[Ip-health] WIPO Academy to be revamped, independent review remains secret

Sangeeta Shashikant ssangeeta at myjaring.net
Thu Jul 18 02:19:50 PDT 2013

    TWN Info Service on Intellectual Property Issues (July13/04)
    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
    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
    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 (Œthe 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,
    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."]
    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
    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
    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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