IGF 2020 WS #202 Digital Discrimination during the COVID 19 Pandemic

Time
Monday, 16th November, 2020 (12:20 UTC) - Monday, 16th November, 2020 (13:50 UTC)
Room
Room 2
About this Session
International experts and advocates with disabilities, have come together to discuss how COVID 19 has affected persons with disabilities and how pandemic has changed the narrative around planning for services and support. This session will bring into a spotlight what it means to enable Persons with Disabilities in meaningful participation, where they shall be equal partners in designing, implementation and delivering solutions which will provide access.
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Lidia Best, National Association of Deafened People ( NADP)
Organizer 2: Christopher Lee, G3ict/IAAP
Organizer 3: Paulina Lewandowska, Association of Hard of Hearing People and CI users- SUITA
Organizer 4: Andrea Saks, G3ict
Organizer 5: Judith Hellerstein, H&A

Speaker 1: Lidia Best, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Christopher Lee, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Shadi Abou-Zahra, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Masahito Kawamori, Technical Community, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 5: Fernando Botelho, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Moderator

Paulina Lewandowska, Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Online Moderator

Judith Hellerstein, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Rapporteur

Andrea Saks, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Format

Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1.What are specific barriers to digital access to virtual platforms. 2.How remote participation and remote participation tools should be set up to include all participants 3.COVID 19 pandemic’s real impact on Persons with Disabilities and those with specific needs because of technical exclusion. 4.Solutions that can be implemented with examples of good practices. 5.Digital divide among Persons with Disabilities and those with specific needs including those with age related disabilities 6.Educating Governments on what needs to be done by raising awareness of technical solutions with education. 7.What participation of Persons with Disabilities means in practice?

Topics that will be discussed by the speakers in brief presentations and a round table setting with audience participation: 1.Describing specific barriers to digital access to virtual platforms. 2.How remote participation and remote participation tools should be set up to include all participants 3.COVID 19 pandemic’s real impact on Persons with Disabilities and those with specific needs because of technical exclusion. 4.Solutions that can be implemented with examples of good practices. 5.Digital divide among Persons with Disabilities and those with specific needs including those with age related disabilities 6.Educating Governments on what needs to be done by raising awareness of technical solutions with education.

SDGs

GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Description:

Digital Discrimination during the COVID 19 Pandemic: Challenges and Solutions Background: As a result of the global lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic, all essential services have migrated to virtual platforms and remote participation methods for education, businesses, emergency or health services. Much of those services were often impossible to access for persons with disabilities and those with specific needs - 15% of the world population as per the World Bank and WHO estimates. This lack of accessible digital platforms meant that many could not access the guidelines around the world to help protect themselves and their families to fight COVID-19. As a result, Persons with Disabilities and those with specific needs, especially older persons with age related disabilities, were at a significantly higher risk of illness, isolation and death. Digital Exclusion due to lack of digital accessibility accommodation equals to a form of discrimination as per the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) ratified by 181 countries. Since well documented digital accessibility solutions exist, they should be utilized. Beyond the COVID19 Pandemic, in the future these solutions should be implemented on a global basis and be standardized and interoperable. This session will examine with the audience, and well-known international accessibility experts, the most prevalent forms of digital exclusion that occurred during the pandemic and the solutions for accessible remote communication and participation for Persons with Disabilities. Workshop Chair: Andrea Saks, Chair, ITU JCA-AHF (Joint Coordinating Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors) Remote moderator: Judith Hellerstein ISOC SIG Speakers: ● Lidia Best: NADP,UK ● Christopher Lee: Chief Learning Officer, G3ict, MD of IAAP. USA ● Shadi Abou Zahra: (W3C), France ● Fernando Botelho: f123.org, Brazil ● Masahito Kawamori: Keio University, ITU Rapporteur SG16/26 Japan This session will bring into a spotlight what it means to enable Persons with Disabilities in meaningful participation, where they shall be equal partners in designing, implementation and delivering solutions which will provide access.

Expected Outcomes

The session will help identify the most important areas of opportunity that governments can tackle to reduce the exclusion of persons with disabilities from digital contents and services during emergency situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The conclusions and recommendations of the workshop will be memorialized by the rapporteur of the workshop and subsequently published through the Global Accessibility News, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals and the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs with the aim to foster and coordinate advocacy initiatives around the world.

The session will be roundtable, all participants will introduce themselves (both onsite and online) and everyone will be encouraged to take part in the discussion. We will ensure all participants are aware of accessibility such as real time captioning and we will support everyone participation actively during roundtable.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Since mission critical information and services during a state of emergency are communicated in large part via the Internet, ensuring that those are accessible to persons with disabilities is a critical Internet governance issue that needs to be addressed by all governments around the world. While policies have been progressively adopted to this effect around the world for public web sites, their implementation is severely lagging due to a lack of enforcement.

Relevance to Theme: The accessibility of digital contents and services is a necessary condition for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in today’s digital society, culture and economy. The specific topic of the session around the COVID-19 situation will illustrate how a widespread lack of attention to digital accessiblity ends up discriminating against persons with disabilities on a large scale most often with public funds.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool.

