UN Asia-Pacific forum focuses on technology for people with disabilities

29 September 2008
Participants at workshop

The United Nations today kicked off an initiative to improve access to information and communication technology (ICT) for persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific, including using a computer keyboard or being able to see information on the Internet – things most people take for granted.

The four-day training, which began in Incheon, Republic of Korea, brings together policymakers from Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam together with ICT accessibility experts from the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Germany, United States, Japan, Thailand and the Republic of Korea.

“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in May this year, emphasizes among other things the importance of the accessibility to ICT,” said Thelma Kay, Director of the Social Development Division of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The initiative was organized by ESCAP and its subsidiary, the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT), in conjunction with the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (KADO).

The gathering will discuss, and hopefully adopt, the ICT accessibility guidelines for persons with disabilities, especially women and children, drafted by ESCAP and KADO. It will also share good practices in the provision of ICT accessibility to persons with disabilities, of which there are some 400 million in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Improving ICT accessibility can involve anything, from designing government web sites to work seamlessly with software to assist the visually impaired, to making sure specialized equipment to facilitate access is affordable,” said Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director of ACPICT.

The Centre will also deliver its own flagship training programme the “Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders: ICT Project Management in Theory and Practices,” designed to better equip policymakers for ICT project management.


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