Francis Gurry led WIPO as Director General from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2020.

Ban Ki-moon: WIPO Can Be a Champion

December 2008

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressing WIPO staff. (Photo: WIPO/Mercedes Martínez Dozal)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressing WIPO staff. (Photo: WIPO/Mercedes Martínez Dozal)

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred to WIPO as “a unique organization with a unique contribution to make in meeting the global challenges faced by the UN” during his first visit to WIPO headquarters, on November 18, to meet with WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and address staff. He underlined the need “to pool our resources, pool our wisdom and act as One United Nations.” Mr. Ban stressed that with the UN’s limited resources success in addressing the challenges – which included regional conflict, human rights abuses, abject poverty and death from rampant diseases – would only come when all the organizations within the System worked together. “In this time of economic crisis,” he continued, “this is a practical imperative, as much as a moral one”. 

“WIPO can be a champion in helping to meet the Millennium Development Goals; a champion in joining the global efforts to combat climate change; a champion in helping to tackle high food and energy prices,” said the Secretary-General.

Mr. Gurry reiterated his commitment to closer collaboration with the UN family on global challenges, and highlighted the central role that “IP policies – designed to stimulate the development and dissemination of new technologies – have to play in the collective efforts by the international community to find solutions to some of the greatest challenges confronting humanity”. He stressed the need to ensure “that WIPO’s voice is heard in all fora where these global public policy issues are discussed and that we take a leading role in identifying intellectual property-based solutions.”

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