The following is the output of the real‑time captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey meetings. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> Andrea Saks: Welcome, everybody. I would like to welcome you to the joint G3 ICT workshop. It stands for Global Initiative For Inclusive, ICTs. And we have partnered with them before and we are also the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability. My name is Andrea Saks, and I am the coordinator. We have also our co-coordinator, Peter Major, here, who will be the remote moderator, for those of you wishing to ask questions who are remote online.
I'm going to quickly say everyone's name and give a quick introduction as to who they are in just a minute, but what I would like to say first is that with multi‑partnerships we can make it accessible for persons with disabilities to participate in the global society through ICTs.
Global surveys have in fact demonstrated that a critical success factor for implementation is multi‑stakeholder. Without further ado, let me introduce Franchesca Bianchi, who is vice president of Institutions Relations. And next after her we will have Susan Schorr, who is the head of the Special Initiatives Division of the Telecommunications Development Bureau at ITU, which is ‑‑ and she is in Geneva and participating remotely.
Then we will have Gerry Ellis, Field of Benefit, European Blind Union. He won't mind me telling you, he is blind, and he is participating remotely. And his organisation has been volunteering with the ITU for many years about promoting blind access, especially on remote participation.
Then we have ‑‑ I'm going to say it wrong, but I'll do my best. I'm going to do what I said. Mr. Akpinar, forgive me, his first name is difficult to pronounce, who is the Head of the Department For Consumer Rights, Information, and Communication Technology Authority in Turkey. And then we have Emin Demerci, who is the vice president of the Confederation, and also the EBU, European Blind Union.
Last, but not least, we have Mr. Nasser Kettani, Director and CTO for Middle East and Africa for Microsoft.
Without further ado, I would like to turn it over to Miss Franchesca Bianchi.
>> Franchesca Bianchi: Good morning. It's a pleasure to join you to share some insights on the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. It's ICT access provisions, some of the implications for multi‑stakeholder involvement, in particular, person with disabilities in policy making.
I would like to begin my remarks as a person living with disabilities on the value of the Internet in his daily life. If anybody ask me what the Internet means to me, I will tell him without hesitation to me, the Internet occupies the most important part of my life. It is my feet that can take me to any part of the world. It is my hands, which help me to accomplish my work. It is my best friend. It gives my life meaning. This is a quote from Dr. Sansu, founder of the Ministry in China.
Here I have ‑‑ I would like to give you some demographic ‑‑ some of the demographic realities that there are more than one billion with people of some sort of disability. The world population is aging and everything is run by digital interface. So there is a major impact of ICT ability on application, social and cultural opportunities.
So what is the role of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and its provision on ICT accessibility? The Convention is a unified framework for policies and programmes with a global impact. In the slides you can see the communication of the work and the countries that ratified the Convention, signed the Convention, and where is no action yet. And a few countries ‑‑ I mean, there is really not much action. So if you're ‑‑ for those of you who are not familiar with the Convention, the legal framework was adopted by the United Nations Assembly in December 2006. It was a human rights treaty, has been signed to date by 158 countries and has been ratified by 148 countries as of 2014. It defines accessibility obligation for all areas of the ICTs, including Web accessibility, impacting all the 148 states Convention.
This includes a number of accessibility provisions to the states, and I named just a few, the accessibility, 21 or so involves freedom of expression and access of information on the Internet. Article 9 is addressing accessibility barriers in the digital age and promote accessibility standards and accessibility among persons with disabilities.
The Convention goes also a step further in addressing the participation of person with disabilities in policy making processes. In particular, Article 4.3 is a cornerstone of ICT implementation. Here it states that the development of new policies and regulations or regulation of existing policies should be done in consideration with person with disabilities and other stakeholders. It's a very important part.
The benefits of the participation of person with disabilities and policy making, it's person with disability, obviously are great source of knowledge, knowledge of issues, knowledge of solutions, and they are the best advocates for policymakers, and also right now most of disabled persons are and the family progress report on ICT accessibility implementation and other state countries. And the report in 2012 showed that the most successful countries in ICT accessibilities were involved in person with disabilities ‑‑ organisation of person with disabilities in policy making. However, the 2013 GTS policy progress report shows that still there is lack of participation of person with disabilities. And this has been evaluated by identifying some key success factors for country's capacity to implement.
Regression analysis were significant. So the question: In your country are there any financial supports for organizational person with disabilities and NGOs working in the field of digital accessibility? Only 34% of the countries interviewed responded yes. As well as a question: In your country is there forum for active cooperation working in the field of digital accessibility? Only 24% of states says yes. As well as the question: If in your country there is a systematic mechanism to involve organisation of person with disability working in the field of digital accessibility, to the drafting, design, and implementation of policy? Only 13% of countries say yes.
