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G3ict Partners with India’s National Institute for Urban Affairs to Promote More Inclusive Cities

G3ict to collaborate with premier research institute under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India to advance the use of technology for more accessible Smart Cities and greater digital inclusion for more than 28 million persons with disabilities across India.

ATLANTA and NEW DELHI (February 10, 2020) —

The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict), an international nonprofit with a history of leadership in digital inclusion and human rights, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), an apex think tank for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India (GoI). The two organizations will collaborate to advance the deployment of mainstream and emerging technologies and the use of data in support of more inclusive urban environments across the country. Today’s agreement comes at the 10th session of the United Nations World Urban Forum, being held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

"In the era of digital revolution, access to information is a critical economic driver. Smart cities mission since its inception has emphasized on harnessing the power of information and technology to augment the quality of life of the citizenry. This is especially true for people with disabilities. We believe this new collaboration between G3ict and NIUA will help us to magnify the intended impacts of the mission and be more inclusive at the same time," said Mr. Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary & Mission Director, Smart Cities Mission.

"We are working towards Building Accessible, Safe and Inclusive Indian Cities,” said Hitesh Vaidya, Director, NIUA. "We are happy to work with G3ict and hope that our collaboration will lead to a better understanding of the potential of new technologies in promoting inclusion and effective access to cities across India."

G3ict and the NIUA will partner in providing to India’s 100 smart cities technical and policy advice related to innovation, technology deployment, and digital inclusion of the 28 million persons with disabilities in India (according to a 2018 sample survey). The two organizations will jointly leverage their respective programs, global networks, research, and collaborative tools to support this work.

"G3ict and the NIUA share a belief that technology and data can play a greater role in securing real inclusion for persons with disabilities across India,” said James Thurston, Vice President of G3ict. “We are proud to support India in taking exciting steps toward creating a country of smart cities that are also inclusive cities."

Today, as a first collaborative project, G3ict and the NIUA announced they would work with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to survey cities across India about how technology is currently being deployed to support key city services and what are the implications for persons with disabilities. It is envisaged that the surveys and its finding will be made public in a report by the end of 2020.

This new collaboration, including the survey project with NIUA, builds on both an existing program, ‘Building Accessible, Safe & Inclusive Indian Cities’, at NIUA supported by the Department for International Development of the UK Government and on the significant efforts by G3ict and its global partners to define the challenges and opportunities that the digital transformation of cities present to persons with disabilities.

"Working with stakeholders engaged with Persons with Disabilities in all 100 smart cities in India, we are hopeful that this new collaboration between NIUA and G3ict would help us empower these cities to be both smarter and more inclusive," said A N Nanda Kishore, DFID Program Coordinator at NIUA.


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 (CRPD) promoting digital accessibility and Assistive Technologies. Participating organizations include industry, academia, the public sector and organizations representing persons with disabilities. G3ict promotes good practices in digital accessibility policies and programs and provides tools for advocates around the world, including its Digital Accessibility Rights Evaluation Index (DARE Index) designed to benchmark countries progress. Through its division IAAP, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, G3ict offers professional development resources and certification to more than 2,000 members in 46 countries. Since 2011, G3ict organizes the M-Enabling Summit in cooperation with E.J. Krause and Associates which promotes innovation in accessible technologies and environments. For more information, please visit the G3ict website.

About NIUA

NIUA - Established in 1976, National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) was tasked to bridge the gap between research and practice on issues related to urbanization and suggest ways and mechanisms to address urban challenges in the country. For more than 40 years now, NIUA has been the vanguard for contributing to, and at times, building the urban narrative for a fast-evolving Urban India. The Institution has been actively working on bringing forth key areas of concern for urban India in order to build the urban discourse at various urban scales.

It has utilized its competencies in research, knowledge management, policy advocacy and capacity building to address urban challenges and continuously striving to develop sustainable, inclusive, and productive urban ecosystems in the country. It has emerged as a thought leader and knowledge hub for urban development in India and is sought out by both Indian and International organizations for collaborations and partnerships in India’s urban transforming journey. NIUA is committed towards aligning its efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under all its initiatives and programs.


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NIUA

A N Nanda Kishore, DFID Program Coordinator & Team Leader ‘Building Accessible, Safe & Inclusive Indian Cities’, NIUA Email - akishore@niua.org

G3ict

Udita Singh, Communications Manager, G3ict, udita.singh@g3ict.org, 206-437-8740