7.2.1 ITU-G3ict e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities

The ITU-G3ict166e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities167 is an online toolkit designed to assist policy-makers to implement the ICT accessibility dispositions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The toolkit is a global collaborative effort with more than 60 contributors from around the world. It provides a range of introductory information on the ICT accessibility dispositions in the UN Convention, as well as policy advice structured by government policy area.

e-Accessibility Toolkit in brief

The Toolkit is composed of the following main categories of information:

  • An overview of the Convention and its dispositions covering ICTs,
  • Demographics and statistical analysis of the worldwide numbers of people who benefit from accessible ICTs,
  • Background on ICT accessibility issues,
  • A resource guide for policy-making by core ICT areas such as, assistive technology, websites, software and access to published works,
  • Universal design strategies for ICT products and serviced,
  • Public procurement policies,
  • Use of assistive technologies for persons with disabilities,
  • Regional and international cooperation,
  • The role of local governments, and
  • Guidance on developing public policy in support of the Convention’s ICT accessibility dispositions.

The Toolkit also contains two further resources designed to help countries to prioritize policy development:

  • Guides by policy area: A set of actions for governments to undertake under each administrative function such as telecommunication/broadcasting, education, and labour/social affairs; and
  • A Self-Assessment Framework: Guidance on how countries can begin to collect data and identify gaps in relevant policy areas, with a view to prioritizing actions to meet the relevant ICT obligations under the Convention.

In addition, the Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) is implementing a variety of projects in developing countries, including establishing community ICT centers equipped with assistive technologies so that persons with disabilities can partake in ICT literacy training. There also are ICT-enabled job training and projects targeted at the development of text-to-speech in local languages. Accessibility issues are also explored in Study Group 1 of the ITU-D, in Question 20-1/1, "Access to telecommunication/ICT services by persons with disabilities and with special needs.” Details on the work of ITU-D on accessibility can be found at http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/sis/PwDs/index.html.

The Telecommunication Standardization Sector of ITU (ITU-T) has been promoting accessibility since 2000, through the concept of “Total Communication” and the principle of “Design for all,” with its Recommendation ITU-T F.703. These two initiatives began to promote the concept of Universal Design, enshrined in the UN CRPD, eight years before its adoption by the UN. Since then, many other standards – which are called “Recommendations” in ITU parlance – have been written for accessibility and for mainstreaming accessibility within telecommunication/ICT systems.

In addition, ITU-T developed the Telecommunications Accessibility Checklist, which enables standards writers – who are manufacturers, network providers, operating agencies, regulators, along with ITU Member States – to include accessibility and universal design principles during the early stages of the standards development process, instead of having to do often expensive retrofits into existing systems and services. Details on the work of ITU-T in accessibility can be found at http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/accessibility/index.html.

166The United Nations Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) is a flagship partnership initiative of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development.