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Landmark decisions from Guadalajara
Accessibility for people with disabilities, including age-related disabilities
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Resolution 175 (New)

A new resolution sets out ways for ITU to mainstream people with disabilities in all its work. Entitled “Telecommunication/information and communication technology accessibility for persons with disabilities, including age-related disabilities”, the resolution recognizes a number of international agreements, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in May 2008, and which requires State Parties to adopt appropriate measures to provide access for persons with disabilities — on an equal basis with others — to ICT, emergency services and Internet service.

ITU is already collaborating with external entities and bodies concerned with this subject, and should adopt a comprehensive action plan to extend access to telecommunication/ICT to people with disabilities. The Secretary-General and Directors of the Bureaux will coordinate accessibility-related activities between ITU–R, ITU–T and ITU–D, in collaboration with other relevant organizations and entities, in order to avoid duplication. They should consider “the financial implications of providing accessible information through ICT and access to ITU facilities, services and programmes for participants with visual, hearing or physical disabilities, including captioning at meetings, access to print information and the ITU website, access to ITU buildings and meeting facilities, and the adoption of accessible ITU recruitment practices and employment”.

In addition, when developing and progressing ITU work, elected officials should encourage and promote representation by persons with disabilities to ensure that their experiences, views and opinions are taken on board. Further, they should consider expanding the fellowship programme to enable delegates with disabilities to participate in the work of the Union. Another useful step, according to the resolution, will be for ITU to document and disseminate examples of best practices among its Member States and Sector Members.

Finally, the resolution invites Member States and Sector Members to consider developing, within their national legal frameworks, guidelines or other mechanisms to enhance the accessibility, compatibility and usability of telecommunication/ICT services, products and terminals, and to offer support to regional initiatives in this area. They should consider introducing appropriate telecommunication/ICT services in order to enable persons with disabilities to utilize these services on an equal basis with others.

Reports on this matter will be submitted to the ITU Council (annually) and to the next Plenipotentiary Conference in 2014. A special Trust Fund has been set up by ITU to support activities in the area of accessibility, and the international community is invited to contribute.

 

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