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WIPO Opening Remarks by Maryanne Diamond

Opening Remarks WIPO DIP Com 18 June 2013
By: Maryanne Diamond on behalf of the WBU
Thank you Mr.​ Chairman for the opportunity to speak at this most important Diplomatic conference.
The WBU represents the 285 Million persons in the world who are blind or have low vision. We have members in all continents of the world: from North America, Latin America, Europe Africa Asia and Asia pacific.
Some representatives from our member organisations are here with me today and we will be here throughout this conference. We have been working towards this important day for more than 30 years. In particular, over the last 5 years through WIPO’s SCCR. 
Distinguished delegates, blind and print disabled people have access to between 1 – 7 % of published books in the world depending on where you live. 80% of blind people live in the developing world so for the majority of our members, the figure is closer to the 1%. 
This treaty can make a huge difference in the lives of our members. Access to education, employment, culture, and recreational reading, gives people choice. Without it, those people are marginalised and for many this means they do not take their rightful place in their community.
Please remember the right to information is a human right!
I urge you to play your part in making a difference in the lives of these millions of people, by agreeing a treaty that is simple, usable and meaningful. We cannot accept a treaty which has no substance, nor, can we accept a treaty full of bureaucratic and cumbersome requirements. We cannot accept a trophy treaty that will not work in practice.

When considering your proposals, changes or amendments to the text, please stop and think about what that change will make on the ground to the people this treaty is about.
You have received copies of our positions on the key issues in the current text of concern to us.
·         Commercial availability in articles D and E will ensure the treaty fails
·         The treaty must allow for distribution to individuals
·         The treaty must not allow TPMs to be a block to access to a book by blind people
Please ask us if you’re not sure what the impact of text you are considering will be on the ground. We are here for the entire conference. 
Ladies and gentlemen; these next few days you have a chance to create history and really do some good in the world for an often marginalised part of humanity. Please seize it with both hands and help us write a new chapter in the story of blind people’s inclusion in society.