CRPD 2013 ICT Accessibility Progress Report
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Progress Report on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility was launched by G3ict in 2008 with the cooperation of international institutions, DPOs and the Private Sector. ICT Accessibility is an important factor to realize the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly in relation to the implementation of the CRPD by ratifying countries. Virtually all aspects of society are affected by the pervasive usage of information and communication technologies, including mobile communications, television, computers, digital interfaces and the Internet all over the world. Implementing ICT accessibility policies and programs is a complex endeavor involving multiple sectors of society and the economy which requires the active engagement of a variety of stakeholders.
This third edition of the CRPD ICT Accessibility Progress Report covers 76 countries including 74 ratifying countries, South Sudan (formerly part of a ratifying country – Sudan) and the United States as a benchmark country. Those 76 countries represent 72 percent of the World Population and 81 percent of the total population of ratifying countries. This report offers disability advocates, governments, civil society and international organizations, monitoring the progress of the implementation of the CRPD by States Parties, a unique benchmarking tool that collects data on country laws, policies, and programs pertaining to accessible and assistive ICTs around the globe.
The methodology used since 2009 for developing the Progress Report has been developped following those key activities:
Based on the findings from the 2010 and 2012 editions of the CRPD Progress Report, it was clear that digital accessibility is not merely about greater use of technologies by persons with disabilities. It is about transforming information-based policies and the ICT ecosystem. Addressing the ICT arena is part of a larger effort to build an information society based on ensuring people’s right to communicate, use knowledge for their own ends, and overcome barriers on freedom to use, share and modify ICTs and information content. This comports with the theme of the High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development of the General Assembly, held in September 2013, on the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally-agreed development goals for persons with disabilities.
Again, based on the 2010 and 2012 editions of the CRPD Progress Report, a disability-inclusive development agenda is possible only if the multiple actors in the ICT arena commit to work in coordination, cooperation and collaboration. Developing a shared vision of a world information’ society that contributes to human development based on agreed upon principles, including persons with disabilities’ right to access information, is a long-term undertaking. Strategic wisdom needs to inform future action, particularly in the renegotiation of persons with disabilities empowerment through ICTs.
ICT policies and programs should be seen not as one-time interventions, or solely as check-offs to demonstrate compliance with global treaties, but as processes which promote learning and human development from trial and error, and create spaces for the engagement of different social groups. Civil society actors, including NGOs and DPOs need to build their own capacities, develop perspectives, lobby with government and business, participate in national and international ICT policy-making processes, and build constituencies among a wide cross-section of society on the role of ICTs for the promotion of equality for persons with disabilities.
In 2013, the two sets of surveys from the Progress report (3rd edition) were filled out by 87 local respondents in 76 countries. Data collection for the third edition of the CRPD Progress Report on ICT Accessibility was completed in cooperation with Disabled People’s International (DPI) and various disabled person’s organizations and experts in countries where DPI correspondents were not available.
Where do we stand on CRPD implementation and disability-inclusive development in 2013? The tables present data from the 2013 edition of the Progress Report. The data reflect the degree to which each of the dispositions of the CRPD on ICTs is actually enacted by ratifying countries in local laws, policies and regulations and their actual impact.