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20.06.2012

The Diplomatic Conference in Beijing gets off to a positive start

The first day of the diplomatic conference got off to a smooth and consensual al start, which augures well for the negotiations in the coming days. The morning session of the opening day was devoted mainly to protocol and to the statutory business of the conference. The WIPO Secretariat recalled the preparatory work that had led to the convening of the Diplomatic Conference. The statutory business was then successfully concluded, including the nominations of delegates to the committees responsible for different areas of work (Main Committee I, Main Committee II, the Drafting Committee and the Credentials the Conference). Minister Liu Binjie of China was elected President of the Conference. Manuel Guerra Zamarro was nominated as Chair of Main Committee I, the body entrusted with the negotiation of the treaty’s substantive provisions.

Following the opening ceremony, there was an important moment in the programme reserved for messages from performers to the delegates. Fearne Downey, a Canadian actor, President of Canadian union ACTRA and a member of the FIA delegation, took the floor to speak on behalf of performers all over the world. She made an impassioned plea for the empowerment of performers to make a living from their craft. She stated that “all performers around the globe deserve to be fairly compensated and protected for the work we do. It’s time for an international treaty that recognizes that fact,” She asked that delegates “conclude this treaty and give us the tools we need to keep telling our stories and to keep being players in this digital revolution.” Chinese performers were also represented by a performer from the Beijing Opera, who expressed his pride at the fact that such important work on behalf of performers was taking place in his home city of Beijing. A brief video of messages from performers around the world calling for the conclusion of the Treaty was also shown.

The rest of the day was devoted to the opening declarations of member state delegations, with interventions from each of the regional group coordinators and some twenty member state delegations. These were characterised by a constructive and positive attitude. There was a clear commitment to retaining the 19 articles and the agreed language on article 12 as a shared starting point, with negotiations focusing on the 3 agreed statements and one preambular statement.

Day 2 will see the beginning of the substantive work within the different committees, as well as the next round of opening declarations, possibly including that of FIA, if there is sufficient time.