WSIS: Day Three

High Level Dialogue: Making Empowerment a Reality – Accessibility for All

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Chaired by Indrajit Banerjee, Director, Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO, the ‘High Level Dialogue: Making Empowerment a Reality – Accessibility for All’ explored how technology develop and contribute to the empowerment of PwD.

Today, 1 billion people live with some kind of disability, or as Lenin Moreno stated, the “largest minority in the world.” ICTs help persons with disabilities (PwD) overcome issues of access, be that to education, employment, or physical mobility. The level of disability changes according to the environment: PwD are able to live a relatively independent and free life if the environment is enabling. Panelists agreed that PwD should not be an afterthought in technology adaptation, rather technology should be ‘born accessible’. Moreover, we need to move from the adoption of accessibility frameworks to their actual implementation. With this in mind, panelists called for four key elements to be adopted: accessibility for all, affordability for all, adequate for all; quality product for all.

The panel consisted of: Lenin Moreno, Special Envoy of the United Nations for Disability and Accessibility Issues and former Vice President of Ecuador; Ali Al Tarrah, H. E. Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Kuwait to UNESCO; Stuti Kacker, Former Secretary of the Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, The Government of India; John E. Davies, Vice-President, Intel Corporation; Daniela Rubio, Director, Macneticos and Independent Consultant on Digital Accessibility, Spain; Michele J. Woods, Director, Copyright Law Division, WIPO; Andrew Taussig, Former Trustee, The International Institute of Communications and Voice of the Listener and Viewer, United Kingdom; and Aniyamuzaala James Rwampigi, Member & Chairperson Finance and Administration, National Council for Persons with Disabilities of Uganda, and President, African Youth with Disabilities Network.

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High Level Dialogue: Innovation in ICTs for Sustainable Development

The ‘High Level Dialogue: Innovation in ICTs for Sustainable Development’ addressed questions on how the main factors impacting innovation process in the ICT ecosystem, the role of governance and ICT-hubs in fostering innovation in ICT ecosystems, and how innovation in developing countries contribute more to the global development agenda.

We must ensure that there is an enabling environment for innovation to take place, both through policy and governance, and ICT-hubs such as incubators and tech-parks. However, innovations for sustainable development are only useful if they can be implemented – we must ensure that there is global internet access to realize the full potential of ICTs.

Innovation driven by needs such as accessibility, poverty and health. We can see that innovation from developing countries is already impacting the global development agenda: mPesa used internationally and even inspiring innovation in other countries, along with ICT solutions for disaster response. But we must engage today’s youth in order to innovate for the future as they are the ones who will be addressing issues such as the looming global food crisis head-on.

It was noted that WSIS-SDG Matrix launched at WSIS Forum 2015 as a joint effort of UN Agencies facilitating WSIS Action Lines may advance discussions on possible institutional link between WSIS and Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Chaired by Chaesub Lee, Director of Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU, panelists included: H.E. Iwona Wendel, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, Republic of Poland; István Manno, Ministerial Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hungary; Carsten Fink, Chief Economist, WIPO; John E. Davies, Vice President and General Manager, Intel Corporation; Berhane Gebru, Director of Programs, FHI 360 TechLab, USA; and Ken Lohento. ICT4D Programme Coordinator, Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Netherlands.

 

This summary provides a snapshot of two panels – ‘High Level Dialogue: Making Empowerment a Reality – Accessibility for All’ and ‘High Level Dialogue: Innovation in ICTs for Sustainable Development’ – held on Day Three of the 2015 WSIS Forum. These discussions, together with the full days’ programme, is available to watch via the WSIS web archive

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