So most important, I would say on the 11% of states surveyed involved persons with disability in ICT accessibility participation.
So in order to have help foster the multi‑stakeholder for each of the critical areas of ICT accessibility, and it is called the ITU ‑‑ ICT Accessibility Report, and we have seen it. It was developed by following the Convention on the access of person with disability and a source for ICT policymakers regulators and other stakeholders, including NGOs and parliamentarian and is designed to assist in revising existing ICT and developing new policies.
This report is organised by type of ICT because the accessibility needs and requirements of person with disability vary by type of ICT, obviously; so it includes a legal policy framework and five modules. One dedicated to public access and one to ‑‑ and one to Web accessibility and one to ‑‑ we will identify those as being part of ICT accessibility. Susan Schorr will be giving more insights into this framework.
Just to conclude, the ICT framework and each of the modules address key issues and specify the rules of engagement of persons with disability. To give you an example, for instance the building is a key issue and this is done through presentations with the policy with person with disabilities including establishing committee on ICT accessibility and publishing accessible document. And so these are one of the key issues. But for sake of time, I just wrap up and I thank you for your attention and I pass it to the next speaker, Susan Schorr.
>> Andrea Saks: Thank you very much, Franchesca. I will turn it straight over. We started late.
Susan, would you like to go ahead, please. Susan Schorr of the ITU. Can we hear you, Susan? Are you there? We have to put ‑‑ is the presentation up?
>> Susan Schorr: I'm here.
>> Andrea Saks: The presentation has not gone up. Give us one more. Schorr is spelled S‑H‑O‑R‑R. Thank you, captioner.
>> SUSAN SCHORR: It's S‑C‑H‑O‑R‑R.
I was saying it was a pleasure to be with all of you today. If you could go to the next slide, please. Are we on the next slide? There we go: So my colleague, Franchesca Bianchi, has just introduced the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, its provisions on ICT accessibility, and she's given a quick overview of our model ICT accessibility policy report. I'd like to talk to you today about how we can transpose the ICT provisions of the Convention into national policy and legal frameworks. And we can take a closer look at what's required by examining four of our six modules.
If you can go to the next slide, please.
Now, as many of you in the room know, many advocates worked tirelessly to include ICT accessibility into the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
The question now is how do we take the raw provision and get it translated into action? In every country the ICT sector is governed by national policies, legislation, and regulations. And the key to ensuring that ICT accessibility becomes a reality is to ensure that it is included in this enabling legal framework. This would include updating existing ICT legislation and developing new policies, regulations, or codes of conduct.
At the same token, many disability laws were written before ICT accessibility was a well‑defined concept. It may only refer to physical buildings and transportation, so any older disability laws also need to be updated to add ICT accessibility in addition to national ICT laws. We have found that public procurement laws have proven very effective in promoting the availability of accessible ICT in national markets. Why is this? If the government, usually a very large buyer of ICT equipment and services, procures the accessible ICT, local suppliers will only stock accessible ICTs, making them available for all consumers, and local developers and manufacturers would only produce accessible ICTs. This generates greater compensation, drives cost down, and promotes a greater availability of accessible ICTs.
Next slide, please.
So let's look inside Module 1, which is the legal policy and regulatory framework. This addresses changes needed to existing ICT or electronic communications laws in countries.
In identifying different options for regulations, because different countries have different frameworks, some countries regulate through license conditions or authorizations, some promulgate regulations, and some adopt soft regulation where industry establishes codes of conduct.
So our report recognizes all three options and tries to give options for countries, depending upon their own regulatory framework.
This module also has a key cornerstone of ICT regulation, which is universal access ‑‑
(Sound not available).
>> Andrea Saks: Susan, we're losing you. Just a minute. Can you hear me? What's happened?
>> Susan Schorr: I can hear you fine. Should I keep talking?
>> Andrea Saks: You're fine. You're fine. You're back now. Just carry on where you left off.
>> Susan Schorr: I will assume that you might not have heard what I was saying about universal access and service and repeat that.
Okay. So what I was saying is what are the most ‑‑ one of the most fundamental concepts in ICT legislation is the concept of universal access and universal service. Currently universal access and service policies focus on two key issues: One, access to networks; two, affordability of services.
While these are very important for persons with disabilities, they're not sufficient. We need to add a third pillar to the universal service and access frameworks, which is ICT accessibility. With that we can greatly ensure ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities.
We go to the next slide, which is on definitions.
