[A2k] WIPO Extraordinary General Assembly: Statement of Benin on behalf of Least-Developed Countries in favor of Treaty for the Blind

Thirukumaran Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Dec 17 03:00:43 PST 2012


WIPO Extraordinary General Assembly: Statement of Benin on behalf of Least-Developed Countries in favor of Treaty for the Blind

Submitted by thiru on 17. December 2012 - 12:44

This was the statement delivered by Benin on behalf of least-developed countries at the Forty-Second (22nd Extraordinary) Session of the WIPO General Assembly on 17 December 2012.

BENIN: Thank, Chairman. I do thank you for giving me the floor. I would like to begin here by apologizing on behalf of my ambassador. He would have loved to be with us this morning, but unfortunately he had other commitments and he was unable to attend this meeting.

Having said that, I would now like to make my statement on behalf of the LDC group. Benin is delighted to see you in the Chair at this, the 42nd session of WIPO's General Assemblies, and our group is fully convinced that under your able guidance we will indeed achieve very constructive results and result that will satisfy the expectations that we have in terms of overcoming the challenges that we face in this area and producing and international legal instrument in order to facilitate access to published works for VIPs and person with print disabilities. The LDC group assures you of its support for your endeavors and that we will work constructively with you. We wish to congratulate Francis Gurry Director General of WIPO and all of his team on their tireless efforts made with every day that goes by they seek to attain the objectives of our organisation and in particular to work in order to assist LDCs.

We are gathered here today in order to assess the text that we have on limitations and exceptions for VIPs and person with print disabilities, and to decide to whether to convene a Diplomatic Conference in 2013. As I think has already been clearly demonstrated by what has been said here, there is a real commitment to our organisation's humanitarian vocation and it is clear that we are all willing to do our utmost in order to ensure that visually impaired persons and person with print disabilities can enjoy access to the fruits of our progress including our technological progress on the same footing as everyone else. And I'm making this statement here on behalf of LDCs, and I would be unable to make this statement if I was not able myself to see, thanks to the goodness of Providence. I'm able to see and to read the documents in front of me and also I can see what is going on around me.

And we're now asking that something be done for those who have not been so favored by nature, who have not been able to enjoy clear sight and therefore who are hindered in their access to knowledge and in their perception of the world around them.

The group, the LDC group, wishes to commend the work that has been done by the SCCR group over more than 14 years. They have worked very carefully on this text, indeed, and they have produced a very carefully crafted document. We now need to assess it very painstakingly indeed and ensure that it does strike the right balance between copyright and one hand and the needs of VIPs on the others.

The time is not now for pious hopes and statements of intent. It's time for us to get down to action, to work constructively in order to produce a positive outcome and I believe that a positive outcome from our meeting could be a significant step forward in overcoming the natural discrimination which still affects a swathe of the population of this planet and in a wish to promote justice and equity and fairness, we must ensure that access to knowledge is shared by all and access to education is available to all. And this is fully in line with the MDGs, as you all know.

Millions of people in the world today are visually impaired. And more than 90 percent of those people live in developing countries, a very high proportion of them in LDCs. And those people are today expecting a decision from our meeting here. They're listening for our decisions, for our recommendations, for any initiative that can be taken in order to move forward negotiation on an international instrument on limitations and exceptions. This is what they need in order to improve the way in which they live, to improve their standard of live, to allow them to participate actively in the life of their communities, and they are expecting a lot from us. We also wish to support the statement made by Egypt on behalf of the African Group and to wish this meeting every success.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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