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WIPO General Assemblies: Statement on Behalf of Group B Countries

The UK's Ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva, Simon Manley, delivered this statement during the Assemblies of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on behalf of Group B countries.

Honourable Chair, Director General, Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Group B. We would like to thank you and vice-chairs for continued leadership. We would equally like to thank the Director-General and the Secretariat.

Group B wants the General Assembly, this organisation’s highest governing body, to be forward looking, to steer the work of its subsidiary bodies and, where possible, to resolve stalemates.

It is undoubtable that intellectual property, an intrinsic part of innovation and creativity ecosystems, continues to drive our global economic, social and cultural development. This is supported by evidence. This year’s Global Innovation Index provides a timely reminder of the important role of the IP [intellectual property] system in supporting solutions.

We are glad to be part of an organisation that is working to support a well-functioning and balanced global IP framework that has underpinned the drive for and dissemination of innovation. This includes through enabling voluntary IP licensing and technology transfer initiatives on mutually agreed terms, providing support for grassroots innovators and encouraging collaboration between public sector, industry and academia. We must make sure that, going forward, the IP system remains fit-for-purpose and provides incentives for human ingenuity that can benefit all.

We support the recommended Covid-19 package, which will strengthen the leadership and convening power of WIPO to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, we are grateful for how WIPO has continued to adapt and provide its IP services throughout the pandemic, giving applicants clarity, while pursuing digital transformation. We support updates to the PCT, Madrid and Hague systems to make it easier for applicants to file their IP rights electronically. We expect that building user-friendly tools for customers remains a priority at WIPO and that this organization will use lessons from this pandemic to be even more adaptive in the future.

We are very pleased that the new vision of the Director General, expressed so eloquently this morning, to be brought into reality by next biennium’s program of work and budget, cuts to the very core of what we expect from WIPO, focusing on how all individuals, communities and businesses can benefit from IP. We applaud the Director General’s internal leadership, engaging WIPO staff in the process of defining strategies and priorities, as well as continuing collaborating with other organisations such as WHO and WTO. We continue to support him and his team to deliver on the organization’s medium-term strategic plan.

Chair, innovation and creativity know no boundaries. Group B members see a strong role for this organisation in current and future global challenges and opportunities; for example climate change, food security, artificial intelligence and other frontier technologies, inclusive innovation and creativity. We are committed to supporting WIPO as it enables economies and societies to respond to these issues. We recognize the important role of WIPO services, for example WIPO Green and WIPO Re:Search, for bringing together innovators and those who use innovations for the benefit of all.

Chair, as stated, Group B wants the General Assembly to be forward looking. We are committed to work with the Director General and Member States to enable the 2022 WIPO Assemblies to be a key forum of the innovation and creativity debate. This, we believe, will be a core element of making IP more relevant to the public at large, thereby developing and cementing the role of the international IP framework in driving innovative and creative economies across the globe.

In closing, Chair, let me thank you again personally for your leadership and assure you of our constructive engagement by Group B delegations.

Thank you, Chair.


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