An EBU-funded project – paving the way to ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty in the Balkan Countries.

The project, led by the EBU member in Montenegro, the Union of the Blind of Montenegro, has as its main objective to raise awareness in Montenegro and the Western Balkans countries about the Marrakesh Treaty, its significance and the opportunities it offers for visually impaired persons.

It aims to smooth the path towards ratification of the Treaty by organising meetings and information sessions with representatives of the authorities, the Ministry of Culture, and parliamentary groups, as well as the Working Group on EU negotiating chapter 7. Intellectual property law. It will also establish a support and lobbying group on the road to ratification, which will deal with the challenges of ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty and will also strengthen regional cooperation on the Treaty, providing information on the facts and challenges to be met on the way to ratification.

By sharing concrete details and raising awareness the project hopes to facilitate the ratification process not just in Montenegro but throughout the Western Balkans region, specifically in Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (RS), Albania. With this in mind round tables will be held in different countries and a media campaign will widen the target group beyond the visually impaired community to include their families, friends and society at large.

The project will begin in 2018 and will last for 10 months. It is funded in part through the EBU solidarity fund. It is closely related to the wide ranging EBU campaign for ratification and effective implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty. The project is timely in that it follows on from a training course held by EBU in Okroglo, Slovenia, on 30 November and 1 December 2017.  Co-funded by the Open Society Foundation and attended by 37 participants from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and Spain, the training course aimed to provide support to stakeholders involved in the Treaty ratification and implementation in the Balkans. Other initiatives, such as the round table organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Tirana on 6-7 March 2018, will contribute to building the capacity of EBU members in the region to secure fit for purpose copyright legislation. In particular, the round table enabled participants to meet with, for example, a representative of the Audio Book Consortium.

EBU will follow this project closely and continue to disseminate information on the proceedings.