how can international policy drivers improve ict accessibility in the pacific?

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How can international policy drivers improve ICT accessibility in the Pacific?. Gunela Astbrink GSA InfoComm. Pacific Islands region. Extremely large area with mainly small landmass Relatively small populations Majority are small island developing countries 22 countries or territories - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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How can international policy drivers improve ICT accessibility in the Pacific?

How can international policy drivers improve ICT accessibility in the Pacific?Gunela AstbrinkGSA InfoCommPacific Islands regionExtremely large area with mainly small landmassRelatively small populationsMajority are small island developing countries22 countries or territoriesTransport and infrastructure costs are highEmigration to find employment often to New Zealand or Australia

Map courtesy of Lonely Planet3People with disability in the PacificEstimated 800,000 people with disabilityTraditional view is to protect people with disability in home villageSlowly changingGrowth of Disabled Persons OrganisationsBUT considered the most marginalised group in the community with limited education & employment

Pacific Disability ForumPacific organisation of and for people with disabilityFull (Disabled Persons Organisations) and associate members from most Pacific Island countriesKey advocacy and capacity-building role

Current status of ICT in the PacificGrowing level of ICT usage in the PacificWidely varying usage in different countriesCostsRemotenessAwarenessSatellite services and submarine cables are increasingly bringing faster and more reliable services

Map of submarine cables in the Pacific

Arrival of cable in Tonga 2013

Examples of usageComputers are expensiveLimited expertise and maintenance availableMore mobile phone usage with Internet access71% of Fijians are mobile phone subscribers6% of Fijians have computers(Ref: http://www.e-pic.info/en/themes/ict/instructure)Governments going onlineMore government services are being delivered onlineAdvantageous for remote islanders due to lengthy and expensive travelPeople with disability may not be able to use these servicesNeed for trainingAffordability?Accessibility?No data

Can international and regional policy help to make change?Policy drivers:UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesITU policies Biwako Millennium Framework for Action & Biwako Plus Framework for Action on ICT for Development in the Pacific 2010Pacific Regional Strategy on Disability 2010-2015UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesArticle 9States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to provide training for key stakeholders on accessibility issues and promote access to ICT including the Internet at minimum cost.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesCook IslandsFijiKiribatiFederated States of MicronesiaNauruPalauPapua New GuineaSolomon IslandsTongaTuvaluVanuatu

(Signed and/or ratified)

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesDonor agencies eg AusAID have funded capacity-building for DPOs to develop national disability policiesKey CRPD Articles: education, employment, accessibility to the built environmentVery limited or no references to ICT in national disability policiesITU policiesKey policiesITU Accessibility Policy for Persons with Disabilities 2013Resolution 70 (Johannesburg, 2008) - Telecommunication/information and communication technology accessibility for persons with disabilitiesPublication: The ICT opportunity for a disability-inclusive development framework 2013Limited referencesBiwako Millennium Framework for Action & Biwako PlusGeneral references to Biwako in policy documentsBiwakos: Access to information and communications, including information, communications and assistive technologiesLimited or no reference to ICTFramework for Action on ICT for Development in the Pacific 2010 Includes connecting up disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilityBut no strategies or methods to achieve thisPacific Regional Strategy on Disability 2010 - 2015Relevant prioritiesStrengthen political leadership and an enabling environmentDisability inclusive developmentBUT no direct reference to ICT

Gulf between ICT and accessibilityAre policies on ICT and on disability on parallel paths?How do we break this cycle?Some ICT training offered by donor organisations and by APCDNext steps need supportInternet Society workshops on ICT accessibilityCommunity Grant to set up & deliver capacity-building workshops on Internet accessibility from policy perspectiveDelivered in Papua New Guinea & Vanuatu as part of annual conference by Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet SocietyInterest by government representatives and NGOs at conferences on how to move forwards

Rakesh Chand speaking at PacINET21Proposal for Pacific ICT accessibility projects Systematic approach to build accessible ICT usage for people with disabilityObtaining baseline data as foundationAnalysis and assessment of baseline data to move forwards with pilot projects in targeted countriesITU has key roleMajor theme of ICT accessibility Many related initiatives including work by G3ictCommitment to ICT accessibility in AP region Much work done in Asia but now we need to consider the Pacific region as well

The importance of partnersNo one organisation can usually fund a set of projectsThe importance of partners is both in funding and involvementThis project proposal is seeking partners to collaborate in moving forwardsPacific Disability Forum may have key involvementProject proposal elementsStage 1: Data collectionStage 2: Building awarenessStage 3: Increasing accessibilityStage 4: Consolidation and assessment

Stage 1: Data collectionCurrent ICT usage by people with disability in designated number of PI countries indicating issues such as availability, affordability or accessibilityAudit of government web sites in designated PI countriesReview of legislation, regulation & policy in terms of ICT accessibilityAnalysis of data to determine priorities for Stage 2

Stage 2: Building awareness Development of Pacific-appropriate disability awareness toolkit and training for government and the community Development of Pacific-appropriate toolkit and training for policy-makers on incorporating accessibility into legislation, regulation and policy Inclusion of Pacific accessibility information in relevant web portal

Stage 3: Increasing accessibility and usageTraining and mentoring of people with disability in the use of the Internet in community centres Training in web accessibility for government web designersStudy with regulatory bodies whether Universal Access Funds could be source of affordable and accessible ICT for people with disabilityMany other activities needed eg disaster risk managementBUT need to prioritise

Stage 4: Consolidation and assessment

Evaluation of project activities Surveys of people with disability in usageWeb accessibility auditsReview of legislation, regulation & policyReport with recommendations on achievement and gapsConclusionMany challenges!But ICT should give Pacific Islanders with disability more opportunities to take an active part in their communityLooking forward to being part of this exciting voyage!

Thank you!Gunela AstbrinkGSA InfoComm g.astbrink@gsa.com.au

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