UNESCO and G3ict sign a partnership on ICT for persons with disabilities
UNESCO and the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) signed on the February 2010 2nd a partnership agreement to facilitate the social inclusion of persons with disabilities through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
This agreement contributes to the implementation of the Digital Accessibility Agenda defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Seventy-nine countries have ratified the UN Convention, making a commitment to ensure that persons with disabilities would enjoy all human rights on an equal basis. Several general principles of the Convention are directly linked to the UNESCO mandate.
UNESCO and G3ict agreed to carry out common activities, which would contribute to the empowerment of persons with disabilities, particularly through the effective use of ICT. The forms of the cooperation will include sharing of data and information, mostly on policies and programmes, and identification of good ICT practices, tools and products, in the areas of UNESCO’s competence, for persons with disabilities. In addition, both partners agreed to foster international cooperation and to collaborate in developing a framework for monitoring existing needs in ICT of disabled communities. UNESCO and G3ict will also work in partnership to develop plans and policies, as well as implementation processes in the States Parties to the UN Convention.
Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, emphasized: “UNESCO advocates for the building of knowledge societies, a vision of people-centered and development-oriented societies, where access to information and communication helps all people to achieve their full potential. ICT, including the Internet, have tremendous potential to improve the capacity of people with disabilities to access information and knowledge, and to increase their independence, improve their daily lives and broaden their horizons. The signed agreement will provide an opportunity for both partners to contribute to the implementation of articles of the UN Convention, which fall within UNESCO’s mandate, as well as mobilize new programmes and projects.”
According to Axel Leblois, Executive Director of G3ict, the agreement “demonstrates the strong commitment and leadership of UNESCO in promoting the ICT accessibility agenda of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”. “This partnership constitutes an excellent framework to develop cooperation among Member States, disabled persons organizations and civil society. It will also help to significantly raise the awareness of the challenges and opportunities of ICT for persons with disabilities among governments, to facilitate the sharing of good practices and to accelerate the implementation of ICT accessibility policies and programmes around the world,” he added.