Wednesday, October 01, 2008

UN Press release on Koreans with Disabilitiesy

29 September 2008 Press Release No. G/46/2008

UN and Korea team up to improve access to technology for people with

Workshop in Incheon target policy-makers from six Asian countries

Bangkok (UN/ESCAP Information Services) -- The regional arm of the United
Nations in Asia and the Pacific has teamed up with the government of the
Republic of Korea to improve access to information and communication
technology (ICT) for persons with disabilities by offering training to
policy-makers from developing countries in the region.

Government representatives of Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, the
Philippines, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam are attending a regional workshop which
opened today (29 September) in Incheon, Korea. They are joined by ICT
accessibility experts from the International Telecommunication Union,
Germany, the USA, Japan, Thailand, and the Republic of Korea.

The four-day workshop was organized by the United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and its subsidiary, the
Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication
Technology for Development (APCICT), in conjunction with the Korea Agency
for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (KADO).

Asia and the Pacific is home to approximately 400 million people living
with disabilities. Using a computer keyboard or being able to see
information on the Internet - things that others take for granted - could
be a huge challenge to many of them.

"The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
which entered into force in May this year, emphasizes among other things
the importance of the accessibility to ICT," Ms. Thelma Kay, Director of
ESCAP's Social Development Division, told the workshop at its opening.

"Improving ICT accessibility can involve anything, from designing
government web sites to work seamlessly with software to assist the
visually impaired, to making sure specialized equipment to facilitate
access is affordable," said Ms. Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director of ACPICT.

The four-day workshop will discuss the ICT accessibility guidelines for
persons with disabilities, especially women and children, drafted by ESCAP
and KADO and will take feedback and suggestions for its improvement and
localisation to be better applied in participating countries. It will also
share good practices in the provision of ICT accessibility to persons with

The goal of the workshop is to adopt the guidelines and agree to develop
implementation strategies in the countries represented.

APCICT will also deliver its own flagship training programme the 'Academy
of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders: ICT Project Management in Theory
and Practices', designed to better equip policy-makers for ICT project

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Jeongkee Hong
Expert on Disability
Social Development Division, ESCAP

Mr. Dongchul Kim
Expert on ICT
Information and Communication Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction
Division, ESCAP

Jill Hanass-Hancock
Post-Doc fellow
Heath Economics & HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD)
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Westville Campus, J-Block, Level 4
Durban 4041
South Africa


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