We also think in national legal frameworks, existing ones, we have to add definitions and revise some existing definitions. For example, if there's no definitions of people with disabilities in ICT laws, we have to add that. If we have a definition of ICT users, we have to make sure that it refers exclusively to persons with disabilities.
As mentioned, we have to revise universal access and service definitions to also include ICT accessibility. Likewise, revise underserved community definitions to include persons with disabilities.
As Franchesca already mentioned, the revision of any existing ICT policies and laws or the development of new policies should be done in consultation with persons with disabilities and other stakeholders.
Move to the next slide, please.
Now we'll take a quick look at the module on mobile phone accessibility. Mobile phone accessibility is extremely important, because so many people have mobile phones. There are nearly 7 billion mobile subscribers in the world. Many are not accessible. The mobile phone accessibility policy is probably the easiest for a country to implement in which one which promises the greatest impact into the widespread uptake of mobile communications.
Again, it can go back to public procurement laws, because some countries require accessible ICTs, there are many accessible mobile handsets available on a commercial basis in the global marketplace. The key issue is that the policy is to make sure that mobile operators stock these and make them available to customers with disabilities.
Secondly, mobile operators and retail outlets need to train their staff on how to serve customers with disabilities and they have to run promotion campaigns so that persons with disabilities know these solutions exist. Other policy members include affordability, such as discounted rates or even special plans for the deaf and hard of hearing who don't use voice services. They have text‑only plans. Mobile operators need to ensure that persons with disabilities can use mobile phones for emergency communication, including real‑time texts and using video relay.
Again, there was some countries may regulate and regulations for industry codes, our report includes both options.
Let's go to the next slide.
TV and video programming accessibility. We use both terms in our report because some countries have not yet switched to digital television. They may have laws that only refer to ‑‑
(Sound not available).
>> Andrea Saks: We've lost you again. Gentlemen, can you facilitate that, please?
>> It's the Internet connection.
>> Andrea Saks: Susan, I'm sorry. We have lost you. So ‑‑
>> Susan Schorr: Can you hear me again?
>> Andrea Saks: Now we can. I'm going to have to say you'll have to wrap up in about one minute. And I apologize, because it hasn't ‑‑
>> Susan Schorr: That's okay. That's fine. So I believe that the slide is self‑descriptive, but basically the requirement would require closed captioning, audio description, audio subtitles, and signing, require awareness raising so people know that these services exist, and that includes making them available, broadcasting them on electronic programming guides.
If we go to the last slide, it's about public ICT accessibility. And there we're talking about public telecentres, and we would progressively upgrade public phones and telecenters, and require any new public pay phone telecentres to build into accessibility.
My last slide conclusion is we can see that the importance of developing natural, legal, and regulatory tools. We need to have consultation with persons with disabilities, share them with persons with disabilities to obtain their valuable feedback from moving forward.
Thank you very much.
>> Andrea Saks: Thank you very much, Susan. I appreciate that. And I'm sorry for the technical difficulties. We're going to have questions at the end because of the fact that we want to make sure we can get all the presentations in. We did start late.
So I would like to turn this over to Gerry Ellis, who is participating remotely. Is his presentation up? Please. We have to put his presentation up. We need Gerry Ellis' presentation. Is it up? Just a moment. Sorry.
Gerry, can you hear me?
>> Gerry Ellis: I can. Can you hear me?
>> Andrea Saks: Yes, we can. We're just waiting to get the presentation up for you.
>> Gerry Ellis: . At the top of the page now.
>> Andrea Saks: Yes, it's up. When you want to change the slide, just tell them and go for it. There you go. This is Gerry Ellis of Field of Benefits.
>> Gerry Ellis: Thank you, everybody. Good morning from Dublin in Ireland. First slide there, please.
Populations. My first slide I'm going to quickly go through the number of people of disabilities. I'm going to skip through them quite quickly.
In 2012 the World Bank and World Health Organization produced a report which many people are familiar with, that estimated that there were at least a billion people with disabilities in the world.
If you go on even a year from then, this is the slide, the fifth quarter analytics had already put that figure up to 1.3 billion people in the world with significant disabilities.
After that 1.3 billion, 2.2 billion who were emotionally connected, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, or whatever. And all together fifth quarter analytical this group of people have a spending power of around $8 trillion annually. This is a massive market that we don't want to ignore.
Next slide, please.
What about if there were no standards? What would the world look like? So what I'm going to do is talk about standards in general first and then move on to speak more specifically about standards as they relate to people with disabilities. So if there were no standards in the world, what would the world look like? If we ask ‑‑ if I asked organizations about standards, the first thing they say is they stifle innovation. Let's see if we can squash that one.
