IGF 2020 Accessibility - Closing the Gap

Friday, 6th November, 2020 (11:30 UTC) - Friday, 6th November, 2020 (13:00 UTC)
Room 2
About this Session
Closing the gap to improve accessibility for persons with disability is the key focus of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD). This session brings together disability experts presenting their experiences of online meetings during COVID-19 as well as discussing intersessional activities and plans.

Dynamic Coaltion on Accessibility and Disabiity

Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

New Online Format
Round Table

The program for this DCAD session is:

1. Welcome & accessibility check

2. Roll call

3. Introduction – Gerry Ellis

4. DCAD IGF Participation Support Grant – Gunela Astbrink

5. Experiences of online meetings:

  • Paulina Lewandowska has done extensive research in distant learning and teaching and empowerment for people who are hard of hearing in a practical and policy setting.
  • Petra Rezar or Damjan Šebjan have set up a project to share stories among Deaf people globally using up to 13 sign language interpreters from countries represented in each online call.
  • Muhammad Shabbir Awan will present his experience as a person with a visual impairment in academia and civil society in the Global South.
  • Discussion

6. Accessibility of 2020 Virtual IGF – Discussion

7. Proposal for a Best Practice Forum on Accessibility – Gunela Astbrink

8. National/Regional Initiatives – Judy Okite & Judith Hellerstein

9. Dynamic Coalition liaison – Judith Hellerstein

10. Mainstreaming accessibility – Shadi Abou-Zahra & Peter Crosbie

11. Conclusion

Relevance to IG

The DCAD session is highly relevant to Internet Governance and will build on its previous work of developing Accessibility Guidelines for use by the IGF to ensure the venue and online facilities are accessible. Spreading information about accessibility to NRIs in a targeted manner will mean that more persons with disability will be able to participate in Internet Governance debates and discussions on a global, regional and national basis. As well, increasing liaison with other Dynamic Coalitions leads to increased understanding about each other's work and shared learning.

Relevance to Theme

Inclusion is integral for over one billion persons with disability globally who need to access the Internet on an equitable basis. Persons with disability cannot be considered 'the other' but be part of the general community. This includes ensuring that Internet applications and systems are designed with accessibility in mind from the outset.


Gunela Astbrink, DCAD Coordinator

  • Paulina Lewandowska
  • Petra Rezar or Damjan Šebjan
  • Muhammad Shabbir Awan
  • Peter Crosbie
  • Judy Okite
  • Shadi Abou-Zahra
  • Judith Hellerstein
  • Gunela Astbrink
Onsite Moderator

Gerry Ellis, Feel the Benefit & Gunela Astbrink, DCAD Coordinator

Online Moderator

Judith Hellerstein, ISOC Accessibility SIG


Peter Crosbie, CCNAF (Comité Consultatif National des Autistes de France)


GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities

Reference Document: https://igf-dcad.org/

1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
Increased participation by persons with disability in IGF policy discussions.
The role of standards and guidelines in improving accessibility.
Methods of raising awareness of persons with disability as a major stake-holder to embed accessibility in policy development.
6. Final Speakers
  • Paulina Lewandowska
  • Petra Rezar
  • Muhammad Shabbir Awan
  • Peter Crosbie
  • Judy Okite
  • Shadi Abou-Zahra
  • Judith Hellerstein
  • Gunela Astbrink
7. Reflection to Gender Issues

The session did not directly discuss gender issues. However, there was a gender balance in all the discussions.