Submitted Proposals


Organization: Council of Europe
Title :
12. Internet accessibility for people with disabilities
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

Access to information and communication is a key aspect for participation in society. If people with disabilities are to exercise their rights actively, participate and make choices about their lives, it is essential that they can access information through adequate communication systems. For many people with disabilities, however, information and communication continue to be largely inaccessible. Ongoing developments in information and communications are changing the way in which citizens interact with each other, conduct business, access services and information and communicate generally. Technological advancements include the Internet, eCommunication facilities, videophones, etc. It is important that all citizens benefit from such technological advancements and that no group be excluded, in particular people with disabilities. Public bodies have a particular duty to ensure that their information is accessible in a range of formats responding to the diverse needs of people with disabilities. Such bodies should also be models of best practice for the private sector, and all those providing services to people with disabilities, who should be encouraged to adopt such practices also. Communication systems must also be accessible to people with disabilities.

There are already good examples of the types of systems that can be used, such as telephone relay systems or text and video communication systems. New technologies and Internet, in particular, can in certain cases compensate for disability in daily living, generate independence and social integration. Internet should be seen both as a service in its own right and as a means to reach other services. For many people with disabilities, accessibility of Internet is a pre-requisite, a stepping stone for getting access to education, employment, health care, tourism and many other services. That also means that people with disabilities are primary stakeholders, when it comes to Internet development. People with disabilities should be consulted regarding the development of standards and the design of new communication and information systems. If we are to have a truly inclusive society, people with disabilities must be able to use information and communication systems along with everyone else.

On this basis, the workshop discussions will be centred around the following three main topics:

1. Acknowledging the public service value of the Internet through responsible public policy-making and private commitment to improving the accessibility of the Internet for people with disabilities.

2. International and national legal instruments and strategies promoting the accessibility of the Internet for people with disabilities and -- vice versa – the role of the Internet in contributing to the implementation of these instruments (e.g. United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015, national e-accessibility strategies, etc.).

3. Provision of accessibility solutions for the existing systems, products and services, and the application of Universal Design principles for all newly created ones.

Agenda

Chair: Angela Garabagiu, Council of Europe

Co-Chair: Madam Hu Qiheng, Chairman of Internet Society of China

1. Access to information and communication for people with disabilities – the human rights perspective (36 mins)

Speakers:

a) "From equal access to information to full participation and inclusion" -- Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe

b) UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities -- Damian Tatic, former member of the Civil Society Caucus in the process of drafting of the UN Convention, Legal Advisor, Serbia (7 mins)

c) The role of intergovernmental co-operation in promoting Internet accessibility for people with disabilities -- Angela Garabagiu, Council of Europe (7 mins)

d) “Nothing about us without us” -- Participation of people with disabilities in policy-making with regard to Internet Governance – the case of EDF participation in EU policy-making on e-accessibility – representative of the European Disability Forum (EDF) (7 mins)

Panelists invited to take part in the debates as a follow-up to WG1 of the Dynamic Coalition on “Accessibility and Disability” (DCAD) (10 mins): Andrea Beccalli (UNESCO), Cynthia Waddell (ICDRI)

2. Contribution of Internet developers to granting universal access to Internet (24 mins)

Speakers:

a) Universal Design as one of the basic principles contributing to a greater Internet accessibility for people with disabilities -- Klaus-Peter Wegge, Germany, former Chairman of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Universal Design (Accessibility) (proposed) (7 mins)

b) Digital and Web accessibility for people with disabilities: AccessiWeb -- Pierre Guillou, AccessiWeb, France (7 mins) Panelists invited to take part in the debates as a follow-up to WG1 of the Dynamic Coalition on “Accessibility and Disability” (DCAD) (10 mins): Shadi Abou-Zahra (W3C-WAI Initiative), Fernando Botelho (Literacy Bridge)

3. Information Technology and Standards to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities – how are the standardisation processes contributing to ensuring Internet access for people with disabilities? (25 mins)

Speaker:

a) Information Technology and Standards to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities -- Mr. Gao Xinmin, Standing Vice Chairman of Internet Society of China (15 mins)

Discussion (10 mins)

4. Wrap up: conclusions, messages and reporting back (5 mins)

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in proposed workshop.
  • Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe 
  • Hu Qiheng, Chairman of Internet Society of China
  • Damian Tatic, former member of the Civil Society Caucus in the process of drafting of the UN Convention, Legal Advisor, Serbia
  • Angela Garabagiu, Council of Europe
  • Andrea Beccalli (UNESCO)
  • Klaus-Peter Wegge, Germany
  • Pierre Guillou, AccessiWeb, France Dynamic Coalition on “Accessibility and Disability” (DCAD) representative
  • Cynthia Waddell (ICDRI) 
  • Shadi Abou-Zahra (W3C-WAI Initiative)
  • Fernando Botelho (Literacy Bridge)
  • Mr. Gao Xinmin, Standing Vice Chairman of Internet Society of China
Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups. Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.
The Secretariat of the the European Co-ordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 will organise the workshop together with organisations and associations active in the field, such as the European disability movement organisations (partners to be confirmed), and public and private sector, and academia. In this connection, geographical, gender, multisectorial and multiprofessional representation of stakeholder groups will be ensured.
Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?
Yes, the Council of Europe strives in its work to provide different perspectives and will ensure that a range of views, experiences and expertise are shared in the workshop.
Please explain how the workshop will address issues relating to Internet governance and describe how the workshop conforms with the Tunis Agenda in terms of substance and the mandate of the IGF.

The workshop directly relates to Paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda, in particular:a. Discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internetb. Facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet and discuss issues that do not fall within the scope of any existing bodyc. Interface with appropriate inter-governmental organizations and other institutions on matters under their purviewd. Facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and in this regard make full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific and technical communitiese. Advise all stakeholders in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world f. Strengthen and enhance the engagement of stakeholders in existing and/or future Internet governance mechanisms, particularly those from developing countriesg. Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendationsh. Contribute to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries, drawing fully on local sources of knowledge and expertise.

The workshop also relates to the implementation and follow-up section of the Tunis Agenda, in particular to: "building ICT capacity for all and confidence in the use of ICTs by all - including (...) people with disabilities", and to "paying special attention to the formulation of universal design concepts and the use of assistaive technologies that promote access for all persons, including those with disabilities".

List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.

20-21 Sept. 2007 European High Level Conference on the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015: National Implementation - from Policy to Practice, Zagreb, Croatia (150 participants) 

21-22 Sept. 2006 Launch of the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 at the European Conference “Improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Europe: participation for all, innovation, effectiveness”, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, (350 participants) 

11-13 June 2006 Ms Angela GARABAGIU, Co-secretary to the European Co-ordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015, represented the Council of Europe in the Ministerial Conference on "ICT for an inclusive society", organised by the European Commission, together with the Latvian Government and the Austrian EU Presidency in Riga, Latvia 8-9 November 2004 Conference: “Human Rights – Disability – Children. Towards international instruments for disability rights: the special case of disabled children, Strasbourg, France (120 participants)

30 Aug. 2004 Side event: “Access to social rights for people with disabilities in Europe”, at the 4th session of the UN Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, New York, USA

7-8 May 2003 Second European Conference of Ministers responsible for integration policies for people with disabilities, Malaga, Spain (300 participants).

Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?
No workshops in this field of its expertise have been previously organised.