JIU/REP/2018/6: JIU review of enhancing accessibility for persons with disabilities to conferences and meetings of the United Nations system

About 15 per cent of the world’s population is estimated to live with some form of disability, and face more barriers than those without, with regard to participation in and access to deliberative processes. Making conferences and meetings fully accessible therefore becomes a critical indicator of the willingness of United Nations system organizations to “walk the talk” when it comes to non-discrimination and inclusion. The review focuses on assessing the current status of accessibility for persons with disabilities to United Nations system conferences and meetings.

The review directs nine recommendations to the executive heads of United Nations system organizations that include: developing comprehensive policy and guidelines on accessibility; ensuring that accessibility requirements are included in agreements with hosting entities for off-site events; appointing a focal point on accessibility; developing standard operating procedures on operational responsibilities of relevant actors on accessibility-related matters; ensuring accessible registration processes, providing accessibility related information pre-conference and conducting post-conference satisfaction surveys on accessibility; providing remote participation options for all events; undertaking periodic accessibility assessments of facilities and services with the full engagement of persons with disabilities; incorporating accessibility checks and/or requirements in procurement policies and guidelines; and developing and implementing a system-wide mandatory specialized training module on disability inclusion and accessibility for relevant personnel. It further recommends that legislative bodies include in their agendas the review of periodic reports on the state of accessibility of conferences and meetings for persons with disabilities. Click on the title to access the report. UN Photo by Eskinder Debebes.