 

Agenda

Andrea Saks -  ITU JCA-AHF - Opening remarks

Lidia Best – National Association of Deafened People "Hearing loss and the pandemic"

Fernando Botelho – f123.org " Failure is always an option"

Shadi Abou Zahra – W3C "Webs accessibility"

Masahito Kawamori – Keio University "The use of Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) during COVID-19".

Christopher Lee – G3ict  " Digital Accessibility Rights Evaluation Index (DARE)

Q&A session

Andrea Saks - Closing remarks

1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
COVID 19 pandemic’s real impact on Persons with Disabilities and those with specific needs because of technical exclusion and solutions that can be implemented with examples of good practices.
Educating Governments on what needs to be done by raising awareness of technical solutions with education. How remote participation and remote participation tools should be set up to include all participants
What participation of Persons with Disabilities means in practice? How to ensure persons with disabilities are consulted on key policy and accessibility developments.
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

PwD and especially older people have been affected discrimination in digital access to a greater extend during the  pandemic. It has highlighted the tremendous deficiencies and exposed gaps in the accessibility of strategic services in education, government and health services infrastructure and content.There is a delay in adopting and implementing WCAG, signifying that web accessibility is not a priority.  Lack of accessible information creates a risk to managing the pandemic and a risk to people’s health, wellbeing and the saving of lives. There is lack of education of IT people, policy makers etc. on how to make accessible digital contents and services. The need of direct involvement of PwD in the design of products and services, policy development, standardization etc. (Nothing about us without us) as it enables to get the benefits of Artificial Inteligence (AI) and don't have inaccessible technologies that that we have to chase behind and retro-fit and make accessible again. There is a need to include people who understand about disability, social issues, the limitations, rights. In some health hazards, risk and emergency situations it is not acceptable that there’s a limited access to full and accurate information - to have the best results it’s worth supporting a combination of technology providing captions and the work of captioners. AI is a game-changer but it's not 100% accurate. To have an effective design of technologies we have a very good balance between all of these interests and needs. Opportunities offered by Video Relay Interpretation ( VRI) have been presented and how they can support inclusion of persons wish sensory issues, deafness and vision loss. Digital Accessibility Rights Evaluation Index (DARE) was presented by G3ict representative showing slow progress but some areas of optimism that we are moving in the right direction.

 

3. Key Takeaways

Accessibility has to be part of mainstream education and digital qualification, as stipulated by the UN CRPD  from the beginning as the developers, IT support and policy makers need to better understand the issues of not only accessibility but also the digital world.

Digital technology is no longer a luxury or a convenience, it is an absolute necessity so there is a need to look at the accessibility more strategically - to have a structure that would prevent PwD from being excluded. The advocation, including accessibility throughout education and particularly IT to make sure that people are aware of accessibility and know how to address it in all these capacities.

Much of accessibility is feasible and standards and technologies and solutions exist already. Legislations just needs to be implemented. The need of laws and regulations in effect that help regulators or other people to guarantee certain rights.

To make sure momentum in ICT accessibility supporting legislation continues to be a positive trend and that digital accessibility solution standards and guidelines exist. They must be made available to build an exclusive, accessible and sustainable digital world so there is a need to continue to advocate that. Getting countries to adopt these standards and really promoting them, making sure they know how to do it from the implementation standpoint (training and certification). The involvement of people with disabilities in these actions is important.

Choice is important for people with hearing loss because they interact in a specific way with other people and technology based on the level of their ability to hear. It is very important to look at how people choose to interact with the Internet and with all the different services and provide the range of ways to contacted.

 

 

6. Final Speakers

Andrea Saks -  ITU JCA-AHF - Opening remarks

Lidia Best – National Association of Deafened People 

Fernando Botelho – f123.org 

Shadi Abou Zahra – W3C

Masahito Kawamori – Keio University 

Christopher Lee – G3ict  

Q&A session

Andrea Saks - Closing remarks

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

The session pannelist representation followed gender distribution as much as possible. There were no specific discussions touching on gender issues in respect to accessibility issues since both genders are affected.

8. Session Outputs

1. G3ict Digital Accessibility Rights Evaluation-DARE Index https://g3ict.org/publication/dare-index-2020-global-progress-by-crpd-states-parties

2. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ( WCAG) https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/ https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/

3. Training in accesible digital content and accessibility https://digital-accessibility.eu/?fbclid=IwAR1ObR-1oGNlExC9ckcGL3rtY168504qD-0t_jeFYk-rtG0rsTvt7Xa7NTo

4. ITU-T Technical Paper - Guidelines for supporting remote participation in meetings for all (2015)https://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-t/opb/tut/T-TUT-FSTP-2015-ACC-PDF-E.pdf

5. FSTP-ACC.WebVRI - Guideline on web-based remote sign language interpretation or video remote interpretation (VRI) system https://www.itu.int/pub/T-TUT-FSTP-2020-ACC.WEBVRI

6. NADP simple factsheets for users and organisers of online meetings https://www.nadp.org.uk/events/?fbclid=IwAR1ObR-1oGNlExC9ckcGL3rtY168504qD-0t_jeFYk-rtG0rsTvt7Xa7NTo

 

9. Group Photo
IGF 2020 WS #202 Digital Discrimination during the COVID 19 Pandemic