Day 4 of this 42nd meeting of the SCCR picked up exactly where Day 3 left off, with discussions on exceptions and limitations and observer organisations continuing their statements.
Day 3 of SCCR 42 opened with further discussion and analysis of the new text on the broadcasting treaty with the afternoon reserved for discussions on exceptions and limitations.
Following the eventful first day of SCCR 42, day 2 saw a slightly emptier conference hall pick up the SCCR 42 agenda. The broadcasting treaty was the agenda item of the day. Delegates seemed impatient to move on to this discussion after two years of delay and with a new text in front of them.
A blue sky welcomed back delegates to Geneva for the first face to face WIPO SCCR since 2019. An information session on the impact of COVID on the copyright ecosystem, election of a new officers and approval of observers were the headline discussion points for the day but the Russian invasion of Ukraine cast a shadow over the morning’s proceedings.
On 11 January a group of University Presses in the UK and Ireland launched EvenUP, a forum for EDI information collection, benchmarking, and training, with the goal of developing and sharing best practices for the recruitment and retention of university press publishers and authors from under-represented groups. Michiel Kolman, Chair of the IPA's Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee spoke to a spokesperson for the group about the initiative.
The theme for UNESCO’s fourth International Day of Education is Changing course, transforming education and the last two years have shown how educational publishers have been able to pivot quickly, changing course, to keep pupils learning.
The SDG Publishers Compact, launched by the International Publishers Association and the United Nations back in 2020, has continued to gather momentum for the wider publishing sector. In practice, the compact requires aligning our daily practices, our content, and measures of success to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One sector accelerating progress has been academic publishing.
Michiel Kolman, Chair of the IPA's Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee talks to author, translator and publisher Lawrence Schimel about his children's books, their reception in different markets and the shared borders of freedom to publish and inclusivity.
Hugo Setzer, IPA Past President and head of the IPA's Accessibility Working Group spoke to Paul Gillijns and Sanne Walraven of the Dutch Educational Publishers and Dutch General Publishers Associations respectively about their 18 month programme to train publishers in accessibility ahead of the implementation of the European Accessibility Act in 2025.
The term of IPA Past President, Dr Michiel Kolman, on the board of the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) came to an end last month. The ABC is hosted by WIPO and is part of the practical implementation of the Marakesh Treaty. Michiel has been succeeded by Laura Brady of Canadian publisher, House of Anansi. I asked Michiel about his work on the ABC board and to Laura about her background in accessibility and her hopes for the future.
Our charity, Book Aid International, works for a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve, and change their lives. Every year, we provide around one million brand new books to thousands of libraries, schools, universities, hospitals, refugee camps and prisons around the world where people would otherwise have few books, or no books at all.
The support of publishers is vital to our work. Publishers donate all the books we send, and we hear again and again from our partners and readers around the world that the quality of the books we provide is what makes our charity unique.
We know that simply making books available is not always enough – particularly when it comes to supporting education. That is why in addition to providing books, we also work with our partners to create reading spaces for children in libraries, train teachers and librarians, create school libraries and fund the purchase of local books.
Our largest education programme, Inspiring Readers, has put over 372,473 brand new, publisher donated books into the classrooms of over 290,000 African primary school pupils in Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe and funded the purchase of 50,237 locally published supplementary books for schools. We have found that when vibrant and up to date books are available children are attracted to reading, then learn to read more easily and that reading confidence helps them in other subjects as well.
In addition to supporting pupils’ reading directly, a well-stocked school library creates a world of new resources for teachers and allows them to teach in an exciting way. For example, we’ve heard about teachers using picture books to teach counting and non-fiction books about topics like volcanos or dinosaurs to enrich science lessons.
It seems that with each passing day there is yet another climate change crisis dominating our news headlines. The world’s scientists have declared that we are fast approaching global tipping points where we can still try and minimize the devastating effects of climate change. Yet, time is running out. With a shrinking window of opportunity left to take action, each meeting where world leaders convene is a moment where we can increase our climate commitments and actions.
On 16 June during Bologna Children's Book Fair, Aldus Up, the European book fairs network co-founded in the framework of the Creative Europe programme and coordinated by the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) published two studies on existing surveys on translations and reading habits in Europe (the full report is published here).
We may indeed regard the Berne Convention as one of the great charters of literary liberty; it has directly and powerfully influenced all legislation touching copyright matters which has been achieved since it came into force.
John Murray, IPA President, 1899
The SDG Book Club was an idea formed through a unique collaboration between the IPA and the United Nations and involved the full spectrum of the book chain. The idea was simple; to use books as tool to encourage children aged between 6-12 to understand sustainability and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Originally launched in the six official UN languages, the idea was quickly adopted for local markets with the first SDG library established in Norway in 2020. One year on, we invited Kristin Ørjasæter, Managing Director of the Norwegian Institute for Children Books to reflect on the success, to hear about their future plans and advise for others hoping to establish their own SDG library.
Can publishers help build the creative industries in Europe?
As we reach the mid-point in 2021, in Europe we are starting to see the first glimpses of a return to normal life. While there is cautious optimism, we are also starting to see the figures and statistics of the impact of COVID on the European creative and cultural industries. In a report published by EY (and supported by the Federation of European Publishers) earlier this year, we are seeing an interesting picture of the role the book industry plays within the economy and the resilience our industry to cope with these unexpected events such as the pandemic. Whilst Europe is unique in many ways, the lessons emerging form the pandemic have wider applications in other markets.
Some interesting aspects of the EY report include:
What did the study tell us about the book industry?
After two years of being the Executive committee member at the International Publishers Association, I was thrilled to accept the invitation of the chair of IPA’s Inclusive Publishing and Literacy Committee, Michiel Kolman, to lead the committee’s literacy taskforce.