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Election of the Director General in 2020

The term of office of the Director General of WIPO will expire on September 30, 2020.  Consequently, as set forth below, WIPO Member States have been engaged in the process of the election of the next Director General, whose term of office will begin on October 1, 2020.  

Invitation for proposals

On September 30, 2019, in accordance with the constitutional provisions and procedures governing the nomination and appointment of Directors General of WIPO, Ambassador François Rivasseau, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations, in his capacity as Chair of the WIPO Coordination Committee, issued Note C. N 3926 PDF, Note C. N 3926 inviting the Government of every State member of WIPO, if it so desired, to propose the name of one of its nationals as candidate for nomination by the WIPO Coordination Committee.

The proposals for candidates for nomination to the post of Director General that were received by the deadline of 5 p.m. on Monday, December 30, 2019, are listed below.

Procedures and timeline for the nomination and appointment of the Director General

On October 9, 2019, during the 59th Series of meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO, the WIPO General Assembly, the WIPO Coordination Committee and the Paris and Berne Union Assemblies approved new 2019 Procedures for the Nomination and Appointment of Directors General of WIPO.

In addition, Member States approved the convening of the following extraordinary sessions of the relevant bodies as part of the timeline for the election of the Director General in 2020:

Proposed candidates

The following list provides, in the order in which they were received, the candidates proposed by their respective governments for nomination to the post of Director General of WIPO in 2020, together with the notifications of the respective submissions as issued by the Chair of the WIPO Coordination Committee:

Candidate Proposed by Relevant documents
Ms. Saule Tlevlessova Republic of Kazakhstan Circular PDF, Nomination of Ms. Saule Tlevlessova
Mr. Daren Tang Republic of Singapore Circular PDF, Nomination of Mr. Daren Tang
Mr. Kenichiro Natsume Japan Candidacy withdrawn (February 14, 2020)
[Circular PDF, Withdrawal of Mr. Kenichiro Natsume]
Ms. WANG Binying China Circular PDF, Nomination of Ms. WANG Binying
Dr. Edward Kwakwa Ghana Circular PDF, Nomination of Dr. Edward Kwakwa
Mr. Marco Matías Alemán Colombia Circular PDF, Nomination of Mr. Marco Aleman
Dr. Dámaso Pardo Argentina Candidacy withdrawn (February 4, 2020)
[Circular PDF, Withdrawal of Dr. Dámaso Pardo]
Professor Adebambo Adewopo Nigeria Candidacy withdrawn (February 12, 2020)
[Circular PDF, Nomination of Professor Adebambo Adewopo]
Mr. Ivo Gagliuffi Piercechi Peru Circular PDF, Nomination of Mr. Ivo Gagliuffi Piercechi
Mr. Jüri Seilenthal Estonia Candidacy withdrawn (January 22, 2020)
[Circular PDF, Withdrawal of Mr. Jüri Seilenthal]

Following the closure of the deadline for submissions, a formal document consolidating all proposed candidates was prepared for consideration by the WIPO Coordination Committee.

Extraordinary Session of the Coordination Committee

On March 4, 2020, the WIPO Coordination Committee met in Extraordinary Session in order to nominate a candidate to the post of Director General of WIPO from among the six proposed candidates. Following two rounds of voting, conducted by secret ballot, the Coordination Committee nominated Mr. Daren Tang for appointment to the post of Director General by the WIPO General Assembly, the Paris Union Assembly, and the Berne Union Assembly.

Extraordinary Sessions of the General Assembly, the Paris Union Assembly and the Berne Union Assembly

On May 7 and 8, 2020, the WIPO General Assembly, the Paris Union Assembly, and the Berne Union Assembly will meet in Extraordinary Session to appoint the next Director General of WIPO. 

In light of the unprecedented public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and related restrictions on public gatherings, Member States have agreed to conduct, exceptionally, the meeting of the WIPO Assemblies on May 7 and 8 in the form of a written procedure.   

Constitutional provisions

The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO Convention) contains the following provisions on the nomination and appointment of the Director General.

Provision regarding the nomination

Article 8(3) WIPO Convention

“The Coordination Committee shall:

“…(v) when the term of office of the Director General is about to expire, or when there is a vacancy in the post of the Director General, nominate a candidate for appointment to such position by the General Assembly; if the General Assembly does not appoint its nominee, the Coordination Committee shall nominate another candidate; this procedure shall be repeated until the latest nominee is appointed by the General Assembly”;

Provisions regarding the appointment

Article 6(2) WIPO Convention

“The General Assembly shall:

“(i) appoint the Director General upon nomination by the Coordination Committee”;

Article 6(3) WIPO Convention

“(g) For the appointment of the Director General…the required majority must be attained not only in the General Assembly but also in the Assembly of the Paris Union and the Assembly of the Berne Union.”