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World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2008: Call for Action

During this year’s WTISD, ITU calls upon all stakeholders (policy makers, regulators, operators and industry) to raise awareness on the need to adopt policies and strategies that would meet the ICT needs of people with disabilities by ensuring that both equipment and services are accessible. This move would not only ensure an inclusive information society, but would also enable Member States to meet their obligations under Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006.

Among other issues, the Convention requires that “States shall take appropriate measures to:

  1. ensure ICT and emergency service access to persons with disabilities on an equal basis
  2. promote access for persons with disabilities to new ICT, including the Internet
  3. promote design, production and distribution of accessible ICT at an early stage
  4. ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion
  5. provide information in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost
  6. urge private entities that render services to the public to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities
  7. encourage mass media (including information providers through the Internet) to make their services accessible”

In order to address issues related to persons with disabilities, Member States called upon ITU to:

  • Continue creation of public awareness through workshops to identify policies, best practices, tools and resources for adaptation/use in their countries.
    Call for action: ITU Member States and Sector Members are encouraged to actively participate in ITU events for persons with disabilities and, where possible, provide experts and resources in order to share experience and best practices for mainstreaming disability issues in their policies, regulations and laws.
  • Support ongoing work aimed at developing Guidelines on Disability issues for policy makers and regulators.
    Call for action: ITU Member States and Sector Members are encouraged to participate in the activities under Question 20 in Study Group 1 to support ongoing efforts to develop the Guidelines sharing experiences and best practices on policies and practices for persons with disabilities.
  • Implement a global meeting on accessibility and services for persons with disabilities in the policy- and strategy-making process aimed at reviewing and reporting on efforts and to share best practices for accessibility as a basis for making recommendations to WTDC-2010.
    Call for action: ITU Member States and Sector Members are encouraged to partner with ITU, share experiences and contribute experts and resources to develop guidelines and recommendations for mainstreaming accessibility in issues in national ICT policies and strategies.
  • Develop and implement projects and activities addressing ICT needs for persons with disabilities
    Call for action: ITU Member States and Sector Members are encouraged to develop and implement ICT projects and activities responding to the needs of persons with disabilities and complying with ICT accessibility standards.
  • Collect data on the number of persons with disabilities who have access to ICT in order to develop suitable indicators that will contribute to placing ICT accessibility issues on the public agenda, create awareness and monitor progress for inclusion of persons with disabilities in the information society.
    Call for action: ITU Member States and Sector Members are requested to collect disaggregated data to facilitate development of policies and strategies to address ICT needs and barriers for persons with disabilities.

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Updated : 2008-05-20