The World Book and Copyright Day on 23rd April will focus on the blind and the visually impaired who have difficulty accessing books and other printed materials, constituting an obstacle to their full and effective participation in society.
According to the World Blind Union, WBU, among the millions of books published worldwide each year, less than 10 percent are published in formats that are accessible to the blind, a rate that drops to 1 percent in developing countries.
The World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated every year on 23rd April, the date when both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died. On this occasion, publishing houses, bookstores, libraries, cultural institutions and associations of authors will mobilise across the world to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property.
"The World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to highlight the power of books to promote our vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens," said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, in her message on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day 2017.
In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNESCO advocates for the rights and needs of persons with disabilities, and encourages the effective use of accessible, adaptive and affordable Information Communications Technologies, ICTs.
In this context, UNESCO is organising a conference on accessibility issues, titled, "Accessibility, What are the Challenges in Publishing?" on Monday, 24th April from 9am to 12pm, ROOM II, with its partner, Asfored, a French association for professional training and development in the field of publishing.
The day also marks the beginning of the term of Conakry, capital of the Republic of Guinea, as World Book Capital 2017-2018. Conakry has been singled out by UNESCO and its partners because of the quality and diversity of its programmes, especially its focus on community involvement, as well as for its well-structured budget and clear development goals with a strong emphasis on youth and literacy.
The city of Conakry, along with the rest of the African continent, will be featured during the celebrations that will promote African literature at UNESCO’s headquarters on Monday, 24th April. Workshops, activities, reading clubs, musical performances and roundtables will be organised.