ITEM 21 OF THE CONSOLIDATED AGENDA:
179. The Chair of the WIPO General Assembly made the following statement:
"Distinguished Delegates, we are now at the conclusion of these 33rd series of meetings of the Assemblies of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Looking back over the first year of WIPO's accomplishment under the leadership of Kamil Idris, it is clear that we have made tremendous, indeed almost inconceivable progress. To review all that we have accomplished in such a short time is to be amazed by the breadth and depth of our joint endeavors.
"A first ever series of informal consultations last Fall and Winter, led to our successful Assemblies in March. There, for the first time in the history of the organization, we had before us a strategic set of proposals in the draft Program and Budget for our consideration. The pressures and opportunities facing intellectual property protection in a fast changing external environment were related to proposals from the Director General which aligned program planning and budget allocations in a way that was open, transparent and understandable to us all. But this transparency symbolized something much deeper than a series of documents for decision. It was a first step in a new way of working between the International Bureau and Member States and a new way for all of us together to view our priorities and measure our success in meeting these priorities. And those priorities are many and challenging as we all know. Our overall WIPO policy direction and management, cooperation for development and the WIPO Worldwide Academy. The progressive development of intellectual property law, information technology and global protection systems and services. The underpinnings for a modern management style of a results-based program implementation which were firmly established in March have, at this Assemblies, borne their first fruit.
"The first ever Program Implementation Overview by the Director General which was before us for consideration was most warmly welcomed by all Member States. In addition the streamlined and disciplined way in which the Assemblies themselves tackled the consideration of this agenda item last week, established different standards of dialogue for future Assemblies to take into consideration. That more remains to be done to bring our vision of results-based program implementation to full fruition is not a sign of failure, but a sign of strength and forward movement. Major change is not accomplished overnight, but takes perseverance, focus and commitment. But no-one can doubt that we have firmly established the direction in which we wish to go and are committed to its full accomplishment.
"During the past year, we have also tackled issues related towards the broad use of information technology in the interest of intellectual property protection and operations. And to that we have now added new electronic commerce, intellectual property policy and operational issues that are engaging the world with such urgency. We have taken several decisions to streamline our work together by deciding how best to structure our Committee work, both with respect to norm-setting, information technology and WIPO management issues, and we have now finally resolved the long-standing and contentious issue of new WIPO premises, providing the Director General with a clear mandate to get on with it. But that is not all of our accomplishments. Along the way there have been many other noteworthy events, including the establishment of the senior echelons of the organization itself and the development of a new spirit of cooperation with our sister organization, the WTO. Indeed, tomorrow will see the first ever joint WIPO-WTO Symposium on TRIPS implementation issues. I wonder how many of us realize the tremendous pressure which our demands for action have placed on every member of the International Bureau. They have worked with such professionalism that it has seemed seamless and effortless to us, but behind the scenes were dedicated individuals who worked nights and weekends to deliver to us, often at the expense of their home and family life.
"In one short year, they have managed the substance and logistics of two Assemblies, numerous informal consultations, plus the regular meetings of the now Standing Committees, the Coordination Committee and the Budget and Premises Committee. We thank them for their dedication and commitment during this past year. We thank them for their patience and transparency as we asked question after question in writing and informal meetings, and we thank them most of all for the level of excellence in all that they did on our behalf. Over the past year, we the Assemblies, have experimented with ways of working together to give full expression to the Director General's principles of transparency, accountability and ownership of WIPO by Member States. As in any experiment, learning opportunities of what works and what doesn't have been plentiful. If we have learnt anything during this past challenging year, it is that we, the Assemblies, are most successful and most comfortable in decision-making when we have had formal or informal opportunities to exchange views amongst ourselves and with the International Bureau before considering sensitive items in a formal decision-making forum. This is a very important lesson, and one which is certainly not lost on me as your Chair, I can assure you.
"At this time I would like on your behalf and my own, to thank the Group Coordinators who have worked so hard on your behalf. Many individuals have fulfilled that role over the past year. Being a Group Coordinator is not an easy task at any time, but I think it has been particularly difficult this past year for new Coordinators who tried to cope with the experimental nature of some of our new working together processes here. All Group Coordinators this past year, have given of themselves to the utmost. That we as the Assemblies are as successful as we are is in large part a tribute to their skills and education, who worked on our behalf, on behalf of the Groups and for the common good of the intellectual property world.
"One final thanks to the interpreters and translators that we have seen so much of this past year. You have proved yourselves to be indispensable. We could not be the international community coming together to forward the ends of intellectual property protection, without your incomparable competence and professionalism.
"And so, in closing, to Kamil and the International Bureau, congratulations to you individually and collectively, for the flying start in the new mandate. The world will continue to unfold at an ever-increasing pace and we have given you a packed agenda for action, but we do hope that you will have at least some time in the not too distant future to slow down a bit, catch your breath, reflect a little and to practice what is known in North America as balancing work and family life. And then refreshed and recharged, begin to prepare for our next Assemblies.
"If there are no other issues to be raised, at this point in time by distinguished delegates, I will declare this session of the Assemblies closed. Thank you very much."
180. After the usual interventions, the thirty-third series of Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO, were closed by the Chair of the WIPO General Assembly.