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TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Jul13/04)
18 July 2013
Third World Network
 
WIPO: Academy to be revamped, independent review remains secret
Published in SUNS #7629 dated 18 July 2013
 
Geneva, 17 Jul (Sangeeta Shashikant) – There is a proposal to replace the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Academy with a "WIPO Training Center" that would become the "core organization-wide vehicle for training and capacity building".
 
The WIPO Secretariat has proposed this overhaul of the WIPO Academy in the draft Program and Budget (P&B) for 2014/2015 in Program 11. The proposal is based on the recommendations of an independent review of the WIPO Academy conducted in 2012, which the Secretariat has adamantly refused to share with WIPO members.
 
During the discussions on Program 11 of the draft P&B concerning the proposal, the Development Agenda Group (DAG), as well as several other developing countries, called on the Secretariat to make available the results of the independent review, to enable them to take an informed decision on the proposal.
 
[The WIPO Program and Budget Committee (PBC) meeting was held from 8-12 July.]
 
Carlotta Graffigna, executive director of the WIPO Academy and Intellectual Property Human Capital Development at WIPO, argued that the independent review was an "internal tool" and the "report was not meant to be distributed to member states". She said that, "Unfortunately, this is the position I am expressing".
 
The position of the Secretariat was supported by Belgium, on behalf of Group B (composed of developed countries).
 
As a compromise between the DAG, which pushed for transparency, and those in favour of secrecy (the Secretariat and Group B), the Chair of the Program and Budget Committee concluded that the Secretariat should make available to the membership an executive summary of the independent review.
 
Dr. Carolyn Deere Birbeck of the Oxford University Global Economic Governance Programme conducted the independent review of the WIPO Academy. This review followed another comprehensive External Review of WIPO's technical assistance, by Dr. Birbeck and Dr. Santiago Roca, Professor of Economics, ESAN University (Peru).
 
The External Review (CDIP/8/INF/1) found significant critical shortcomings and deficiencies in the orientation, management and coordination of the technical assistance activities of WIPO. In particular, the experts found that WIPO's staff and the activities lacked a development orientation, including a clear understanding of the overall purposes of WIPO's development cooperation activities. The experts also highlighted the lack of detailed information, transparency and appropriate accountability (monitoring, evaluation and oversight) mechanisms over those technical assistance activities.
 
[For a summary of the conclusions of the External Review (CDIP/8/INF/1), see http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/intellectual_property/info.service/2011/ipr.info.111105.htm]
 
Specifically on WIPO's training activities, including the WIPO Academy, the External Review concluded that there is no systematic evaluation of the impact of the activities or country-by-country assessment on the impact of the totality of WIPO training or any systematic processes to ensure the development orientation of training conducted by various WIPO programs or that they are appropriately tailored to national needs.
 
In view of this, the External Review recommended that an independent review be carried out of WIPO's training activities (particularly those of the WIPO Academy) and WIPO's training materials and curricula to ascertain and ensure their development orientation.
 
The findings of this External Review resulted in the WIPO Secretariat unilaterally commissioning its own review of the WIPO Academy. However, to-date, neither the terms of reference nor the outcome of the review process has been made publicly available.
 
Several other concerns were also raised with regard to Program 11, including over the change of name of the Academy, the performance indicators of the Program, topics to be addressed by the Training Center etc.
 
SECRETARIAT'S PROPOSAL: WIPO TRAINING CENTER (PROGRAM 11)
 
Program 11 of the draft P&B prepared by the Secretariat states that in 1998, the WIPO Academy was the main provider of training and teaching but today, several of WIPO's Programs offer a training component.
 
According to the Program elaboration, the independent review recommended that "in order to achieve a more integrated planning of WIPO training and capacity building activities and maximize available resources, in the mid-term, all such activities should be regrouped in a single operational unit (‘the WIPO Training Center')."
 
The Program further adds that the Center would become the "core organization-wide vehicle for training and capacity building" with five main roles: An implementing agency for the direct delivery of professional training; a catalyst of networks and partnerships to expand the range and impact of training opportunities in countries; an in-house center of excellence on training; an open-access on-line clearing house of information on all WIPO training activities, tools and services; and a hub of virtual network of partners, experts and teachers in development-oriented IP (intellectual property) training.
 
The draft P&B (under Program 11) also states that "the review is critical of the Academy's lack of explicit policies on partnership and transparent mechanism for content review, update and development orientation, its current skill set and insufficient synergies with other areas of the Organization," adding that the independent review also "sketched a five year plan for the transition from the current arrangements to the establishment of a fully-fledged WIPO Training Center and formulated detailed recommendations on the Center's mandate, policies, scope and modes of operation".
 
Thus, in the next biennium (2014/2015), the Secretariat proposes that "WIPO will set the basis for repositioning the Academy as the core unit for WIPO training and capacity building for developing countries, LDCs and countries with economies in transition".
 
It will also conduct a global revision of the professional training portfolio currently offered by the Academy, and will prioritise training government officials and public sector employees from Member States (including policymakers and administrators from any government agency or ministry where IP issues emerge, judges and diplomats), as well as organisations engaged in national consultative processes on IP policymaking and associations of stakeholders with demonstrated potential to multiply training among their constituencies.
 
In terms of topics, the Secretariat proposes that the revised portfolio for the training center will be developed along four axes: "international and national IP policy and law, IP administration, use of IP for development and creativity and innovation".
 
