(No.129) The Sustainable Benefits of Inclusion on the Internet

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Status: 
Accepted
Workshop Theme: 
Access and Diversity
Concise Description of Workshop: 

The first ever World report on disability, produced jointly by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, suggests that more than a billion people in the world today experience disability.
Article 9 of The United Nations convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been ratified by over 100 countries, declares that what it calls States Parties "shall also take appropriate measures to: ... Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet".
This workshop will highlight methods of achieving inclusion on the Internet and will demonstrate some of the long-term, sustainable benefits that accrue to all of society.

Organiser(s) Name: 

Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD)

Previous Workshop(s): 
Submitted Workshop Panelists: 

Speakers:

Gerry Ellis, Feel The BenefIT, Ireland
"Universal Design - Sustainable Business and Societal Benefits"
 
Arun Mehta, Bidirectional Access Promotion Society, India
"Those who fall between the cracks: the case of the deaf-blind"
 
Peter Major, DCAD Co-coordinator, Switzerland
"Activities of ITU and the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) on Accessibility for persons with disabilities: an overview"
 
Jorge Plano, ISOC, Argentina
“The growth of the e-book market: Promises and dangers for accessibility”
 
Shadi Abou-Zahra, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, Austria
“Web Accessibility Now”
 
Session Moderator: Peter Major, DCAD Co-coordinator
 

Name of Remote Moderator(s): 
Ginger Paque, Diplo Foundation
Gender Report Card
Please estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session: 
There were very few women participants
To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment?: 
It was raised by one or more of the speakers as an important aspect of the session's theme
Report
Reported by: 
DCAD
A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were raised: 

The title of the workshop “The Sustainable Benefits of Inclusion on the Internet” intended to steer the discussion on the reality of what member states (and states parties that are signatories of the United nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – (UNCRDP)) have to do in relation to “take appropriate measures to […] Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet".
The workshop highlighted methods of achieving inclusion on the Internet and demonstrated some of the long-term, sustainable benefits that accrue to all of society.

Conclusions and further comments: 

Mr Peter Major, DCAD Co-coordinator opened the workshop offering an overview of the ITU activities for accessibility in all the sectors of the International Telecommunication Union *ITU. He continued presenting the activities of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD). The DCAD Co-coordinator also took the occasion to present in this workshop, the proposal of Hungary to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) to add a new article on the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) treaty called “Accessibility for Persons with disabilities”.

The second panelist, Mr Jorge Plano, from the Internet Society, Argentina, focused on the accessibility of Persons with Disabilities to electronic publications, namely e-books. He highlighted that in accessing knowledge, notably to digital books, there are two parallel processes that are growing in parallel. On one side, there is a digitalization of users/persons with disabilities having access to schools, universities and libraries, which are all converging on this effort all over the world.
Prof Mehta’s presentation talked about deaf-blind persons in the world, their daily challenge in communication and took for instance the case of Professor Stephen Hawkins, who is an eminent scientist, author, inventor, person with many disabilities, and able to communicate, to teach, invent, live a full life, operating his computer through just one button. The presentation highlighted that the persons that do not or cannot succeed in getting onto the information highway are excluded for most of the communications in this information society.

Mr Shadi Abou-Zahra, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), further presented the latest news of making websites accessible to persons with disabilities. He highlighted the work of the W3C that is constantly involved in the development of the web to convey it to the needs of the persons with disabilities with the adoption of a new more accessible International standard. This is an ongoing process rather than an end-goal in itself. This presentation introduced the resources developed through the Web Accessibility Initiatives (WAI)-ACT Project.

All the presentations, abstract and bio of the panelists participating to the workshop can be found on the DCAD website: http://www.itu.int/themes/accessibility/dc/workshops/201109/137/index.html