The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

A Reference Guide

Elgar Practical Guides

Carolyn Deere Birkbeck

Written by a leading WIPO commentator, The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): A Reference Guide is the first comprehensive reference book to illuminate the nuts and bolts of WIPO governance. This practical guide offers a unique insight into how WIPO is governed, described in clear, readily accessible terms for policymakers, scholars and stakeholders. The Guide reviews the origins of WIPO and sets out its current functions and activities, presenting a framework for analysing WIPO’s complex governance system. The text is accompanied by a number of valuable appendices, including key documents that have to date not been readily available to the public.

Chapter 7: Mechanisms for control, oversight and accountability of the WIPO Secretariat

Carolyn Deere Birkbeck

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


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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