Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities discusses accessibility to information and technology as a key driver for development

The 9th Session of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was held last June 14-16, 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The theme for the tenth year of the Convention was “Implementing the 2030 development agenda for all persons with disabilities: Leaving no one behind.” One of the four main sub-themes was enhancing accessibility to information and technology and inclusive development.

According to the introductory document for the COSP, promoting accessibility to ICTs is relevant to allow the world’s 1 billion persons with disabilities to enjoy their universal human rights and fully participate in aspects of society and development. Persons with disabilities continue to experience barriers to information and communication due to the lack of accessible formats that include Braille, sign language or screen reader friendly websites, among other things.

The document specifies that some of the main barriers for adoption of accessible solutions are the lack of awareness among policymakers and stakeholders, required legislation for supporting persons with disabilities, rapid development within the ICT sector and high costs of assistive devices. In order to address these issues, it is suggested that governments and stakeholders recognize accessibility as a priority, support the development of accessible ICTs and services, invest in technology research and that national telecommunication authorities recognize affordability and access to networks as a right.

Some of the main questions that were addressed during the event were related to the measures taken by State Parties to ensure accessibility in ICTs for persons with disabilities, the expansion of the universal design approach incorporated in national policies, innovative approaches through public-private partnerships and best practices.  The ITU-G3ict Model ICT Accessibility Policy Report includes model ICT accessibility policies to assist State Parties to update their current ICT and disability legislation, including model policies on accessibility in public ICT access centers, mobile devices and services, government websites, TV and audio visual media and the public procurement of accessible ICTs.

Access the ITU-G3ict  Model ICT Accessibility Policy Report

Additional Sources: GAATES