It was great to be part of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D team working with our colleagues at the Inter-Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) to convene and host the first session on Accessibility Day (8th April) at this year’s tenth anniversary WSIS Annual Forum held in Geneva. The theme was “Digital technologies and accessibility: from rhetoric to reality”, and our session began with three short opening presentations:
- Monica Halil Lövblad (Head, Accessible Books Consortium) on The Marrakesh Treaty and the Accessible Books Consortium
- Alex Jones (Head of Emerging Futures and Technology, DFID) on DFID’s activities at the interface between “digital” and “accessibility”
- Akber Gardezi (Inter-Islamic Network on IT) on ICT accessibility: data, good practices and gaps
Building on these inspiring presentations, participants then turned their attention to discussing what still needs to be done to turn rhetoric into reality with respect to the empowerment of people with disabilities through ICTs. This was captured in the mind map below (link to a detailed and expandable .pdf file of the mind map):
This discussion highlighted the continuing need for work in ten main areas:
- Holistic approaches
- Enabling voices of people with disabilities
- Policies and legislation
- Differentiation between universal inclusion and assistive technologies
- Training, awareness and capacity building
- Building appropriate technologies
- Delivering commitments
Working together, we can all contribute to the empowerment of people with disabilities (details of some of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D’s activities and resources supporting people with disabilities).
Looking forward to another special set of sessions on accessibillity at next year’s WSIS 2020! Thanks to Gitanjali and her team for all the great work that they did in delivering this year’s conference!