Imagine a world without standards, where you would only fly within your own country, couldn't fly beyond your national borders. Imagine ICT telecommunications and technologies where you could only make a phone call within your own country and you couldn't phone to another country like Turkey, because the standards wouldn't allow that to happen. Could you imagine a world like that?
I'm interested in computer technology. There's a management standard in there called ITIL, but I'm not going to go into the details of it, but that's a way of measuring technology and technology terms within the technology industry. Imagine the chaos if there weren't standards within the technology industry in general.
So I think if you look at standards, you very quickly find that standards are not at all stifling. They are in facts a springboard. They are a starting point, not an end point, and a springboard for innovation.
What are the benefits of standards? They open up national and international standards. We've already been saying about air transport and telecommunications and we can use them transnationally, and Susan touched on that when she was talking about policies. They open up greater markets. There are common criteria against which to manage. So if you've got 20 different countries working in the same industry, and you've got people who only know the rules within their own industry, then they can't move to another industry. It's much easier to manage ‑‑ staff to manage how processes work if there are common policies and common standards used for that market, which is the international markets.
It's a great defense against litigation. If you're being sued for something, you can say, but we went against ‑‑ we used the international standard. It's a tremendous defense against litigation.
You make skills transferrable. If I have a skill according to a standard, I can move to Britain, France, Germany, or Australia. So my skills are transferrable, and that gives me, as a person, tremendous benefit. So you could see that the benefits are wide and varied, but they're economically and socially beneficial.
If we move on now and try to move to how the standards affect people with disabilities. Next slide is standards of people with disability. Let's look at some of the standards that some of us might be familiar with. The Worldwide Web Consortium talked about standards in the area in the Web and other technologies. But ‑‑ their Web content accessibility guidelines have been adopted as an ISO and IPC standard for 40500. So that is now a standard.
If you look at Adobe, that's been difficult for people with disabilities. 1.7 was adopted as an ISO standard, 32000. So that is now a standard.
If we move forward again, PDF has moved forward to what's called PDF/UA, UA standing for universal access. This, again, has been adopted as an ISO standard 142890. That, again, is the standard. It's easier and it gives people something to measure and ensure their PDF documents are accessible.
If you look at the area of communications, we have moved towards total communications. Total communications is video, voice, and text, so it is usable by people who have speech impediments. So that, again, is a way of national countries can create policies around these standards.
I will skip the last one because of time. I'll skip right on to the next slide.
Universal design. Susan has already mentioned it. Franchesca, I think, also mentioned it. Universal design is approach to design which includes the needs of as many people with disabilities or as many people in general as possible, including people with disabilities. And if you can't give direct access, then you give equivalent access through some other method. It's mentioned in the UN Convention and recommended at the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. It says that you should include as many stakeholders as possible, just what Susan was talking about ‑‑ it leads to economic benefits by increasing the market, as we have already spoken about. It includes social benefits, because people with disabilities are more involved with their society. So there's social benefits to not only people with disabilities, but also to their societies by their increased inclusion. All society gains. I can't think of one single person who loses out. So it is a win/win situation.
Next slide, if we could, please.
I want to move on to one very specific area of standardization and people with disabilities, which I've been involved with for the last three years. This is called Guide 71. ISO and IEC, international standard bodies, developed Guide 71, way back in the European standards for these. A guide in itself is not a standard. What a guide does is it tries to promote particular developers and bodies that develop standards. And in this case, Guide 71 is talking about including the needs of people with disabilities. And so in order Guide 71 ‑‑ and Guide 6 tried to standardize developers bodies how to include people with disabilities in the standards development process, and it also tries to encourage people who are developing standards on anything, building cars or building accessible technology, how to include the needs of people with disabilities.
Okay. So a quick history of these ‑‑ I'm just going to call it Guide 71 for simplicity.
The original Guide 71 was developed in 2001. In the meantime, it was found that it was getting out of date. So it was decided to have review. That review has gone on for the last three years. I was as part of the group which reviewed that on behalf of ITU and on behalf of the European disability forum.
The two groups were set up. One called JTHG, and that's the Joint Technical Advisory Group to review Guide 71. Separate to that, with the European embodies is SAGA, is the Strategic Advisory Group on accessibility. So JTHG was the main groom and it was part of that JTHG group.
The documents have got at this stage as far as the out‑for‑public comment; it has been out since June. The public comment period finishes on the 15th of September. So if people are interested in commenting on the current status guide and suggesting different changes, it is still possible up to the 15th of September. And if you're to contact somebody involved in the workshop, they'll help you.
The target is to pull these finalized documents in October or November of this year.
My last point, and a very important point, is that this is the first time that ITU, ISO, and IEC, all of those bodies are planning to adopt the same document, and adopted as a standard amongst all those bodies. That's a first, and it's going to be marvelous result when it happens.
Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, that's a quick slide through the idea of standards as they relate to people with disabilities. Thank you for your attention.
Last slide there, if you would, just a thank you. And I hope you have a really good time in Istanbul, but also a very productive time. Thank you very much.
>> Andrea Saks: Thank you, Gerry. Thank you very much for that informative report, especially about guideline 71.
I'm now going to introduce Mr. Özgür Fatih Akpinar, who is going to give the regulatory perspective on e‑accessibility for persons with disabilities.
>> ÖZGÜR FATIH AKPINAR: Hi, everybody.
>> Andrea Saks: We haven't got your presentation up. Just one moment, please. Can we get ‑‑ hang on one second.
>> ÖZGÜR FATIH AKPINAR: Hi, everybody. Good morning. And today we are talking about as a nation in order to eliminate the barriers of ICT and access for people with disabilities. In Turkey I hope that my speech will make it on the issues.
Access for which --
(Audio is difficult to hear).
>> My presentation is as follows: First, legal ground and will then to focus on the problems disabled people in Turkey, and then what our national regulatory body decision has. Finally, I would like to make some comment about our regulation.
It's not that in Turkey communication was enacted in 2009. They found specific needs of specific people in our country. Based upon our communications law, we enacted our CGI. And with our communication goal, the aim of all of these nations is to ensure that consumers, including disabled people, can include access ICT services process.
In 2011 we started the process called access for disabled and users. First of all, we establish a working group in with representatives from various from mobile operations to cable operations and from government side policies and all of the recruitment and try to identify the problems of the people with disabilities in the ICT sector and try to solve their problems. They tried to make a command and make a suggestion to solve their problems.
In accordance, we understand that in Turkey the persons with disability to be around 20% of our population. It means that around 90 million disabled people in Turkey. Therefore, it is very important for us to pay very special attention to the problems in our society. So we come to find out their needs. We found that things couldn't be accessed by the disabled and limited services designed especially for disabled people. Furthermore, maybe sometimes we see that. Some of the services are designed for disabled people, but especially disabled people do not aware of the services; specifically Internet services were not accessibility by disabled people. Specifically, we understand that. Our disabled people couldn't access, especially blind people, couldn't access their voice or they couldn't see SMS. So the problem is they have big problems. We try to solve their problems. And we see that many times blind people are losing. Location information was not provided, the mobile operators, so it was a significant problem for the blind people.
In accordance with the working group, Turkish make a decision to solve their problems, especially for mobile operators. We made a decision that within six months all of our mobile operators provide the following services. For example, subsequent contracts was that voicemail combine end users be provided within six months voicemail, it means that before that, all of the mobile operators information through SMS, but blind people couldn't read the SMS. So voicemail would provide end users and will be sent to the consumer. So location information will be provided.
I didn't mention before, but especially that person, when you talk with that person, they not aware of your colleague and staff. So we required our mobile operators to provide information the person you have called so you can send the person an SMS. And it will be free of charge. And SMS voice data services, at that time we didn't have SMS data services for our mobile operators. And in accordance with our decision SMS data services, we provided to disabled people.
Apart from this regulation, all operators, not only mobile operators, but also fixed and cable and Internet service providers, were required to accessible Web pages. So disabled people can access what operators are provided to them.
All of the operators, more than 200,000 subscribers, provide our disabled people some choice.
Apart from that, we also see that all services provided by our operators are not easily accessible for disabled people, because it is not in the same page. So we oblige to our operators together all the services regarding disabled people under the same Web page. It is also very important.
We also see that. Many people ‑‑ many disabled people are not aware of the services which was provided by our operators. Therefore, we prepared a different spot. Then we show our main TV channels. Also we prepare official channels, which were voicemail and are sent to our national organisation, especially the disabled organisation and to send all the information to the members.
We realize that the studies, our operators became more aware of the specific needs of the disabled persons. So it is highly important because if they are aware of the needs, they can provide services to them. And also, we try to increase the awareness of the people, especially among the disabled people's. And the TV spots or informative briefs. Finally, many of the services have been provided to disabled people's. I have hope that it will ‑‑ it will help their lives.
I would like to thank the public and private partnership with the project because it help us to understand our disabled people needs. That's why, thanks all stakeholders.
Thank you, of course, for your patience. Thank you.
>> Andrea Saks: Thank you. I really appreciate what you're doing here in Turkey. It sounds very, very good that you have taken a lot of different disabilities into account and are communicating directly with persons with disabilities. Thank you.
