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Model Digital Accessibility Policies Presented at the United Nations

Newly released ITU and G3ict legislative and regulatory framework for digital accessibility reviewed on International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

NEW YORK (December 03, 2014) —

Jointly speaking in the panel discussion, “Crossing the Digital Divide,” organized by UNDESA at United Nations headquarters in New York on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Gary Fowlie, Head of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Strategy and Policy Unit at the UN in New York, and Axel Leblois, President and Executive Director of the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict), pointed out that “States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) can leverage the unprecedented growth in mobile and Internet use worldwide to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in cooperation with organizations of persons with disabilities and industry.” This opportunity is presented in detail in the just released Model ICT Accessibility Policy Report jointly published by the ITU and G3ict.

The report is the first available comprehensive framework for national policy-makers and regulators creating their own Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) accessibility policies and programs, in consultation with persons with disabilities and information technology stakeholders, bearing in mind the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in using many mainstream ICTs. Derived from CRPD dispositions and good practices from around the world, it focuses on different aspects of ICT accessibility, namely amendments to the existing ICT legal framework, public ICT access, mobile communications, television/video programming, government websites and public procurement of accessible ICTs.

According to ITU Secretary-General, Hamadoun I. Touré, “ITU is working with all stakeholders towards global ICT accessibility and affordability in all countries and regions and by all peoples, including persons with disabilities. There is no doubt that ICTs can enable and accelerate access to resources such as education and health care for persons with disabilities leading to their greater social, economic and political inclusion.”

“ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities is a priority for ITU members,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. “I believe that creating and implementing national ICT accessibility policy frameworks will lead to unprecedented growth in accessible ICTs and the empowerment of persons with disabilities. The impact of these policies will be enjoyed by many others, including immigrants, aging and illiterate populations, and will open doors to inclusive education, employment and health services.”

The Model ICT Accessibility Policy Report is developed for ICT policy-makers, regulators and other stakeholders active in ICT and/or disability issues, including Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), organizations of persons with disabilities, and parliamentarians.

The report has been prepared pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in line with the ITU and G3ict ICT Accessibility Policy Toolkit for persons with disabilities. It benefited from multiple contributions and reviews by digital accessibility experts and policy makers from around the world with experience in implementing ICT accessibility policies and programs.

“ITU’s leadership in promoting ICT accessibility plays an important role in realizing the promises of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” highlighted Axel Leblois, President and Executive Director of G3ict. “The report, which is the result of seven years of cooperation between ITU and G3ict, offers easy to use policy frameworks inspired by existing good practices and available technologies from around the world. It also emphasizes the critical importance of involving relevant stakeholders in developing and monitoring ICT accessibility policies with the active participation of persons with disabilities. It is our hope that the model policies presented in the report will help accelerate the accessibility of essential ICT products and services for citizens of all abilities,” added Mr. Leblois.

G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, was launched in 2006 in cooperation with UNDESA to promote the dispositions of the CRPD relative to Digital Accessibility. G3ict and ITU have developed a long standing cooperation in jointly designing, publishing and promoting tools for policy makers overseeing digital accessibility policies and programs fostering multi-stakeholder cooperation.

At the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC 2014), ITU members reaffirmed that there should be non-discriminatory access to telecommunication/ICT, facilities, services and applications. Digital Inclusion is part of the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector’s activities designed to promote ICT accessibility and use for the social and economic development of people with specific needs, including indigenous peoples and people living in rural areas; persons with disabilities; women and girls; and youth and children.

» Download Model ICT Accessibility Policy Report

About ITU
ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. For nearly 150 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to new-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology and converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world. Visit

About G3ict
G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 to promote the ICT accessibility provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in cooperation with the Secretariat for the CRPD at UNDESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the CRPD promoting digital accessibility and Assistive Technologies. Participating organizations include industry, academia, the public sector and organizations representing persons with disabilities. G3ict produces jointly with ITU the e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities as well as specialized reports which are widely used around the world by policy makers involved in the implementation of the CRPD. For additional information on G3ict, visit


Contact: Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Vice President, Institutional Relations, G3ict at