A Reference Guide
Elgar Practical Guides
Chapter 7: Mechanisms for control, oversight and accountability of the WIPO Secretariat
The World Intellectual Property Organization is the subject of several internal, external and independent oversight mechanisms. This chapter reviews WIPO’s audit and oversight mechanisms, its regulations and policies with regard to evaluation, the role and activities of the organisation’s Legal Counsel, and other accountability mechanisms, such as those that address the roles, responsibilities and conduct of WIPO staff. The WIPO Independent Advisory Oversight Committee (IAOC) (formerly known as the Audit Committee) is an independent, expert advisory and external oversight body charged with providing ‘assurance to Member States on the adequate and effectiveness of internal controls and of internal and external oversight at WIPO.’ It also aims to ‘assist Member States in their role of oversight and in exercising their governance responsibilities’ with respect to WIPO’s various operations. Its mandate includes promoting internal controls (including review of the organisation’s Financial Regulations, arrangements for risk management, ethics and misconduct); providing assurance to the General Assembly (such as by reviewing the internal audit function, promoting effective coordination between the internal and audit function, and the collective coverage of WIPO’s various internal oversight functions); overseeing compliance with internal and external oversight recommendations; monitoring the delivery and content of financial statements; and overseeing and supporting investigations. The IAOC makes recommendations to the PBC, as it considers appropriate. The Committee members serve in their personal capacity, without remuneration and independent of the Member States that appoint them.
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