The next person will present, and we're running a little behind, but we'll make it, is Mr. Emin Demerci, who is the president of the Turkish Association of the Blind. I probably didn't do that right, but would you like to go ahead. I'm going to move the mic for you. You're going to move yours. That's great. Can you turn it on? Just a minute. Let's get it a little closer to him.
Do you have a presentation that's going up? You're just going to speak? Okay. That's fine. Then I turn the floor to you.
>> EMIN DEMERCI: Hello, everybody. Welcome to Istanbul. Well, as you said, started to say, I am the vice president of the Confederation of the Disabled in Turkey, responsible for the international affairs. And I'm also member of the board of the European Blind Union. And I have some duties at the Turkish Financial Blind Associations.
Sorry for my voice, because I have unexpected kind of cold. I want to mention a few issues in such a short time. Maybe connected to each other. Still I want to emphasize the points that nobody has already among the speakers, has not pointed out. Well, it's very easy to make repetitions. Well, United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, in 1948, and the standard it was the only defined rights for person to have an Internet connection. That's the only right added to that catalog of human rights declared in Declaration of Human Rights since its introduction. But it reveals that Internet connection is very important, vital for a person to get connected to the world.
When they see that significance and then when we see the implications for the disabled people to have access to Internet for disabled people doesn't coincide as blind people, for instance. Blind people want to get Internet to use Internet facilities, in, like, shopping, online shopping, or payment, online payment. Capture problems, when we need always sound and some links should be described. When we see these difficulties, it's not comparable to the sighted people who use Internet.
Of course there are some regulations and rules to have to make these facilities available for the disabled also. This information is available. Why it's happening? Because blind people are using displays and other medium between himself or herself and they complete it, not like sighted people. Sighted people see what's on the screen. Blind people need an intermediary transmitter to make all the information on the screen available or translate for the blind. It makes difficult ‑‑ in addition to that, of course, graphical displays, explanations are also difficult to get translated.
All these difficulties or challenges should be, of course, acclimated in a way. The European Blind Union has been working on this for more than ten years already. And we have already developed some guidelines, Web accessibility guidelines, reports on all issues of accessibility. We have been campaigning in Europe also on behalf of the governments, European Union also, parliament of the European Union to get some kind of directive, Web accessibility directive. As a result of these endeavors, the department of the European Union has made the first reading in February 2014 for such Web access directive. And it's on the way. It covers a lot of issues, of course. But the European Union and also the ‑‑ European Blind Union and the Disability Forum, which is the organisation about 2,500 members, still we are also a part of this work. It's on the way, I think, in coming months. Some achievements will be achieved due to this advocacy activity of the European Disability Forum and the European Blind Union as one of its members.
But when we talk about some issues specifically for Turkey, well, unfortunately we don't have a general regulation for accessibility issues. We don't have such a legal framework to push the public bodies to make the websites available also for disabled people. But due to some positive climate towards disabled people in last few years, some organises and some banks, for instance, and some public bodies approach to the disability organises to get some kind of help, assistance, for their Web design actions. But these are not ‑‑ this is not a general practice. Somebody at the organisation or the company who has some kind of knowledge about problems of the disabled and then they say, okay, he or she comes forward and they say, "Oh, let's do that." And then some things happen. But we need legal framework for such work.
We also, of course, thank to the Telecommunications Information Authority represented by Mr. Akpinar here, and that was an interesting presentation. We would like to approach them also to make activities also among the disabled people also thanks to their campaigns also.
I would like to see that activity to be widened to cover the Web accessibility issues, not only the mobile solutions.
Well, of course there is a lot to say, but in a short time, of course, this should be enough and then we can ‑‑ I hope we can in coming days or months to have ‑‑ to talk about other issues also. They maybe widen our scope of activities. Thank you very much for your attention.
>> Andrea Saks: Thank you very much for giving us a perspective from only a place that you could speak from. I appreciate that very much.
I'm now going to give the time over to our last speaker, Mr. Nasser Kettani, who is from Microsoft. Please, take the floor.
>> NASSER KETTANI: Thank you, Andrea, and thank you for the community to be with you on the panel.
At Microsoft we recognize the importance of the disabled community for many years. In terms of engineering, engagement, working with the ecosystem and partners, engaged in policy and work with NGOs on various parts. The work that we're working, for example, the GCICT and ITU upon establishing a model of policy work. We're happy and we're proud of that. We really think as a company we need to certainly do more, because there is a lot to be done.
But as I look into the issue of accessibility and people with disabilities, I actually ‑‑ I look at this from a much bigger problem angle. When we think about people with disabilities, we think about physical disabilities, etc., or aging population. The reality is, you know, if I take myself and I go to China, I feel disabled. I can't read and write. What's in there, I cannot communicate and so forth. So for us, on a daily basis, even if we think we're not in positions, the reality is we are ourselves in positions of having real disabilities and being able to communicate and so forth.
