Date: 3 December 2008 (International Day of Persons with Disabilities)
Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York

Coordinator: David Koschel

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one of the fastest ever negotiated human rights treaties. Since its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006, it was signed by 136 countries, and ratified by 41 as of October 2008. The Convention at large - and more specifically its Article 9 - creates the first universal framework addressing the accessibility of Information and Communication Technologies - ICTs - and assistive technologies, making it one of the most innovative and far reaching dispositions of the Convention.
As a result, all mandates of the Convention regarding accessibility cover ICT applications. These dispositions benefit an estimated 650 million persons living with disabilities worldwide, most of them in developing countries. The Convention puts accessible and assistive ICT solutions even more into the focus in the coming years for industry, users, and policy makers, as it represents both a major human rights milestone and a considerable market driving force for assistive and accessible ICTs.

On the occasion of the International Day of Person with Disabilities, the seminar aims to contribute to the rapid and effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in general and its digital accessibility agenda by:

providing an overview over the provisions and the status of the Convention;
introducing participants into the Digital Accessibility Agenda of the Convention;
reviewing the practical implications for signatory states with regard to provisions pertaining to digital accessibility;
sharing knowledge among key stakeholders on how ICT accessibility mandates can be best met, and the role that ICT vendors, users and policy makers can play in support its implementation; and
presenting tools and resources available to policy makers and civil society to monitor and implement the Digital Accessibility Agenda of the Convention.

The seminar will be conducted in English. Sign-language interpretation (US) will be available. Please find also the webcast recording of the seminar.

The seminar is open to all delegates of Permanent Missions of Member States to the United Nations, civil society, UN agencies and departments, and all guests that wish to observe the International Day for Persons with Disabilities at UN Headquarters.

Date and Venue:
The seminar will be held at United Nations Headquarters, New York, in Conference Room 4, on 3 December 2008 from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.

Seminar documents:
Agenda (pdf)
Information Note (pdf)

Seminar presentations:

Opening Statement by the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The Digital Accessibility Agenda of the Convention, Axel Leblois

Panel: Perspectives from Policy-Makers, Standard Organizations, and Civil Society
- Ms. Charlotte Vuyiswa McClain-Nhlapo, World Bank
- Ms. Judy Brewer, Director, Worldwide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative
- Mr. George Kerscher, Secretary-General, DAISY Consortium

Toolkit for Policy Makers: Mr. Dònal Rice

Related Links:

G3ict, the Global Intitiative for Inclusive ICTs

Global Alliance for ICT and Development, UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)

Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN DESA