Regional Forum for Europe on
“Accessible Europe: ICTs 4 ALL" took place in
St George's Bay, St. Julian’s, Malta, from
4 to 6 December 2019. This regional event for Europe was being jointly organized by the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and European Commission (EC), and is hosted by the Parliamentary Secretariat for Persons with Disability & Active Ageing (PSDAA).
Accessible Europe was held within the framework of the Regional Initiative for Europe on Accessibility, affordability and skills development for all to ensure digital inclusion and sustainable development adopted by the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2017. This regional initiative aims at bridging the digital divide and equipping all groups of society, including persons with disabilities and other groups of people with specific needs, to take advantage of ICT, by enabling capacity building in digital skills.
In this context, the Forum focused on further promoting the development of accessibility in countries and institutions, through the collective effort and cooperation of stakeholders and through sharing of successful outcomes of projects and initiatives implemented, in order to interchange resources and solutions and make the European region a more inclusive society. Telecommunications and the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are of vital importance for people's empowerment and in promoting accessibility policies. The event highlighted the relevance of joining efforts to remove barriers and enable human development and social inclusion of persons with disabilities and other groups of people with specific needs, either through cooperation, programmes and projects development, and generate partnerships, and training.
In line with the above, the ITU and EC have joined efforts to encourage Governments, Private Sector, Civil Society, Academia and other stakeholders to promote ICT accessibility in order to create fair and equal opportunities for all people and support a regional development agenda by treating ICT accessibility for people with specific needs and in particular persons with disabilities, as a cross‐cutting development issue.
Doreen Bodgan-Martin, BDT Director, ITU
Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality
Daniela Bas, Director, UNDESA
Hon. Anthony Agius Decelis, PSDAA, Malta
Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General, UNESCO