Pakistani envoy strong candidate to head WIPO
GENEVA: Pakistan’s Ambassador to United Nations Rights Council Masood Khan is a strong candidate in the race to head the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), diplomats say.
Many diplomats predict that one of the final two candidates could be Khan, who has led an increasingly fierce assault of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on Western ‘Islamophobia’ and “oppression of Muslims”. WIPO faces a potentially bitter North-South battle this week over who will steer it through the next six years.
A total of 14 candidates are on the list to replace Director General (DG) Kamal Idris of Sudan, who is stepping down a year early after accusations that he faked his birth date to win quick promotion within the body. "This is very important for business because WIPO plays a key role in managing global patent and trademark pacts which underpin many trade agreements. And the DG can certainly influence the line it takes," said one IP analyst.
Facing off against Khan could be Australia's Frances Gurry, seen as the architect of WIPO's Internet domain name dispute settlement system as well as being a deputy director general, and another Idris deputy, former French ambassador Philippe Petit. Some diplomats who follow UN activities in Geneva say the WIPO election could reflect a wider struggle for influence in the world body between Western nations and Islamic countries and their allies -- African states, Russia, China and Cuba. ‘North’ countries have 30 seats on the committee, the OIC has 18 and non-Islamic African and Asian states – including China, North Korea and Russia – that normally line up with the OIC in the Rights Council, have 20.
Voting by secret ballot begins on Tuesday, with each round eliminating two candidates until nine are left. Then one will be eliminated each round, leaving room, WIPO officials say, for negotiations on withdrawal and switching support. reuters