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05/25/2012

Tim Unwin Blog: Ensuring Disability Agendas are Embedded Effectively in National ICT Strategies

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Tim Unwin, who participated in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS 2012), provides the outcome of the group discussions that took place within the session on ICTs and disability. G3ict also presented at the summit.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is a unique two-phase United Nations (UN) summit that was initiated in order to create an evolving multi- stakeholder platform aimed at addressing the issues raised by information and communication technologies (ICTs) through a structured and inclusive approach at the national, regional and international levels. The goal of WSIS is to achieve a common vision, desire and commitment to build a people-centric, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information.

At the WSIS Forum session on ICTs and disability (#ICT4DD) led by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organsation and the UNESCO Chair in ICTD at Royal Holloway, University of London, more than 35 people in Geneva and some 15 people participating externally came together to explore ways through which accessibility/disability issues can be included more effectively in national ICT strategies. Three breakout groups came up with some 17 main reasons why disability issues are not more included within such policies and strategies, and then identified 7 practical ways through which these challenges can be overcome.

The 2012 WSIS Forum was hosted by ITU and took place at the Conference Centre of the International Labour Organization (ILO)

View the conceptual map detailing the outcome of the WSIS discussions.

Solutions recommended included:

  1. The need to build awareness
  2. Mainstreaming accessibility
  3. Providing incentives, whilst also using regulation and enforcement
  4. Education as a means for affecting cultural change
  5. Using a quality label as a means for creating a minimum standard
  6. Capacity development
  7. The involvement of all stakeholders (Nothing about us without us) 

Thanks to everyone who participated, and to all of the session partners including the ITU, G3ICT, the University of Michigan, OCAD University, the Daisy Consortium, and the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure initiative. Read Tim Unwin's blog.

Proceedings of WSIS Forum 2012: This Draft Outcome Document is a compilation of reports submitted by all session organizers. In case of any comments or remarks, please submit them to wsis-info@itu.int, not later than 25 May 2012. http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2012/Highlights/OutcomeDocument.aspx.

Download the Agenda Document of the WSIS summit.

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Related Event: M-Enabling 2012-2013 Global Briefing Tour: Inaugural session at Washington on June 4, 2012 "New Milestones for Mobile Accessibility" | Find out more about how you can participate in this public session at the FCC.

Related Blog: Disability Management: Policy Mandate and Business Case for Providing Accessible ICT, courtesy Office of Disability Employment Policy, ODEP | Read the article.

Related Publication: Accessibility - A Guide for Businesses and Organizations by Microsoft | Download the free PDF.