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Alexandre Gorelik



07/19/2011

UNIC Moscow: Launch of the Russian Edition of the e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities, 4 July 2011

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The Russian Edition of the e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities was launched by UNIC Moscow at a formal meeting of the Group of Friends of the Disability Convention on 4 July 2011.
 
Taking a step further in its advocacy campaign to promote rights of people with special needs, UNIC Moscow organized on Monday, 4 July 2011, the launch of the Russian version of the e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities. The presentation was held in the format of an extended meeting of the Group of Friends of the Disability Convention (GOFDC), an informal working group under the aegis of the UN Country Team in Russia.

World Bank Moscow Office – Launch of the Russian edition of the “E-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities” produced by G3ict/UNGAID
World Bank Moscow Office – Launch of the Russian edition of the “E-Accessibility Policy
Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities” produced by G3ict/UNGAID, 4 July 2011 – Mr Axel Leblois,
Executive Director of the G3ict, presenting the Toolkit.
 
The event was made possible thanks to support and collaboration from UN colleagues, and especially the World Bank Country Office that first, accepted to absorb the cost associated with the translation, and second, hosted the presentation itself.
This was an extraordinary meeting of GOFDC since the study was presented by Mr Axel Leblois, Executive Director of the G3ict – the flagship advocacy initiative of the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) – the entity that produced the Toolkit.

In his presentation before a group of 50 attendees, including representatives of associations of people with disabilities, government agencies, expert groups and the industry, Mr Leblois first described the significance of the Convention as both, a policy instrument and a human rights treaty. He explained that ICT accessibility is an important component of the Convention covered by a complex set of dispositions.

Further, he described the Toolkit as a pioneering set of guidelines specifically designed to assist States and other stakeholders in implementing the tenets of the Convention.

After outlining several main aspects of the Toolkit – support for R&D, universal design, accessibility standards, promotion of new media and ICT at large – he stressed the G3ict’s productive cooperation with UNIC Moscow and GOFDC. Among other things, he reminded the audience about our collaboration that lead to the first ever “Information Society” magazine’s special issue on e-accessibility in early 2010, and the translation into Russian of the G3ict’s web-accessibility comparative policy study (“White Paper”).

Mr Leblois’s overview was followed by a lively hour-long discussion where participants unanimously stressed the need for Universal Access. In their words, this is the key to the Information Society, and no one should be denied the potential benefits of ICTs. It was pointed out that the Toolkit has great merit in promoting an accessible communications environment, which empowers persons with disabilities to fulfil their potential and take their place as active members of society.

World Bank Moscow Office – Launch of the Russian edition of the “E-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities” produced by G3ict/UNGAID, 4 July 2011
World Bank Moscow Office – Launch of the Russian edition of the “E-Accessibility Policy
Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities” produced by G3ict/UNGAID, 4 July 2011.
Ms Natalia Muller (third from right), Head, Training Centre for Disabled Persons under
the State Engineering and Economic University, St Petersburg, exchanging views with participants
 
Quite a few specific aspects of the situation in Russia were raised, including the timing of this country’s accession to the Convention (now it is expected for 2012), the need for accessibility to be taken into account while designing new information systems and products, the imperative of closer collaboration between government agencies and coordination bodies – including the Council on disability issues under the President of the RF - and civil society.

By admission of participants and in our own view, the meeting was extremely helpful for promoting universal access. As to the Russian version of the Toolkit, it will be posted on the UNIC website by the end of July, and we plan to produce an initial set of 100 CDs with the text of the study that will be distributed among our partners and contacts.