IAAP AND G3ict TO APPOINT FUNKA AS THEIR JOINT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE EUROPEAN UNION
The new representation is formally announced today in Brussels in the occasion of meetings organized with European Commission officials.
Brussels. 10/20/2016 —
G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, and its affiliate IAAP, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, announced today the appointment of Funka and its CEO, Susanna Laurin, as their joint representative to the European Union. This appointment is made in the context of the ongoing activities of both G3ict and IAAP to strengthen the capacity of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in implementing its dispositions on digital accessibility.
“The appointment of Funka as the G3ict-IAAP representative to the European Union is made in recognition of the considerable steps taken by the EU to implement the ICT dispositions of the CRPD and of Funka’s commitment and success in promoting solutions across Europe,” said Axel Leblois, President of G3ict.“The European Accessibility Act, the web accessibility directive, and the recent steps taken in support of ICT accessibility in public procurement present considerable opportunities for European Union member states to improve the lives of the 80 million Europeans living with a disability,” he added.
G3ict and IAAP activities in Europe will include offering accessibility certification for professionals; web accessibility training and specialist exams for web developers; training in accessible digital contents and certificates of proficiency for knowledge workers; and the sharing of good practices in implementing policies and programs relative to ICT accessibility, including the promotion of capacity building for ICT accessibility in public procurement.
“In most countries, despite clear commitments to the ICT accessibility dispositions of the CRPD, implementation is lagging due to a pervasive gap in accessibility skills both among ICT suppliers and procurers in government and the private sector. The decision of G3ict and IAAP to launch activities in Europe is therefore a very timely initiative which we are extremely happy to support,” pointed out Susanna Laurin, CEO of Funka.
Addressing ICT accessibility is a major challenge around the world and in Europe in particular: 38 percent of persons with disabilities aged 16 to 34 in Europe have an earned income compared to 64 percent of persons of the same age bracket living without a disability. Without accessible web sites, electronic documents, software and multiple digital interfaces in the workplace and in the public domain, persons with disabilities are increasingly excluded from mainstream job and economic opportunities. Yet, solutions exist for most digital interfaces that can remove the barriers which affect millions of persons, but are not implemented due to lack of awareness and expertise. G3ict awareness-raising and policy programs and IAAP training and certification programs are precisely aimed at closing those gaps.
While G3ict and IAAP, with the support of Funka, anticipate to work with governments and leading private sector participants in implementing programs, they will also focus on providing support to institutions of higher education by offering accessibility certification paths to computer science graduates. “This is a very exciting time for all of us involved in ICT accessibility in higher education,” highlighted Christopher Lee, Executive Director of AMAC at Georgia Tech, who runs the certification programs for IAAP and chairs the G3ict Higher Education Forum. “We have had multiple contacts and requests for standardized, internationally-recognized training and certification program in ICT accessibility. Having Funka as G3ict-IAAP representative at the European Union will help us develop our plans as early as the Spring of 2017 for initial certification opportunities.”
About G3ict: G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the accessibility of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and assistive technologies. G3ict relies on an international network of ICT accessibility experts to develop and promote good practices, technical resources and benchmarks for ICT accessibility advocates around the world in cooperation with international organizations and United Nations agencies. It is incorporated as a nonprofit organization in the State of Georgia, USA, and headquartered in Atlanta. Visit: http://www.g3ict.org
About IAAP: The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), a division of G3ict, is a membership-based organization for individuals and organizations that are focused on accessibility or are in the process of building their accessibility skills and strategies. Its mission is to define, promote and improve the accessibility profession globally through networking, education and certification in order to enable the creation of accessible products, content and services. IAAP helps accessibility professionals develop and advance their careers and organizations integrate accessibility into their products and infrastructure. The IAAP provides a place for accessibility professionals around the world to gather, share experiences and enrich their knowledge of accessibility. Visit: http://www.accessibilityassociation.org
About Funka: Funka was started in the 1990s as a joint, non-profit initiative among all disability organizations in Sweden. The knowledge, staff and technology of the nonprofit was turned into a privately owned company in 2000. Today, Funka is the market leader in the field of accessibility and enjoy a close relationship to end-user organizations, which ensures a unique level of quality control in everything it does. Funka has offices in Stockholm, Oslo and Madrid and clients from all over the world and is a co-founder of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, IAAP. Funka works with accessibility in digital interfaces in regards of content, design and technology, web, ICT and documents in all possible formats, apps, ticket machines and ATMs, but also signs and other kinds of information. On behalf of the European Commission, Funka has, among other things, developed methodology and measured the status of web accessibility in all EU member states, Norway, USA, Canada and Australia and its experts are contributing to the work of international, European and national standardization bodies in Sweden, Norway and Spain, for example the European requirements for accessibility in public procurement, EN 301 549. In addition to our other tasks and responsibilities, Funka has conducted the authorized translation of WCAG 2.0 to Swedish. Funka specialists are considered to be among the world's foremost experts on web accessibility. Visit: http://www.funka.com