European Coalition for Vision backs Marrakesh Treaty

ECV Chair David Hewlett

The European Coalition for Vision (ECV) has warmly endorsed the Marrakesh Treaty on accessible reading materials and congratulated the World Blind Union and World Intellectual Property Organization on their campaign to get all countries to ratify the treaty. 

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled received the support of 20 countries, enabling it to be adopted on 30 September 2016. However the European Union and individual member states are still seeking to resolve whether the EU can ratify the treaty on behalf of all member states or whether each member state needs to ratify it separately.

Speaking for the Coalition, ECV Chair David Hewlett said: “Books open windows on the world for everyone, so this is an issue of equality and fairness.  We urge our European governments to ratify the treaty with the minimum of delay. We are delighted to highlight and support the Treaty as the ECV, along with other champions for eye health and equality around the world, promotes World Sight Day this Thursday, 13 October.”

Bob Chappell, ECV member for the European Council for Optometry and Optics (ECOO) and Chair of the ECV’s Healthy and Active Ageing work-stream, said: “We applaud the hard work of the WBU and WIPO to facilitate access to published works for people who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise unable to read   printed materials. This is key to independence and healthy and active ageing: Europe should be at the forefront of those taking action.”    


 Notes for Editors

The ECV is an alliance of professional bodies, patient groups, NGOs, disabled people's organisations, trade associations representing suppliers and research groups in the eye health sector in Europe. It works to raise the profile of eye health and vision, help prevent avoidable visual impairment and secure an equal and inclusive society for those with irreversible blindness or low vision in Europe.

The ECV is running a social media awareness campaign in support of World Sight Day on 13 October.  For more information visit www.ecvision/WSD2016-1

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organisation representing the estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted.  Members are organisations of and for the blind in 180 countries, as well as international organisations working in the field of vision impairment.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation