September 23, 2013. A new report written and developed jointly by the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and Disabled People’s International (DPI) reveals that there is still a long way to go to ensure accessible and usable technology worldwide. While noting some progress in the countries reviewed -- and which covers 65 percent of the world's population --the report finds significant lags in implementation. The report, entitled "The CRPD 2013 ICT Accessibility Progress Report," includes much new information from the 71 participating countries (country list available here).
For instance, while 50 percent of countries, compared to 31 percent in 2012, now have a definition of accessibility which includes ICTs or electronic media in their laws or regulations, only 25 percent define, promote and monitor accessibility standards for ICTs. Similarly, while about 73 percent of the countries reviewed involve people with disabilities in the development of disability-related policies and programs, only 12 percent have a systematic mechanism to involve organizations of people with disabilities working in the field of ICT accessibility for the drafting, designing, implementation, and evaluation of laws/policies addressing accessible technology.
Another discouraging finding is that only 31 percent of the countries have government funds allocated to programs in support of ICT accessibility, a number unchanged since 2012. Similarly, only 31 percent of the countries surveyed said they have public procurement policies promoting ICT accessibility; meaning that a majority of government agencies are continuing to buy equipment or services that may be inaccessible to people with disabilities. While slightly encouraging, the number of countries reporting providing accessible online service to the general public, through the Internet, has increased to 40 percent, up from 35 percent in 2012. This means many forms and other services are not in accessible and usable formats for people with disabilities attempting to secure public services or information from their governments.
And from the viewpoint of accessibility of the information infrastructure, a vital area of ICT accessibility with the greatest impact on the largest population of users, many countries are generally lagging behind. More than 80 percent of countries in 2013 report no or minimum levels of implementation of policies or programs promoting accessibility in critical areas such as mobile telephony, web sites, fixed telephony, transportation public address systems, television or Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). Many have noted that depriving people with disabilities of equal access to essential ICT-based applications and services flies in the face of one of the core elements of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 9).
The full G3ict-DPI was published in February 2014 on the two organization's websites (see G3ict and DPI). An overview of the report is available now here with some Summary Tables available here. Full report is available online here.
For further information, please contact Francesca Cesa Bianchi, VP, Institutional Relations, G3ict, Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs. Tel (678) 534-8518, Fax 404-252-0628 or visit the G3ict website.