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Alexandre Gorelik


UNIC Moscow: Roundtable Discussion on Promotion of Mobile Technology Solutions for Persons with Disabilities

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On 31 January 2012, the UNIC Moscow held a brainstorming session in the context of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The topic of discussion was, “Promotion of mobile technology solutions for persons with disabilities”. Alexandre Gorelik gives us the highlights.

The round table discussion brought together 25 members of civil society, experts and industry representatives. Most of them were “regular” members of the “Group of Friends of the Disability Convention”, an informal body that meets regularly under the auspices of UN-Russia, but there were several new faces as well. Participants focused, as usual, on a wide range of problems connected with the situation of persons with disabilities in today’s Russia, especially issues related to mobile applications and services.

UNIC Moscow – Roundtable discussion on disability issues 31 January 2012 – the participants
UNIC Moscow – Roundtable discussion on disability issues 31 January 2012 – the participants 

The “M-Enabling Summit” organized by G3ict and ITU in Washington, DC, in December 2011, was an item of particular interest to the audience. After an overview made by two experts of the Educational Centre for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities of the Moscow Bauman State Technological University, a discussion got off to a good start. Members of the "Group of Friends" were unanimous in pointing out that in contrast to other developed countries, Russian authorities and business community paid little attention to developing mobile accessibility. In this context, Alexander Stanevski, Head of the Bauman University Centre, stressed the importance of making reference to the regulatory framework set by the Convention, which should be a major resource for policy makers. He drew the panel’s attention to practical elements required for a successful adoption of assistive technologies, and outlined the business case for implementing accessibility programs.

The meeting discussed several other topics: a UNESCO regional project aimed at establishing IT centers for visually impaired people in several CIS countries (Armenia, Kyrgyzstan); the on-line project/web portal for people with disabilities and socially responsible businesses; a new electronic magazine for the disabled, «PRO Association».

The exchange of views was quite lively and meaningful. During the meeting, recommendations were formulated for further joint actions to promote a better access to information and knowledge through ICT for people with special needs. In particular, participants agreed on steps to engage leading mobile technology companies in our effort to promote the best available solutions for persons with disabilities in Russia. Also, the group decided to collaborate for producing the Russian version of a new G3ict report, to be released soon, on mobile technologies.


Related Publication: Making Mobile Phones and Services Accessible for Persons with Disabilities

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