Joint Statement: U.S., Other WIPO Members Call for Release of Full OIOS Report to Member States

Joint Statement
Delivered by Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto
on behalf of a Group of WIPO member states
at the Seventy-Second (26th Extraordinary) Session of the WIPO Coordination Committee

Geneva,
September 12, 2016

 

Good morning Mr. Chair, Director General Gurry, and distinguished colleagues.

Mr. Chair, I am delivering the following statement on behalf of a group of WIPO member states.

The delegations of Algeria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Sweden, Uganda, the United States of America, in addition to the non-Coordination Committee delegations Albania and Fiji, would like to make the following statement regarding the OIOS report, and request that this statement be reflected verbatim in the record of this meeting.

We have undertaken a preliminary reading, under “controlled” conditions of the Office of Internal Oversight Services’s (OIOS) independent and credible report titled “Abuse of authority and procurement irregularities implicating a staff member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (ID Case N. 0164/15).”

We wish to emphasize our concern that member states do not yet have a copy of the report. The report was requested by Member States and should be available to Member States. We reiterate our request that the CoCo Chair immediately formally request that OIOS produce a full version of the OIOS report, redacted only to protect witness confidentiality, and to provide this to member states no later than September 26, one week before the General Assemblies. It is imperative for organizational transparency and Member State oversight. Any further delays in releasing the report are unacceptable.

We wish to note our concerns with the findings and conclusions contained in the OIOS report.   We highlight the importance our governments attach to leaders of organizations abiding by their organization’s staff rules and regulations. Indeed, the director general of WIPO – or the executive head of any United Nations body for that matter – is expected to model the highest standards of conduct and integrity for an international civil servant. We trust DG Gurry will do so, taking into account the findings and conclusions of the OIOS report, and work toward improving the performance and reputation of the organization worldwide.

On a separate track, we believe that significant procedural changes must be made within WIPO and across the UN system for the efficiency, independence, and transparency of investigative processes involving allegations against senior officials. It should not have taken this Organization so long to refer this matter to an outside investigative body or to provide Member States with access to the investigative report. It is necessary that WIPO Member States take immediate action to tighten and improve procedures pertaining to investigations of senior officials in order to expedite future investigations of this nature and increase transparency. We thus propose three immediate actions:

The first action:

That all Member States engage with WIPO’s Independent Advisory Oversight Committee, which the twenty-fifth Program and Budget Committee tasked with proposing amendments to WIPO’s Internal Oversight Charter at the next General Assemblies, and that those proposed amendments be approved by Member States at the upcoming Assemblies.

The second action:

That WIPO’s Independent Advisory Oversight Committee be requested to establish a process, with participation of WIPO and other experts, as well as interested States, to consider whether WIPO’s General Procurement Principles and related documents should be revised to ensure clarity and transparency in WIPO’s procurement process.

The third action:

That WIPO’s Whistleblower Protection Policy and its implementation be reviewed to ensure that the Policy takes into account lessons learned, recent developments in this area, and best practices from other organizations.

We suggest that the main elements of our joint statement could be reflected through a decision of this body transmitted to the General Assemblies, although we reserve the right to make further proposals in relation to this matter after the Geneva based delegations and their capitals have had the opportunity to examine carefully the redacted report.

We ask that the Chair please confirm that this statement will be reflected in the report of this meeting.

I thank you, Mr. Chair.