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The Access Line
Steady Progress Possible in Achieving ICT Accessibility Globally
As the Zero Project demonstrates, solutions exist to make most ICT applications and services and digital media accessible. G3ict is proud to support and present at the Zero Project 2014 Conference on Accessibility.
This post was first published on the Zero Project website. Visit the Zero Project webpage.
In the autumn of 2006, UN DESA and leading experts negotiating the final draft of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) anticipated how revolutionary many of its dispositions would be for a number of countries. Among these, definitions and obligations in matters of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) accessibility were particularly critical: virtually all aspects of society and the economy depend on ICT applications and services.
The Committee which drafted the UN CRPD set the stage by embedding in its article 9 a definition of accessibility requirements for States Parties which includes ICTs. As a result, every possible digital application and service such as web sites, computers, telephony, ATMs, television, voting machines and electronic kiosks, public displays and a number of consumer devices with digital interfaces would need to be accessible. And while there was a great deal of anticipation regarding the adoption of the CRPD, future challenges to make the dispositions of article 9 a reality appeared daunting due to the complexity of information and communication technologies, the global nature of the ICT industry, the speed of innovation, the multiplicity of actors creating products and delivering services, and the general lack of awareness of ICT accessibility issues.
1. Measuring UN CRPD Implementation Progress Among State Parties
2. The UN CRPD has a Measurable Impact on the Legislative Agenda of States Parties
3. Rights-Based Approach Supports Accessibility
4. A Large Proportion of Persons With Disabilities May Not Be Able to Make a Phone Call
5. Solutions Exist and Can Be Implemented
Successful implementation of ICT accessibility programs and policies relies on a few critical factors:
1. Lack of awareness and understanding of accessibility issues is the biggest obstacle in advancing programs to promote ICT accessibility.
2. Each ICT accessibility domain calls for different policies, programs and groups of stakeholders to cooperate.
3. Defining agreed-upon roadmaps and milestones in making progress with appropriate metrics and monitoring tools is essential.
Back in December of 2006, the notion of launching a global multi-stakeholder initiative among industry, disabled persons’ organisations and the public sector to address those challenges took shape, facilitated by UNDESA. G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, was launched a week prior to the vote of the General Assembly. While it seemed an overwhelming task to tackle the global challenges of inaccessible ICTs, we firmly believe today that progress is possible and happening: political support in most countries is strong, ICT industry leaders are supportive, innovation brings new affordable solutions every day and the Disability movement is increasingly involved. The Zero Project contributes in an excellent way to fostering this momentum by celebrating and documenting successes.
While it seemed an overwhelming task to tackle the global challenges of inaccessible ICTs, we firmly believe today that progress is possible and happening.