SCCR 33 WBU Statement on the progress of the Marrakesh Treaty

Chris Friend for the WBU delivered the following statment:

>> WORLD BLIND UNION: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and it gives me great pleasure, recognizing the central role that you had in concluding the negotiations at the diplomatic conference in June 2013. It's a great pleasure for me to congratulate you for your continued Chairing of this important Standing Committee.

Thank you also for responding favorably to my request for a brief statement on this occasion because the World Blind Union was very aware that the celebrations which WIPO conducted so magnificently on the 5th of October would not have been enjoyed by many of the capital technical experts who come just to SCCR, and it was the Delegations here in this room who actually did the work and put the Marrakech Treaty into the hands of the visually impaired and print disabled.

The 30th of September was an amazing day for millions and millions of us around the world, as we then had this treaty operational.

Obviously, now, this committee only has an ongoing small role with the Marrakech Treaty Council in years to come, but there's a lot of work to be done which gross directly into the hands of the Member States and your -- which goes directly into the hands of the Member States and your copyright di vivtions and parliaments because the next step is ratification. I note that 80 Member States signed the treaty within the first 12 months, but only 25 have so far taken forward that intention (divisions) and ratified it.

What is important now that we're operational is to remember that only the print disabled of those 25 countries actually have the benefit of the provisions of the treaty, which this Standing Committee worked so hard to deliver. Many Member States sitting here will be in countries cross-border. You will see the blind and the visually impaired and print disabled in neighboring countries benefiting with books in in accessible formats, but those communities in if your own country will not be able to take up this benefit, and so the World Blind Union urges all countries to take very seriously the urgent need to ratify and to domesticate this treaty into your copyright law.

The World Blind Union has commissioned a very important guide to the Marrakech Treaty aimed specifically to assist the doe mess dication aimed to support the copyright and intellectual property right divisions of government and the parliamentarians to understand article by article and to make sure that there are no unnecessary barriers built into doe mess dication. The treaty was specifically designed to break down barriers, so we will be publishing -- the Oxford Community Press will be publishing this guide in the beginning of February, and I'm here all this week and will obviously enjoy talking to many Delegations and especially capital experts, but it is something that we would like to share with this committee very personally because it was your hard work which has given the blind and print disabled around the world literally hundreds of millions of disabled people now have the potential to benefit and to participate in Civil Society to a much greater extent, so I would like to end by wishing this committee every ongoing success in your work, just as you gave the World Blind Union and the beneficiaries of the Marrakech Treaty a way forward because of your commitment to our cause.