Pacific ICT for persons with disabilities workshop adopts Nadi Declaration
"ICT are among the best solutions to empower persons with disabilities" said the participants from Pacific countries at a three day ICT workshop in Nadi, Fiji, while urging governments to adopt ICT accessibility guidelines.
In the so-called "Nadi Declaration", which the participants adopted at end of the event, they stressed that ICTs are "opening up opportunities for employment at all skill levels and opportunities to live independently in the community".
But they also warn that the rapid development of ICT has given rise to "unanticipated problems for persons with certain disabilities, and that the majority of persons with disabilities in Pacific Island countries are poor and have been excluded from ICT use".
They appeal to governments, private sector and civil society organizations in the Pacific Region to adopt ICT accessibility guidelines for persons with disabilities in their national and organisational ICT policies and specifically include persons with disabilities as their target beneficiary group with appropriate measures.
The Nadi Declaration is hoped to assist lobbying responsible bodies in the home countries of the participants for the provision of accessible ICT devices for persons with disabilities.
In addition to providing the participants from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu with hands on training for some of the devices, the event was also intended to train Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) on the formulation of appropriate inclusive ICT Policy and on the best of use ICT and adoptive devices for people with disabilities.
The three day workshop entitled "Pacific Sub regional Training Workshop on Information and Communication Technology for Disabled Persons Organizations" was organized from 12 to 14 June 2006 as a joint project between the UNESCO and the Fiji Disabled Peoples Association (FDPA).
The FDPA is a national cross disability self-help organization for people with disabilities, it promotes that people with disabilities should be given equal opportunities to ensure our participation in all works of life.
The Asia Pacific Centre on Disability (APCD) based in Bangkok provided Resource Persons for the training. APCD is a technical cooperation project between the Government of Japan and the Government of Thailand, which is started in Bangkok in August 2002. The overall goal of the project is to promote the empowerment of people with disabilities and a barrier-free society in developing countries in the Asia and Pacific Region.