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UNIC Moscow Round Table on e-Accessibility for the Disabled, "ICT in the Regional Development of Russia" Conference

  • Smolensk, Russian Federation
  • February 5-6, 2009

Disability issues have been one of the top priorities of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Moscow for several years now, especially since the Convention on the rights of the disabled was adopted in 2006. The UNIC Centre has become a recognized coordinator within the UN Country Team, and has developed a network of increasingly close ties with civil society organizations, associations of persons with disabilities and state agencies dealing with the subject.

A special round table on e-accessibility for the disabled was arranged at a major conference on “ICT in the Regional Development of Russia". The meeting in Smolensk (400 km from Moscow) on 5-6 February brought together about 150 participants from Russia’s provinces: officials, experts, NGO activists, businessmen.

Alexandre Gorelik, director of UNIC Moscow, co-chaired the above round table attended by two dozen persons which saw a highly substantive and lively discussion with a valuable contribution from several persons with disabilities. They formulated few practical recommendations to be included into the final document of the conference.

Mr. Gorelik made introductory remarks at the round table and contributed to the Q-&-A session. He highlighted the fact that his comments were based on the DPI information materials and texts downloaded from the G3ict Web site. Among other things, he pointed out the recent adoption of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG2.0) by the World Wide Web Consortium and a similar standard in Russia (ГОСТ 52872-2007 – in force as of 1 January). He also stressed the need for an early ratification of the Convention by Russia, while mentioning that such a prospect does not seem to be greatly helped by the ongoing financial and economic downturn.

UNIC Moscow is planning several communications activities on the disability issues in 2009. The most important, in all likelihood, will be the launch of a booklet on the situation of the disabled in Russia which is being finalized by a group of experts mandated by the UN Country Team.