SCCR24: Opening statement of the African Group

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has convened the 24th Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) which will take place from 16 July 2012 to 25 July 2012 at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Ambassador Darlington Mwape (Zambia) is chairing the 24th SCCR. The morning session of the SCCR witnessed opening remarks by group coordinators. The following statement was delivered by Egypt on behalf of the African Group.

African Group Opening Statement
Mr. Chairman

Egypt is pleased to make this statement on behalf of the African Group

The African Group would like to congratulate you on your election as the chair of SCCR. The group looks forward to working under your leadership, and is confident that you will spare no efforts in advancing the work of this important committee.

The African Group believes that the 24 session of SCCR is particularly important. As per its mandate, SCCR 24 will have three working days dedicated to limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and persons with other disabilities. Moreover, SCCR 24 is requested to submit recommendation to the 2012 WIPO General Assembly, pursuant to its authority, on limitations and exceptions for these important subject matters.

As such, SCCR 24 is expected to conduct its textual work regarding Exceptions and Limitations for education and research on the African Group Proposal contained in document SCCR/22/12 and titled “Draft WIPO Treaty on Exceptions and Limitations for the Persons with Disabilities, Educational and Research Institutions, Libraries and Archives”. As the committee Members would like to recall, this textual work was preceded by extensive technical work culminating in several studies prepared or commissioned by WIPO and mapping different limitations and exceptions in many different countries. These documents and studies, including but not limited to, questionnaire on limitations and exceptions, and five major studies presented and discussed in SCCR previous sessions on Limitations and Exceptions to copyright and related rights for the purposes of educational and research in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Africa, in Arab countries, in Asia and Australia, and in North America, Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia and Israel. In other words, SCCR 24 will benefit from a long track record of technical work and expertise conducted throughout the past years.

It is well evidenced that African countries need access to educational materials and resources in order to ensure development of human resources as well as their overall cultural, social and economic development. In this regard, the international copyright system should contribute towards achieving this African development priority, through agreeing on a minimum standard of international harmonization for exceptions and limitations.

Mr. Chairman

In the same direction, SCCR 24 is also expected to advance the discussions and progress achieved regarding other Exceptions and Limitations for libraries, archives, people with print disabilities and/or other disabilities.

In this regard, the group looks forward to engaging constructively on these important issues, in order to assist libraries and archives to continue their crucial roles as custodian of human knowledge and indispensable platforms to facilitate access to information and research materials for all societies and communities.

There is a need also to advance the progress on exceptions and limitation for people with print disabilities and/or other disabilities to ensure their welfare and development, to empower them with a treaty that capture effective exceptions and limitations allowing them to fully exercise their right of access to information and knowledge.

Mr. Chairman,

In the area of protection of broadcasting, we hope two days allocated to issue will be used effectively to advance the work of the committee.

At this important juncture in the work of SCCR, the African Group would like to recall the guiding principles that have served the committee well in its past deliberations … These principles include the commitment to WIPO Development Agenda Recommendations, following a global, transparent and an inclusive approach, ensuring equal treatment for all exceptions and limitations, and acknowledging the needs and priorities of developing countries for cultural, social and economic development.

The Group strong believes that SCCR should remain committed to these important principles so as to further our common objective for an international copyright system that is balanced, development oriented and capable of incentivizing innovation and creativity in developing countries.

Thank you