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Update on Review of WIPO’s Technical Assistance Programs

23-Aug-2012 | Source : | Visits : 7913
GENEVA - Further to the press statement of July 19, 2012, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry has provided the following update on the actions being undertaken by the Organization in response to the concerns expressed by certain member states in relation to some of WIPO’s technical assistance programs. 

The Director General reaffirms the seriousness with which WIPO is treating concerns regarding the provision of assistance to countries that are the subject of UN sanctions.

The independent, external inquiry commissioned by WIPO into any technical assistance provided to states subject to UN sanctions, with particular reference to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Islamic Republic of Iran, is currently underway. It is being conducted by two highly qualified individuals - Stig Edqvist, a Swedish national, and John P. Barker, a United States national.

Edqvist is a Detective Superintendent with the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation, which he joined in 1981. From October 1997 to February 2012, he was the head of the investigation into the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme. In February 2012, he was seconded by the Government of Sweden to European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) in Pristina, Kosovo.

Barker is an attorney in the Washington, DC office of Arnold and Porter LLP. He is an expert on issues related to international sanctions and export controls, and served in the US Department of State under two presidents, where he held senior positions in the areas of non-proliferation and export controls.

The inquiry will review the nature and extent of activities related to the said countries and will report on the conformity of those activities with the program and budget of the organization (approved by member states) and on the compliance with UN sanctions regimes.

The inquiry is fully independent, and is operating within the terms of WIPO's Internal Oversight Charter (as approved by member states), which guarantees unrestricted access to all WIPO records and personnel and confidentiality and protection from reprisals against staff.

Edqvist and Barker are expected to complete their work and submit a report on their findings by September 10, 2012. The report will be made available in full to WIPO’s member states.

In addition, as announced in the July 19, 2012 press release, WIPO has requested the advice of the UN Sanctions Committees for DPRK and for Iran on the provision of computer equipment and on future proposed activities. WIPO continues to cooperate fully with any requests for information it receives from member states about its technical assistance programs.

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