As I look into the evolution of technology ‑‑ from that perspective, I think the scope is much bigger. Not to add to the fact of the reason I'm coming from, eastern Africa, one of the most ‑‑ biggest disabilities, I would say, is the issue of electricity where many people in our region of the world are electronic. So the issues of SMS become even more complex. So the realities are the issues of disabilities are massive, frankly.
Not to mention that many of these people in those parts of the world don't have Internet access; right? So it just adds to the complexity of the issues they face every day.
As I look into the evolution of technology, and it's interesting because the ‑‑ we're talking about how we are trying 15 or 20 years later to make SMS accessible. By looking into technology is evolving, how I look into the issues of human users or interfaces. I look into issues of Internet of Things and how technology is becoming, you know, things that we wear, would have on us. It's available in the street, etc.
We have big data, machine learning, how we can capture information so we can help people. The reality is this technology evolutions are on the one side going to be providing opportunity to make it very easy for serving people with disabilities. So that's the beauty. That's the promise that I see. At the same time, if we don't do it right, and if we don't innovate right, we will again miss the opportunity of serving this community.
I think it's important that we recognize that as innovators, but not only us. I think the overall community, you know, government, and policymakers, NGOs, etc., so they can help us understand those issues.
I'd like to make three or four recommendations in the policy, which I think are, for me, very important. The first one is I'd like to see government lead by example. I just don't understand why governments, websites, for example, are not made accessible just by design. There's just no point of discussion on those things. Government, whatever they do, they need to have accessibility built in. Because when they do it, then they set the floor, they set the reference for others to do, whether it's the banking industry, whatever, they will follow the rules. They don't need legislation. They will do it. What we need is the government just to go and provide accessibility services for people with disabilities. That's number one.
I think most importantly, this is the opportunity for us to have ‑‑ to set policy for inclusive education. I think the most vulnerable people are the young generation. I think the opportunity of technology in the way technology is transforming communication is great and massive. If we do the right thing, from a policy perspective, to make sure that our kids that have disability issues, etc., are part of the education system, working with the other kids, etc., will in the long‑run create an inclusive society where people with disabilities will be just part of the society, normal society, not just a separate community as we try to do it's 20% or 10% or whatever the number is. The reality is it is just part of the society and should not be measured. Including communication is absolutely important.
Finally, which is probably I would say a last but not least, and I think it's important, this is an area where we still have a long way to go and we need to learn. And in working with NGOs and the people who really understand the problem is absolutely critical for us, to make sure that we are addressing the problem properly. So involvement with NGOs is extremely important with the government and the private sector to address the issue.
>> Andrea Saks: Thank you. We worked together at ITU many times, and I'm grateful to you for perceiving the fact that governments really do need to produce something. Without participation and regulation it doesn't happen. Without multi‑stakeholder involvement, we aren't going anywhere. We're hoping that would encourage people to do that.
Now, we have not much time for questions or comments and it's ten minutes. Due to a late start and some technology blips, we did get there. So Peter, do you have anybody on there for questions?
>> Peter Ellis: No, Andrea.
>> ANDREA SAKS: I do know Dependra, which is blind, from India. It is my practice and she cannot directly access WebEx because of the situation with screen reader having one audio stream and WebEx having another. You can't follow the meeting and use his screen reader at the same time. So any time I know that I have a remote participant who is blind, I ask them directly.
Dependra, would you like to make a comment, and can you hear us? Are you there? I think we've lost him. What a shame.
Would anybody in the audience like to make a comment or two? Please, tell the captioner who you are, and go ahead, please. Thank you.
>> DERRICK COGBURN: Thank you, Andrea. I'm Derrick Cogburn for the Northern Industry on Disability Policy. I'm delighted to see everyone here in this session this morning. And I appreciate all the presentations and particularly appreciated the example from the Turkish government. As our colleague from Microsoft said, government should be leading by example. So thank you for sharing what you're doing here.
And I just want to ask all of us, particularly you, Andrea, how do we prevent ourselves from preaching to the choir, which is in some ways what we're doing this morning? We should have more people here. This is a topic that is so important and I think continues to not receive the essential attention it should in IGF. And I want to talk about how we might get more people involved in this subject.
>> Andrea Saks: Thank you. You didn't say your name.
>> DERRICK COGBURN: I thought I did. Derrick Cogburn from Northern Institute on Disability Public Policy.
