Belarus
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (left) shakes hands with Chairman, State Committee on Science and Technology of Belarus, Mr. Alexander Shumilin (right), while Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Rumas (center) looks on.

During a June 5, 2019, meeting with Vladimir Makei, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, the Minister expressed his satisfaction with the bilateral cooperation and thanked WIPO for its continuous support. The Director General also attended the session of the Scientific Advisory Council on International Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, where he briefed the participants about WIPO’s initiatives in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Director General also visited the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, on June 3, and the High-Tech Park, on June 4, where he witnessed recent advancements in the science and and IT fields and heard of the organizations’ use of IP in promoting new technologies and products.

During the meeting at the Academy of Public Administration under the Aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus, which took place on June 4, Mr. Gurry briefed the professors and students of the Academy on perspectives for the IP system in a globalized world.

The Director General was conferred an academic title of “Honorary Professor of the Academy of Public Administration under the Aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus.”