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Statement by Ambassador King in the WIPO General Assembly
September 28, 2011

World Intellectual Property Organization
49th Series of Meetings of the WIPO Assemblies

September 26, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

On behalf of Group B, I would like to congratulate you on your election as the chair of the General Assembly, as well as your two vice chairs.  I am confident that under your leadership, we will be able to reach a positive outcome during this session.

Group B would also like to take this opportunity to commend the Director General and his staff for their superior efforts over the last year in maintaining the organization’s rightful place as the global IP authority.

To that end, we are pleased with WIPO’s efforts in encouraging innovation and creativity throughout all regions of the world, while promoting a balanced and effective international intellectual property system.  These efforts will continue to foster the economic, social and cultural development of all countries.  Group B is convinced that Member States, despite regional group affiliation, must continue to foster mutual understanding in order to make progress.  Group B also attaches great importance to the long-standing practice that all decisions in the organization should be made by consensus.

Since the last Assemblies, we have seen significant goodwill which has resulted in progress in various substantive sectors of the Organization, such as in: the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademark s (SCT), and the Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), to name a few.  Of course, we cannot forget the positive results achieved more recently in the Program and Budget Committee (PBC).

Less than two weeks ago, the PBC met in its 18th session to consider, among other things, the proposed 2012/13 Program and Budget.  Through hard work and a willingness to engage productively by the Member States and the Secretariat, the PBC concluded with a recommendation to the General Assembly to adopt the proposed Program and Budget with modifications.  Amid mounting concern over the fragility of the global economy, many Member States expressed apprehension with the significant increase in spending originally proposed by the Secretariat.  A reconsideration of the original proposal has resulted in a budget agreed to by the PBC without any implications to development activities or the administration of the registration unions.  Group B welcomes and supports the recommendations of the PBC.  As we stated during the PBC, Group B would also appreciate a continuing focus on savings and efficiency gains throughout the next biennium.

This past year has also seen the ushering in of the new Independent Advisory and Oversight Committee (IAOC), the successor to the Audit Committee.  Group B thanks the members of the selection panel for choosing such a capable group of professionals.  Group B appreciates the constructive engagement and collaboration of the IAOC with the Secretariat and Member States.  The close collaboration has enabled the IAOC to review in detail the recommendations made by the former Audit Committee from a risk management perspective and to work closely with WIPO to significantly reduce the risk associated with the recommendations that the IAOC had identified as having a very high risk.  We also encourage the IAOC to work closely with the new director of IAOD and the external auditor in order to create more synergies and strengthen the auditing and oversight function at WIPO.  We also look forward to a close working relationship between the IAOC and the PBC to address a number of identified concerns, with the goal of continuing the  strengthening of WIPO governance.

One of the greatest successes of the organization this year occurred in the SCCR.  Positive engagement by delegations led to the SCCR’s recommendation to resume the 2000 Diplomatic Conference on a treaty for the protection of audiovisual performances with an agreement on the one outstanding article and a clear, precise plan for completion of the treaty.    Although we did not finish our work in addressing the needs of the visually impaired and those with print disabilities, Group B is firmly committed to continue the dialogue and work constructively with other delegations to a positive end.  On the subject of a treaty for the protection of broadcasting organizations, Group B is similarly committed to engaging with other delegations to make headway on this very important issue.

During the 15th and 16th sessions of the SCP, Member States agreed on a balanced work plan that will enable more substantive projects to develop, and Group B will remain engaged to help lead these projects toward a positive outcome.  During this past year, the SCT has launched very promising work in the field of designs, which could lead to the convening of a diplomatic conference.   Group B notes the significant progress in the IGC over the past 12 months.  Finally, Group B is particularly pleased to see a proposal from the IGC for a renewal of its mandate.  Such rich progress in the various fields is proof that WIPO will remain the global IP authority.

Group B welcomes the progress on the Strategic Realignment Program (SRP), and the informative briefings offered by the Secretariat over the course of the past year.  Group B is confident that the reforms underway through the 19 initiatives, comprising the four core values, will enable WIPO to be a more responsive, efficient organization, equipped to provide global leadership on IP issues and to achieve its Strategic Goals.

Group B encourages the Director General to continue his leadership in establishing a values-based integrity and ethics system and looks forward to the development of an ethics training program for all management and staff in the organization. Moreover, Group B believes the Ethics Office should be strengthened, including through the provision of adequate resources.

Group B was pleased to see the introduction of a Declaration of Interest program in 2009. This should be enhanced with a comprehensive Financial Disclosure program to further support the integrity of the organization.

In conclusion, let me assure you that you can count on the constructive spirit and support of the delegations of Group B during these assemblies.

Thank you