U.S. Statement to the 2023 WIPO Assembly
Discussion of Report on Assistance and Support to Ukraine’s Innovation and Creativity Sector and IP System
As delivered by Ambassador Bathsheba Crocker
Thank you, Madame Chair.
It is a somber and tragic fact that Russia’s unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine continues today, nearly a year after the Assemblies called for this report. Russia’s attacks on Ukraine have damaged every sector and every facet of society. No one and nothing have been spared, including Ukraine’s innovation and creativity sector and ecosystem.
The numbers are stark. The International Bureau reports a litany of destruction and lost opportunities for Ukraine. Three hundred and fifty educational institutions have been destroyed and thousands more damaged. The report details damage to nearly 120 scientific and higher education institutions, as well as 253 cultural sites. Four scientific institutions were completely destroyed.
The report details losses beyond physical destruction, such as the toll Russia’s war has taken on the mental health of Ukraine’s students, educators, creators, scientists, and researchers, and diminishing resources available for the education, science, and creativity sectors because Ukraine is forced to channel more and more funding into defending itself from Russia’s aggression.
Russia often claims that to discuss the impact of its brutality is to politicize this and other technical institutions. Standing up for the fundamental tenets of the UN Charter is not a political act, but rather a profound responsibility for every one of us. Russia’s war against Ukraine threatens every aspect of our fellow member state, including its activities in and contributions to WIPO. This report makes crystal clear: today’s agenda item is not about politicization, but the generational damage Russia is inflicting upon Ukraine’s vital innovation and creativity sectors.
The report provides many examples of devastation, diminishment, and loss to Ukraine’s innovation and creativity sector. Obviously, Ukraine is bearing the full brunt of Russia’s violence. But the loss is ours, as well—when we are robbed of the full force of Ukraine’s inventiveness, creativity, and contributions to this organization.
We thank the Director General and International Bureau for researching and drafting this report, and we look forward to further reporting. We hope, by that time, Russia has stopped its aggression and withdrawn its forces from Ukraine, and our Ukrainian partners are able to contribute fully to WIPO through unhindered innovation and creativity.
Thank you, Madame Chair.