[The topic of "use of IP for development" addresses a very narrow aspect of the interface between IP and development. For the training center to relevantly address issues of developing countries, it should address ways in which the international and national IP systems produce not only opportunities but also challenges and concerns in the development process. The center should also focus on the use of flexibilities, on open collaborative models (e. g. human genome models) and innovative models that promotes access to knowledge and technology; (e. g. open source, etc).]
 
According to the draft P&B, modalities of implementation for the training center will continue to be a combination of core regular courses with practical training modules where relevant; a range of "on demand" short training modules, a limited number of pre-defined study visits per year; distance learning (through the distance learning program), scholarships for graduate education and provision of tools and networks for local capacity building and a limited number of Summer Schools on a rotational basis.
 
The draft P&B says that "while WIPO cannot compete with law faculties, it is considered that it has an important role to play in facilitating access to higher education on IP". It adds that, "In the short term WIPO should continue its support for graduate level education on IP through joint master programs. Ultimately WIPO's role should evolve from the one of joint provider of diplomas to a role of broker, catalyst and advisor".
 
It further states that the "Center will start developing its role of catalyst through the establishment of a virtual network of top universities engaged in training on IP and IP related issues (technology, innovation, cultural industries, industrial strategy, development), negotiating reduced fees for developing country participants in developed countries LLMs; providing scholarships for the best developing country students in their programs, providing advisory services on the creation of new master programs and providing advice on integration of IP training into undergraduate and graduate law courses and other relevant courses, including use of WIPO DL modules for credit".
 
It states, too, that it will also improve its distant learning (DL) course including by establishing a mechanism for regular expert review of quality and development orientation of content and tutors with input from external experts, adding that the DL Program will continue to partner with national IP offices to run DL courses in the respective national languages and systems (customization projects) as well as with universities, research and development institutions and Technology Innovation Support Centers (TISCs).
 
It further states that the "Centre will continue to interact with the Global Network of IP Academies (GNIPA) and explore opportunities for integrating GNIPA into a Broader Virtual Network of IP Educators, Trainers and Alumni".
 
It also adds that the Program will continue to assist Member States in the establishment of national Start-up Academies based on the experiences and lessons learned from the two phases of the Development Agenda Pilot Project for the Establishment of "Start-up" national IP Academies implemented in the biennia 2010/11 and 2012/13.
 
[Start-up national IP academies were established as a pilot project for implementing Recommendation 10 of the WIPO Development Agenda, which states: "To assist Member States to develop and improve national intellectual property institutional capacity through further development of infrastructure and other facilities with a view to making national intellectual property institutions more efficient and promote fair balance between intellectual property protection and the public interest. This technical assistance should also be extended to sub-regional and regional organizations dealing with intellectual property."]
 
CONCERNS OF WIPO MEMBERS
 
Brazil, on behalf of the Development Agenda Group (DAG), said that it could not approve the Program if Members were not given access to the information that generated the changes.
 
Iran supported the DAG's request for the Independent Review to be released to WIPO Members, stressing also that the mechanism for regular expert review should be applicable to all WIPO training programs and not just be limited to the distant learning program. It also sought clarification on whether developing countries were involved in identifying the new topics of the Training Center, that were mentioned in the draft P&B. It welcomed expansion of the topics to encompass more issues for developing countries.
 
Algeria, on behalf of the Africa Group, sought assurance that the changes would not affect delivery of the products of the WIPO Academy, stressing that it wished to keep the name "WIPO Academy". It also referred to the findings of the Independent Review, which was critical of the Academy's "lack of explicit policies on partnership and transparent mechanism for content review, update and development orientation, its current skill set and insufficient synergies with other areas of the Organization", adding that it wished to see Performance Indicators on each of these items, including on "Orientation".
 
Algeria asked, "How do we know what is the content of the training?" It also sought an indicator to be added linking the training center to the start-up national IP academies.
 
Chile also supported the DAG's request for the independent review, stressing that it was important to know the background. It added that apart from cost-efficiency, the impact on developing countries should also be considered. It supported retaining the name of "WIPO Academy".
 
In response, the Secretariat said that it had no problem in retaining the term "Academy" although most UN agencies, when providing professional training, call it "Training Center". "The idea was to make clear that it is not a law faculty. It is an operational unit that provides services to developing countries, which includes higher education and training," it explained.
 
On the call to release the independent review, the Secretariat justified its refusal by arguing that since the Academy was established in 1998, no review had taken place and only 1/3 of the resources spent on human training and capacity-building was allocated to the Academy.
 
It said that the rationale for commissioning the assessment was to ensure whether the Secretariat was working in the right direction, and using the right resources, and how to better coordinate and plan the activities.
 
The Secretariat stressed that the study was not something for discussion of Member States. It said that the WIPO management took note of the 20-page report, and took on some of its recommendations but not others.
 
WIPO's Carlotta Graffigna insisted, "I have as a position that this report was not meant to be distributed to member states. Unfortunately, this is the position I am expressing".
 
Brazil pressed on, stating that WIPO Members should have access to the 20-page document to be able to make an informed decision.
 
Belgium, on behalf of Group B, supported the Secretariat, stating that the external review should remain as internal advice.
 
Iran said that while it understood the Secretariat's reasoning, the main thrust of the Secretariat's proposal is based on the independent review and so it was difficult to accept changes and the proposal since Members are not aware of the reasoning.

 


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