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G3ict Launches Worldwide Push for Public Procurement of Accessible Technology

New G3ict white paper, released on the occasion of the inaugural IAAP Access 2015 Conference in Henderson, Nevada, calls for global action on key policy strategy.

LAS VEGAS (October 22, 2015) —

G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – a digital inclusion and human rights advocacy organization launched in 2006 at the initiative of the United Nations – announced today at the inaugural conference of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) that it is launching a global initiative to promote the adoption by governments worldwide of public procurement policies that advance both the inclusion of persons with disabilities and technological innovation.

“Our global work with governments, civil society, and industry shows us that when governments commit to buy only accessible technology the benefits for persons with disabilities, and really for all consumers, are substantial,” said James Thurston, Vice President for Strategy and Development at G3ict. “Governments around the world are among the biggest customers for technology companies, so these procurement policies force companies to focus more on accessibility and on users with disabilities when they are designing their products. When governments use their considerable purchasing power to buy only accessible technology, companies are forced to compete on accessibility to get that business. They are pushed to be even more innovative about how technology can meet the needs of all users.”

To launch this new global initiative, today G3ict releases a White Paper making the case for governments worldwide to adopt accessible procurement policies based on inputs collected from advocates, governments and industry around the world. The White Paper, “Promoting Global Digital Inclusion through ICT Procurement Policies & Accessibility Standards,” emphasizes that these policies have been effective where they have been adopted, for example in the United States. G3ict asserts that there is now an opportunity to enact effective public procurement policies beyond the United States and Europe in countries around the world, including in the Global South. The new White Paper, the result of numerous global roundtable discussions and expert interviews, points out that most of the tools necessary to support effective public procurement policies exist today. What is missing is an international ICT accessibility standard. G3ict suggests that a new European standard for accessible technology (EN 301 549) is the best starting point for a global standard.

“We applaud G3ict for its leadership and for putting more global focus on this important strategy for inclusion of persons with disabilities,” said Wayne Hawkins, Disability Policy Advisor with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN). “In Australia, we are already moving to leverage the new European standard in tenders and we look forward to it becoming an international standard.”

Jesus Toledano Landero, Director General of the Mexican National Council for the Development and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (CONADIS) added, “Now is a good time to explore the benefits of public procurement globally. As a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it is a policy approach that we find interesting here in Mexico.”

Andrew Kirkpatrick, Adobe’s Group Product Manager for Accessibility affirmed that, “Adobe agrees with the G3ict White Paper that there is a significant opportunity at hand to advocate for an international standard for procurement in accessibility. Harmonization of accessibility standards has long been identified as critically important to the implementation of accessibility in products which are marketed in multiple geographic regions, and EN 301 549 not only provides a set of standards which utilizes the internationally-recognized work of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 standard, but also includes additional context necessary for clear procurement processes.

G3ict’s new initiative for more accessible public procurement policies builds on its core principle that industry, government, and civil society can take action collaboratively to drive the expeditious creation of policies and standards that support digital inclusion of persons with disabilities in education, the workplace, and society generally. Civil society, including organizations representing persons with disabilities, must play an important role in all global efforts to promote the widespread adoption of inclusive ICT procurement policies and the technical standards that support them.

About G3ict
G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the accessibility of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and assistive technologies. For more information, visit us at and follow us on Twitter.


Contact: Francesca Cesa Bianchi, VP Institutional Relations, G3ict at