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Alexandre Gorelik



12/13/2013

E-Accessibility Leading the Way Toward Knowledge Society

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UNIC Moscow has successfully completed yet another element in its advocacy programme for the rights of persons with disabilities. After having translated it into Russian, we presented the G3ict While Paper “Putting e-Accessibility at the Core of Information Systems: A Business Case”.

Launch of the Russian version of G3ict report, 'Putting e-Accessibility at the Core of Information Systems'

Image: Cover of G3ict report, 'Putting e-Accessibility at the Core of Information Systems,' highlighted on screen 

The launch was organized at the Moscow Office of the World Bank (who had been our partner in several similar projects in the past). Around 35 representatives of government agencies, pro-disabled non-government groups, universities, experts in disability issues, and the media also participated in the program.

The ceremony was opened by World Bank Country Director for the Russian Federation Michal Rutkowsky, who praised the UNIC’s initiative, emphasizing that no society can be truly inclusive without accessible ICTs. Then the UNIC staff offered their comments on the nature and the main findings and conclusions of the authors of the publication. We explained that promoting in this country, in Russian, G3ict-generated and other materials on electronic accessibility was the most natural way for the UN agencies to contribute to the current debate on the right of the disabled to education, to work, etc. in the wake of the ratification by the Russian Federation of the milestone UN Convention.

We also emphasized that the “business angle” of the electronic accessibility issue was very important, yet one of the least explored in this country, hence our choice of the publication to translate.

The discussion that followed provided a true value added, as long as most participants – be they disabled or not – had a very extensive exposure, in one way or another, to a range of problems faced by the people with special needs in the Russian Federation and elsewhere in the world. The exchange benefitted greatly from the comments made by Dmitry Satin, Advisor to the Minister of Communications, Oleg Shevkun, Editor-in-Chief of the radio station of the National Society of the blind and visually impaired people, Julia Sarviro of Microsoft Russia, Daniel Novichkov of W3C Russian Office, and others.

Although we have had quote a history of  successful publications on “friendly ICTs” (the accessibility of web technologies, solutions for mobile phones, etc.) yesterday’s presentation was somewhat particular. The point is the White Paper deals with a range of issues – such as e-PUB 3.0 and electronic publishing, the accessibility of electronic school books and others – which are at an early stage of domestication in Russian society at large.

The general agreement was such meeting and discussions of this kind should continue. Several practical ideas concerning legislative and regulatory aspects of e-Accessibility, as well as activities of the expert community were put forward and will be further tested in our common efforts.

Visit G3ict's Facebook page to view photos from the launch program.

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Related Resources

Blog: The Difference a Policy Can Make: IT Accessibility Rollout at UC Berkeley | Read Lucy Greco's Article.

Publication: The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework | Download PDF.

Event: UniDAT International Conference on Universal Design and Assistive Technology | December 19-21, 2013 | Event Details.