Good afternoon, everyone. I represent Helicon. Today my topic is whether the WIPO should focus on the issues of development and human rights over the next decade.
In order to fulfill its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESC), our government has taken measures to develop education and basic medical services. We are also gradually reducing agricultural taxes. Through these measures, we hope to promote and protect the fundamental human rights of our citizens, such as the right to life and health, the right to food, and the right to education. Furthermore, we want to foster social and economic development. In the last ten years we have made a great deal of progress on primary education, basic medical insurance and food security. But the hard truth is, many serious problems remain. And we cannot solve these problems by ourselves.
In terms of education, although primary education is compulsory and free to all, many children still drop out of school because they cannot afford the textbooks. An Oxford Dictionary，which is nothing special for children in developed countries, is for our children a coveted luxury. College textbooks are even more expensive, forcing many young people to forego the opportunity to attend college.
The high price of textbooks and reference books seems to be caused by the high standard of global copyright protection. As Shaver & Sganga state, “the dominant model of selling access to cultural works for a standard fee—enabled by global copyright enforcement— creates significant barriers to cultural participation in developing countries. Empirical evidence suggests that rights holders not only fail to discount cultural goods for sale in developing countries, but that prices are frequently higher in such countries than in the US.” Meanwhile, technical protection measures prevent our students from benefitting from copyright exceptions, making it extremely difficult for them to access world advanced culture and leading technology.
The preamble to the WHO Constitution declares: “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” Due to the use of compulsory licensing of pharmaceuticals, our government is able to control epidemics. When it comes to non-communicable diseases, however, there are still many serious problems. In some rural area, endemic diseases caused by harsh natural environment are very common among the local inhabitants. There are almost no effective drugs. As Duffield states, “Relatively little is spent on diseases that disproportionately affect the poor, such as malaria and tuberculosis, and public and non-profit sector research efforts are insufficient to make up for the lack of interest in neglected diseases…And the World Health Organization has estimated that only 4.3 per cent of pharmaceutical research and development expenditure is aimed at those health problems mainly concerning low and middle income countries.”
For those patients suffering from serious diseases that can be cured or alleviated by medicines, the outlook is equally pessimistic. These life-saving medicines are patented, and produced by developed countries. Because of strict patent enforcement, obtaining these medicines at affordable prices is becoming increasingly difficult. One can imagine how depressed people will become if they cannot afford the medicine which could save their parents or children.
Let us turn to another weighty subject.