I will modernize IP institutions for developing nations – Kwakwa

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Ghana’s candidate for Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr Edward Kwakwa, says, he is going to ensure efficient management of the ever- increasing demand for intellectual property titles and related services.

His core goal will be to promote the use of these services as well as increase efficiency gains and resource optimization, adding “I will pay particular attention to catering to the needs and concerns of the user community, including the efficient use of Artificial Intelligence and other new technologies”.

This is contained in a statement, setting out his vision, to build a reliable foundation that would give the Organization a promising future.

Mr. Kwakwa, Senior Director, Department for Traditional Knowledge and Global Challenges, WIPO, Geneva, Switzerland, is seeking to lead the specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).

He explains that: “Over two-thirds of WIPO’s membership consists of least-developed countries (LDCs), developing countries, and countries in transition.

To be able to fulfil its mandate WIPO needed to deliver value-added services to all its Member States.

That is why the “menu of existing services will be further enhanced, in order to facilitate greater use and participation by LDCs, developing countries, and countries in transition – both in innovation and in the creative industries.

“I will strive to modernize IP institutions and promote enhanced human resource capacities to deal with the broad range of requirements for the effective use of IP for development.

“One such way to enhance these human resource capacities is to further develop specialized training and e-learning at the WIPO Academy, a center of excellence for IP capacity building.”

He adds that: “WIPO Development Agenda and the programs of WIPO continue to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“This will enhance innovation and create more focused action plans customized to respond to the needs of LDCs, developing countries, and countries in transition.”

He points out that the success of the Organization relies on its constituent parts and therefore dialogue and effective communication between the various constituents of the Organization is going to be accorded priority.

“Member States are arguably the Organization’s most important asset. I fully recognize that it is in the interests of Member States that the IP system is evolving for the benefit of the international community.

“I will work closely with each and every one of the Member States to recapture the spirit of consensus. This will enable WIPO to address one of the Organization’s most pressing issues: balancing the mutual support between registration systems and development activities.

“Working with Member States, my goal will be to improve transparency and efficient management of Member State-approved resources. I will also prioritize instilling trust between Member States and the Secretariat while facilitating inclusiveness and collaboration.”

Mr. Kwakwa casts the business, industry, academia and research organizations, IP practitioners and user communities as important partners and stakeholders, noting that, WIPO has strong relations with them.

A key objective of my leadership will be to improve these relations by strengthening partnerships, so that targeted programs can be implemented to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from the IP system.

He would be working towards strengthening WIPO’s partnership with relevant intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, and other stakeholders, all of which play a very important role in the global IP system.

WIPO’s effectiveness is contingent on a productive and diligent staff. Their level of productivity would be further increased by improving the staff morale and ensuring a feeling of belonging to the Organization; that each staff member brings value to achieving WIPO’s goals.

“WIPO must continue to attract, retain, and promote the best possible staff with the right skillset for the effective performance of services. In order to do so, essential aspects of my internal management focus will include further enhancing gender balance and geographic diversity.

“I will work towards increasing the transparency of objective rules for recruitment and promotion, such that staff can work in a climate that is conducive to both work efficacy, and personal and professional growth.

“I am passionate about the future of WIPO and the importance that its Member States attach to the Organization, its mandate, and the global IP system in general.

In my 23 years at WIPO, I have demonstrated considerable leadership in running the Office of Legal Counsel, the Department for Traditional Knowledge and Global Challenges, and serving in the Senior Management Teams of the Organization.

“In particular, I advised the Director General on the exercise of his depository functions, which enabled an effective implementation of WIPO’s 26 treaties. I also assisted in the resolution of legal questions relating to the application of WIPO Staff Regulations, thus ensuring better governance and increased transparency throughout the Organization.

“Throughout my time at WIPO, I have acquired important management and leadership skills. My time serving as Legal Counsel and in the Senior Management Teams of the Organization have permitted me to gain unique insight and to develop a deep knowledge of the institutional rules and operating systems of WIPO.

“These insights and experiences have aided me to observe the strengths of the Organization, and to note the potential areas for improvement. I am confident that my extensive experience will allow me to bring this wealth of knowledge to the important task of leading WIPO in the years ahead.

“WIPO needs a reliable and capable leadership team, grounded in a deep understanding of the complex IP and institutional issues at play. I believe that I have the best mix of experience, skills and management vision to lead WIPO into the future, and to make it an efficient, inclusive and forward-looking organization that can move along with the global transformation of the IP landscape, for the benefit its Member States and stakeholders.

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