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NEWLY LAUNCHED ACCESSIBLE SMART CITIES INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE ACCESS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND AGING COMMUNITIES 

 

G3ict and World ENABLED leading the way with Microsoft support. 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 13, 2016) -- G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies, and World ENABLED announced today on the occasion of the 5th M-Enabling Summit that they are teeming up in the launch of a joint global Defining Accessible Smart Cities Initiative. The objective, over the coming year, is to increase awareness about the role that accessible technology must play in the planning, deployment and functioning of smart cities worldwide and how smart cities can better engage persons with disabilities and aging communities in those processes. The initiative is sponsored by the Microsoft Corporation.     
At a signing ceremony held today at the M-Enabling Summit to celebrate G3ict’s 10th year anniversary and the new partnership between G3ict and World ENABLED, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, announced the company’s support and sponsorship of the initiative stating, “Technology empowers persons with disabilities to achieve more in the places where they live and work. As cities evolve and integrate new technologies, we can help them define what it means to be smart – and accessible – to make sure no one is left behind.”

Urbanization is a significant and lasting trend. The global urban population climbed to 54% in 2014 and is projected to rise to 70% by 2050. Smart cities are using technology to empower employees and promote deeper civic engagement. Dr. Victor Pineda, President and Founder of World ENABLED, added, “With the generous support and global leadership of Microsoft, we have an incredible opportunity to unlock the potential of both technology and urban planning and help people with disabilities contribute to the vitality of their own cities.”

The Defining Accessible Smart Cities Initiative brings together industry, government, and civil society experts and practitioners worldwide to define how a smart city can also be a digitally inclusive city. A smart city is an urban area in which digital technologies are integrated into the infrastructure in order to provide services for the citizens and government of the city.

“We have designed this initiative to improve the accessibility of the technology infrastructure of smart cities worldwide,” said James Thurston, Vice President for Global Strategy and Development at G3ict, adding, “This requires building a significant knowledge base, including core principles, inventories of technical standards, and model policies for accessible cities, as well as a platform for smart cities to share best practices and innovate new inclusive technologies.”

This unique, new initiative will address the vital issues of the interaction between increasing urbanization and integrative technology at a time when the proliferation of smart cities threatens to widen the gap between persons with disabilities, aging communities, and the rest of the population. G3ict and World ENABLED will release initial project results in September 2016.

Kathryn Willson, Director of Microsoft’s CityNext initiative emphasized this point, stating, “For years, Microsoft and our CityNext partners have been helping cities in their digital transformation journey to become more efficient, safer, healthier, more educated, and more sustainable places to live and work. We are excited to support the global leadership of G3ict and World ENABLED in raising awareness about the need to make cities more accessible and inclusive and to partner with them in making progress towards that important goal.”

G3icts and World ENABLED’s shared vision for infusing accessibility into smart cities programs to improve human rights, civic engagement, and business outcomes is laid out in an initial concept paper which can be viewed on the G3ict website

For more information, please contact:
James Thurston, Vice President, Global Strategy and Development, G3ict

About G3ict
G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 to promote the ICT accessibility provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in cooperation with the Secretariat for the CRPD at UNDESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the CRPD promoting digital accessibility and Assistive Technologies. Participating organizations include industry, academia, the public sector and organizations representing persons with disabilities. G3ict produces jointly with ITU the e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities, as well as specialized reports which are widely used around the world by policy makers involved in the implementation of the CRPD. For additional information, visit http://www.g3ict.org

About World ENABLED
World ENABLED is a global education, communications and strategic consulting group that supports companies and governments with the full implementation of legal mandates that promote the rights of persons with disabilities. Our fieldwork and research initiatives are focused on urban planning and inclusive urban policy development. We help our clients create an inclusive human and civil rights approach to disability programs and policies. With our international partners, we work to build inclusive societies where people with disabilities can develop their talents, skills and abilities and reach their full potential. Visit www.worldenabled.org.



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