WBU at COSP13 side event: Cities at the Forefront of Access and Inclusion

December 3, 2020 3:39 pm Published by

3 December 2020

Presentation by Hannes Juhlin Lagrelius, WBU Program Officer for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development

  1. First, we extend our gratitude to all co-organisers of this event. We are commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities but also the 2-year anniversary of the Global Compact for Inclusive and Accessible Cities, to which WBU was the first global Organisation of Persons with Disabilities to become a signatory.
  2. Joining efforts around the global compact and entering the field of inclusive and accessible urban development, and having joined the DIAUD network behind the global compact, has unlocked the potential for us as a global OPD (Organisations of Persons with Disabilities) to revitalise our role, which has also resulted in that Organisations of Persons with Disabilities have been increasingly recognised as key stakeholders in the urban development community.
  3. For WBU, this has meant that we as the first global OPD entered a milestone agreement with the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) on disability inclusion, accessibility and universal design – as well as establishing innovative partnerships such as with G3ICT around its Smart Cities for All Program.
  4. We encourage our peers in the global disability rights movement to join us in the work around urban development and the New Urban Agenda and the Cities 4 All campaign, in order to collectively achieve the inclusive future we all want to see.Moreover,
  5. Accessibility is a precondition to inclusion and is a basic human right.
  6. Covid-19 pandemic and its varying responses at global, national, and local levels, have shown that we have not done enough to address physical, digital, and social accessibility barriers. This has further exacerbated challenges for many persons with disabilities, and older persons, globally to enjoy their equal rights and opportunities.
  7. As we now enter the decade of action we have to learn from the past and the present, and take action ensuring that we are doing things Right from the Start in building back better towards a more inclusive future where everyone, regardless of their identity characteristic, has greater opportunities to lead independently the lives they choose.
  8. We know that global change requires local action. Local and regional governments are not only at the forefront of realising the commitments and visions of the New Urban Agenda, you also have the power to be locomotives for the implementation of the CRPD at the community levels, where people live.
  9. We all have a role to play; as Regional and Local Governments, as Organisations of Persons with Disabilities, as federations, multilateral entities, academia, the corporate sector, and Civil Society, to be part of the change we want to see; where we break accessibility barriers and foster true inclusion.
  10. We must all ensure that accessibility is not an afterthought, but a central driver to promote equality for all and embed accessibility across systems, strategies, and practices in our various types of work.
  11. The degree to which we succeed in integrating accessibility within our own organisational structures will be the true determinant if we can deliver programmes, services and spaces which meet the requirements and desires of an increasingly diverse urban population, and to uphold the promise of leaving no one behind from progress and human development.
  12. The time to act is now. To Build Back Better to shape a more inclusive future for all we must avoid and learn from mistakes of the past.

    There is one question we all have to answer:
  13. How can we talk about and deliver on accessibility if we do not practice accessibility within our own organisations, with our staff, partners and in our programmes?
  14. In response to this, and to be part of the change we want to see, WBU and CBM Global has just launched the first-of-its-kind Accessibility GO! A Guide to Action.
  15. This unique guide aims to provide all types of organisations, including LGAs, to take a whole-of-organisation approach to accessibility and practice it holistically. The direction organisations at any levels take will be the determinant if we can create accessible environments for and with all persons with disabilities.
  16. We recognise that good accessibility requires both long-term planning and investments towards universal design, as well as adopting immediate measures to ensure equality and non-discrimination.
  17. The Accessibility GO! is a practical resource to underpin immediate and long-term action. It centres around 7 accessibility commitments and a simple 3 step process framework. The commitment areas include accessibility in the areas of offices and premises, ICT and systems, procurement, capacity development and trainings, accessibility of meeting and events, and human resources management.
  18. All of the 7 commitment areas come with self-assessment templates. By initiating a process to use these self-assessment templates in your organisation it allows you to take stock of where you are in terms of accessibility in your organisation and context, and provides you a way to plan and take action towards realising your commitments towards more inclusive and accessible organisation – and in this case – cities for all.
  19. The Accessibility GO! promotes the equality of all persons with disabilities. It will also be available in multiple languages and formats in the months to come.
  20. We firmly believe this Accessibility Guide can support meaningful partnerships between Organisations of Persons with Disabilities and our mainstream partners at all levels and in all sectors. With this Accessibility GO! A Guide to Action, we want organisations across the world to practice and model the highest level of accountability to persons with disabilities and ensure that accessibility standards set down by the CRPD are met. By making use of this guide you will gain the “how to” to accelerate towards a world which celebrates diversity and in which everyone is counted as equals in all spheres of life.

-FIN-

 

 

 

 

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This post was written by Terry Mutuku