The Electronic Information Libraries (EIFL), in official partnership with UNESCO organized a two day Sub -Regional Seminar entitled “Ending the book famine in Africa: Libraries and the promise of the Marrakesh Treaty”. The seminar, which attracted participants and Marrakesh treaty experts from the region, USA and Europe was held at Victoria Hotel from 12th to 13th September, 2017.
The main objective of the gathering was to advance adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty.The seminar was further aimed at raising public awareness of the treaty in Lesotho, and also on the role of libraries in making the treaty a success, and the importance of balanced copyright laws that support the role of libraries in providing access to knowledge.
While welcoming the participants, the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO, Communication and Information Programmer Officer- Mr. Tieho Rankhone noted that UNESCO is the knowledge hub of the UN system and that in its quest for access to information, “the organization works to create inclusive knowledge societies and empower local communities by increasing access to and preservation and sharing of information and knowledge in all of its domains.”
Some of the issues that were unpacked during the seminar included inter alia: The basics and main provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty and the processes for accession in Lesotho; Sharing of experiences with countries which have already ratified the treaty and those in the process; and finally participants came up with the national action plan with tight timelines not stretching beyond 2018.
Also in attendance to the seminar were librarians, senior government officials, representatives of people living with disabilities, Members of Parliament and three ministers, namely Minister of Social development, Honourable ‘Matebatso Toti, Minister of Education and Training, Honourable Mokhele Moletsane, and Honourable Lebohang Hlaele, Minister of Law, and constitutional Affairs.
Participants attending the Marrakesh Seminar with Minister of Law and Constituional Affairs , Hon Lebohang Hlaele in the middle of the front row