2012

Though ICTs are already being used to assist people with disabilities to lead more fulfilling and rewarding lives, full potential is yet to be realised. The inaugural E-Accessibility Summit organised by the CTO held on 30th and 31st August 2012 at the Institute of Directors in London, United Kingdom initiated a Commonwealth-wide dialogue on how to improve the utilisation of ICTs to assist people with disabilities.

Hosted by the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sports, the event was attended by Ministers and senior officials of ICT Ministries, Regulatory agencies and disability councils of a number of Commonwealth countries and territories including Malawi, Kenya, Trinidad & Tobago, Ghana, Gibraltar, Jersey, Zambia, South Africa and Mauritius. The speaker faculty was led by Honourable Ed Vaizey, Minister of the Department for Culture, Media and Sports and Professor Tim Unwin, Secretary General of the CTO. The event was supported by BT, ICANN, ICT4D Collective of the Royal Holloway, University of London, together with a number of industry partners including iansyst, Adobe, Toby Churchill, Digital Accessibility Centre, BrowseAloud, Bee Communications, and Cisco.

The summit provided a platform for delegates to discuss openly the issues of accessibility for people with disabilities in their own respective countries, and also explored what measures need to be taken to deploy inclusive ICT policies. The summit concluded with agreement around eight action points that are necessary for taking this forward:

  1. The inclusion of e-inclusion on the CHOGM agenda;
  2. Policies and practices so that people with disabilities should have equal access to ICTs and accessible information, without having to pay a premium for it;
  3. An e-inclusion champion in every Commonwealth country;
  4. An e-inclusion policy in every Commonwealth country;
  5. The sharing of examples of existing good practice in the Commonwealth and beyond;
  6. Government and business use of ICT procurement to encourage inclusive design;
  7. The Accessible Technology Charter; and
  8. Effective training programmes on e-inclusion for governments, the private sector and civil society.

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