Year

2013

New York, 5 December 2013 – IDA lead United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon on the inaugural tour of the first Accessibility Centre, during its opening at the UN Headquarters in New York on December 4.

“A UN system that is inclusive for all” is the driving force behind the first UN Accessibility Centre, according to UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon. The centre was officially opened at the UN Headquarters in New York on December 4, 2013.

Over 200 diplomats, UN agency staff and civil society representatives attended the inauguration ceremony held in advance of the opening, which included keynote addresses from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, H.E. Ambassador John W. Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly, 68th Session, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN, Mr. Oh Joon, and President of the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section, Ms. Jenny Nilsson.

In recognition of IDA’s extensive advocacy work advancing the rights of persons with disabilities within the UN system, Mr. Vladimir Cuk, Acting Executive Director of IDA, introduced the Secretary-General to the technologies and systems available free-of-charge to persons with disabilities at the centre following the inauguration ceremony and ribbon cutting.  

“I have seen throughout my UN career persons with disabilities who make an enormous contribution to our global work – on human rights and so much more, including peacefully settling disputes, advancing sustainable development and establishing the rule of law,” the Secretary-General said in his address. “You can count on us to do everything possibly to support your valuable work. And we count on you to keep pressing for progress on issues across the international agenda.”

In line with Article 9 (Accessibility) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), the Accessibility Centre works to enable greater participation of persons with disabilities in intergovernmental processes and meetings at the UN. Available services include assistive tools and technologies for persons with visual, audio and mobility impairments, computer stations with assistive devices and wheelchair charging provisions at various locations in the UN conference facilities. In addition to the Accessibility Centre in the UN Conference Building, an Accessibility Satellite Centre is situated in the North Lawn Building. Accessibility Kiosks with ICT solutions are also available at computer stations in a number of areas in the UN complex.

The Centre was developed by the United Nations Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM), with support from the Government of the Republic of Korea and in consultation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (DESA), the Inter Departmental Task Force on Accessibility (IDFTA), its Focus Group on Accessibility, as well as persons with disabilities.

The International Disability Alliance (IDA) was established in 1999 as a network of four global and eight regional organisations of persons with disabilities and their families (DPOs), representing the estimated one billion persons with disabilities worldwide. IDA’s unique composition as a network of international organisations of persons with disabilities allows it to act as an authoritative and representative voice of persons with disabilities in the United Nations (UN) system, both in New York and Geneva. 

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