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Our Story

The Beginnings

  • Fall of 2006: As the last edits are negotiated at the United Nations to finalize the text of what is to become the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), advocates, industry leaders and United Nations officials start to brainstorm on the need to promote its innovative and far-reaching dispositions covering the accessibility of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
  • 4 December 2006: G3ict is formed one week prior to the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the CRPD with the support of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN GAID) and the Secretariat for the Convention at UN DESA. Seventy-five participants from disability advocacy organizations, the ICT industry and the public sector, including former members of the Ad hoc Committee which negotiated the text of the Convention, help shape its mission and objectives which have not changed since.
  • February 2007: The Global Alliance endorses G3ict as one of its four Flagship Advocacy Initiatives at a meeting of UN GAID hosted by Craig Barrett, Chairman of Intel Corporation, who then served as UN GAID Chair.
  • 2006-2008: G3ict operations are carried as a division of World Times, Inc. which conducted programs for the United Nations in matters of social development. With no funding available from the United Nations system or any other public source, G3ict successfully relies to operate on private sector contributions, grants from philanthropic organizations, volunteer work from its trustees and officers and in-kind contributions from many organizations hosting its events around the world or lending personnel for its research and editorial activities.
  • September 2008: G3ict is incorporated as a standalone nonprofit corporation in the State of Georgia on September 30, 2008. H.E. Ambassador Luis Gallegos, past Chair of the Ad hoc Committee of the United Nations General Assembly for the CRPD, serves as Board Chair while Axel Leblois, former president of several high-tech companies and who led the formation of G3ict, serves as President and Executive Director.

The “Big Bang”

  • 30 March 2007: Eighty-four countries sign the CRPD, the highest number of signatures on the opening day of an international treaty ever recorded in history.
  • Opportunities for G3ict to work with international organizations, States Parties and multiple stakeholders grow at a very rapid pace with a continuous increase of CRPD signatures and ratifications.
  • G3ict develops a strategy of creating a strong knowledge base contributed by volunteer experts for free distribution through as many channels as possible, including joint publications, toolkits and events, starting with major United Nations System Specialized Agencies such as the ITU, UNESCO, the World Bank and ILO; Departments (UN DESA) and Research Institutes (UNITAR).
  • 2006-2016: During its first 10 years of operation, G3ict organizes, hosts or participates in more than 170 capacity building events around the world in cooperation with national governments, universities, industry and organizations of persons with disabilities.
  • G3ict also develops foundational resources for policy makers which are widely used around the world. Key resources include the G3ict-ITU e-accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities, the model policy for Inclusive ICTs in Education with UNESCO, and more recently, model policies jointly published with the ITU for Television, Web, Procurement, Public Access Points and Mobile phones and services.
  • Besides several years of ongoing traffic on its online toolkit web pages, more than 1,176,264 downloads of G3ict’s leading handbooks and reports have been downloaded by experts from virtually all countries on the planet (as of January 2021).

Benchmarking ICT Accessibility Progress

  • 2010: G3ict undertakes to benchmark the actual implementation of the dispositions of the CRPD on ICT accessibility and assistive technologies by its States Parties. G3ict partners with Disabled People’s International (DPI) to research and produce the CRPD ICT Accessibility Progress Report.
  • Over the years, an extraordinary group of volunteers joins the research panel of the CRPD Progress Report which remains one of the few sources allowing for a global monitoring of the implementation of the CRPD.

Promoting Innovation

  • 2009-2010: G3ict witnesses the breakthrough that mobile technology innovation brought to the world of digital accessibility. For the first time in history, persons with disabilities can use anytime anywhere a versatile, affordable, portable device with embedded assistive features such as text-to-speech, voice recognition, geo-positioning, Near Field Communications and many others, with the sky as the limit.
  • G3ict launches the M-Enabling Summit, in partnership with E.J. Krause and Associates, which gathers every year hundreds of participants, attracting leading advocates, corporate executives and accessibility professionals.
  • Today, the M-Enabling Summit, fully owned by G3ict since January 2022, is an all-inclusive conference and showcase offering rich networking opportunities, fostering innovative technology that benefits more than one-billion Persons with Disabilities and an expanding population of aging adults globally. Review the 2023 Agenda.

Addressing Implementation Challenges

  • 2015-present: G3ict research shows that progress has occurred in countries’ commitments to ICT accessibility in terms of legislation, regulations or programs. Capacity to implement and outcomes, however, from an organization, financial or technical standpoint remains weak, including a lack of participation of persons with disabilities and private sector stakeholders in the design, implementation and monitoring of ICT accessibility policies and programs.
  • 2016: G3ict’s focus evolves from awareness raising to supporting implementation by States Parties. Besides its Institutional Advocacy and M-Enabling divisions, G3ict launches its Global Policy Center in support of policy makers. Together with the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and DPI, G3ict launches the Digital Accessibility Decennial Call for Action.
  • 2016-present: G3ict acquires and operates as one of its division the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP). IAAP is a not-for-profit membership-based organization for individuals and organizations that are focused on accessibility or are in the process of building their accessibility skills and strategies. With an expanded international footprint of IAAP Regional Chapters and representatives (Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, D-A-CH German-speaking countries, India, LATAM-Latin America, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel), and a membership counting more than 4,800 professionals involved in ICT accessibility in 93 countries (as of June 2022), IAAP drives the development of accessibility training and certification programs, an essential success factor for CRPD implementation.
  • April 2019-present: The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) redeploys its activities under G3ict. GAATES is the leading international organization dedicated to promoting Accessibility and Universal Design for the built environment and public spaces as per the dispositions of the United Nations CRPD. GAATES is managed in close cooperation with the Smart Cities for All Initiative and the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), allowing it to scale up and achieve greater global impact. In 2019, GAATES' certification program has transitioned to G3ict and is now managed by IAAP through its portfolio of certification offerings. Previously referred to as ICAP-BE, the new name of the certification is Certified Professional in Accessible Built Environments (CPABE).

Next Steps

With a higher level of awareness of the imperative for digital accessibility, many dedicated accessibility experts around the world and a solid institutional framework in place, G3ict looks forward to continuing its advocacy for the years to come, cooperating with governments, local advocates and private sector stakeholders around the world.

One benchmark at a time, one new standard at a time, one new program and successful implementation at a time: Digital accessibility is achievable. From media to e-books, the Internet, IoT, computers, electronic kiosks, e-government or e-commerce, G3ict helps promote and realize, for a billion persons with disabilities, one of the most significant opportunities for independent living, inclusion in our society and our world at large.