>> Andrea Saks: It's C‑O‑G‑B‑U‑R‑N. Thank you, Derrick. If you're directing it at me, I think everybody who works for IGF ought to be in these meetings on accessibility as part of the requirement as being involved in IGF. There is a problem in information pass‑down. There are people who come into different jobs, different places of work, different organisations, who are not trained in accessibility awareness. This has been happening in IGF with the best of intentions and the love of the people who do know and do try. Sometimes what happens is that the information is not down.
When I arrived here, I had absolutely no problem in talking to the boys who are running the technical aspect, and I recognize Peter has somebody online that wants to say something. It is everybody getting on board and having accessibility awareness and training before these meetings go out and are organised. That's one view. But I don't want to monopolize.
>> Gerry Ellis: Susan would like to react to the presentation?
>> Andrea Saks: Susan, please go ahead. You're not being heard, Susan. Can you unmute yourself, please?
>> Susan Schorr: You are unable to hear me?
>> Andrea Saks: We hear you now.
>> Susan Schorr: Okay. Great. So I just wanted to respond to Derrick Cogburn's question from an ITU perspective and we do need to move from preaching to the choir. But I'm glad to let you know the world communication development conference that was held Dubai a couple of months ago, ITU members agreed to three initiatives on persons with disabilities that would help countries in the CIS region, in the Europe region, and the Arab region to develop their ICT accessibility ‑‑
(Sound not available).
>> Andrea Saks: Susan, we've lost you again. I'm sorry. Can you try again, please? I believe that's the Internet connection problem. I'm sorry, Susan.
SUSAN SCHORR: If I can go on. This was at the World Telecommunications Development Conference that was held in Dubai. And what Susan is talking about is the fact that we have, in fact, made great progress in some of the areas that she was just briefly discussing also in her presentation where we are working together with different countries, especially in the developing world, develops in Europe.
Are there any other comments from the audience? And from the panel? Anybody on the panel like to comment? Oh, okay. Can you identify yourself, please, for the captioner?
>> Audience: Good morning. My name is Miki from South Africa. My name is Miki from South Africa. M‑I‑K‑I, that's my name.
Thank you so much for the presentations. I think they have been very informative. And I think my comment is really around how South Africa been trying to get the operators, the mobile operators as well as the customers to come and make the systems accessible for persons with disabilities and how all the time they mention the issue of cost and they saying to us must try and ease the pain of trying to impose all these regulations on them. I just need some assistance and advice on what can we say to the operators around the issue of cost. Because they always raise it to say if you think they must do some these, must do that, it will cost them more. But they understand and appreciate that these are things that need to be done.
>> Andrea Saks: Thank you. With the UN Convention on the Rights of Person With Disabilities, it's illegal. If they signed it and ratified it, they can't say that anymore. They violating a UN treaty. I do know we've had the conversations before. Walk with your feet. It's a democratic country. The way that the Americans with Disabilities Act was that the deaf community got so excluded. The deaf community carried the ADA in the U.S. to start with. It was the organisations with the persons with disabilities who had a vote and who learned they had power collectively. That would be my answer. Anybody else like to comment?
>> Gerry Ellis: Cost is always the first thing that's thrown at us to say there's an extra cost for including people with disabilities. When we try to introduce accessible transport in Ireland, we were told it would cost 15 to 20% more to have accessible buses than inaccessible buses. But when they were available and they were brought in to Ireland on a trial, it was found that they were accessible to people with disabilities, older people, people of temporary disabilities like broken limbs, parents with prams, people with heavy shopping, a whole lot of people that was never envisioned it would support. You will find the same thing with technology, and you'll find that it doesn't just support people with disabilities.
The second thing I'd say is that the government itself has a huge purchasing power. If the government makes a simple decision that it will only purchase accessible technologies in this case as to the Department of Education did in the United States, then the providers have to provide accessible technology. If they're going to provide that to the government, they're not going to provide different, separate versions of the same for the private sector.
So once governments make that decision, the decision is made and the final point I will make is that cost is only relevant if there is a differential inform cost between one set of providers and another. In other words, if one telecom provider in South Africa has to make it accessible and the others don't, then they have a case to say there is an extra cost. But if all organizations have to provide accessible telecommunications infrastructure, then there is no advantage to any group, once you get it going.
>> Andrea Saks: I have to cut you off. Peter, do we have one more?
>> PETER MAJOR: Yes, Andrea, we have a comment from remote participant. Just getting back to Derrick's question. She added that she's going to raise these questions during ICANN and raise the question with ICIC and other. That's it.
>> Andrea Saks: Thank you very much. Did you during ICANN ‑‑ I did agree with you. Maybe we should have IGF publicize us more and get people on. I'll rely on people.
I would like to thank the presenters. They did a fabulous job. I hope we can do this again next year. Thank you.