June 2010 Archives

Title:Accessibility Using the Internet: E-Approaches to Destination Management - The Case of Sydney For All Visitor Accessibility in the Sydney CBD
Author:Darcy, Simon
Abstract:Understanding the broader issues of visitor accessibility is paramount to positive destination experiences and building capacity in the tourism industry. While economic, social and environmental sustainability have become mantras to understanding the triple bottom line of tourism, rarely has government policy or the tourism industry considered ageing and disability within the social construction of tourism environments. For these groups, collectively known as the accessible tourism market, the challenges associated with tourism access are compounded by the cultural context, fragmented approaches to wayfinding and a lack of collaboration by tourism attractions to promote accessible destination experiences. The paper demonstrates the e-tourism outcome of the research project that sought to collaboratively market accessible destination experiences within the Sydney CBD. Sydney for All (http://sydneyforall.visitnsw.com.au/) is a Web portal brand developed by the industry partners of Tourism NSW, the Tourism and Transport Forum, NSW Dept of Environment and Climate Change. The research project was developed through participatory action research with the major stakeholders, tourism attractions and the destination experiences within the Sydney CBD. The Web portal complies with the highest web accessibility standards - W3C - as evidenced through the rigorous compliance testing by Vision Australia. The paper will outline the research approach, underlying philosophy, major accessibility features of the portal and the built-in consumer-based evaluation research module findings. As will be demonstrated, the portal is a starting point to understanding accessible tourism through focusing on universal design, destination experience and management frameworks rather than using constraints based approaches that dominate mainstream access auditing.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2100/1053

Priority policy area with potential for moving the development agenda forward


During the 63rd and 64th sessions of the General Assembly, the Assembly reiterated the commitment of the international community to mainstream disability in the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for all- including persons with disabilities. It reaffirmed the need to "include and integrate the rights, well-being and perspective of persons with disabilities in development efforts at the national, regional and international levels, without which the internationally agreed development goals, in particular the, will not be achieved". The Assembly also stressed the need to build or strengthen the effectiveness of national and regional legislation, the domestic policy environment and development programmes, affecting persons with disabilities.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has provided an impetus and unique platform for advancement of the international disability rights agenda in development and to engage the wider global development community. Work within this community is framed by the MDGs and other international development goals adopted by the United Nations. This broad coalition of governments and civil society organizations are promoting the mainstreaming of disability in all MDG processes in time for the 2010 periodic review as well as strategies for the 2015 timeline. 

The existing data gaps on disability within the context of the MDG evaluation and monitoring continues to be a major challenge for disability-inclusive MDGs. Available data, however, could be used to support the inclusion of disability in the existing MDG evaluation and monitoring processes, while on-going MDG evaluation and monitoring efforts should add a disability component as part of their overall data collection endeavors. 

2. Explanation of the importance of working on disability-inclusive MDGs


Disability-inclusive development is the key value of which was adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982 with the goals of "full participation" of persons with disabilities in social life and development, and "equality" and was reinforced by adoption of the Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with disabilities in 1993 and more recently the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. In its adoption of the most recent resolutions on realization of the MDGs for persons with disabilities, the General Assembly repeatedly expressed the view that equality of opportunities for persons with disabilities in society and development must be considered as essential for achieving the MDGs.

One consequence of the pace of global development in the twentieth century is the emergence of concern with population ageing in the twenty-first century. Current projections of world population suggest a rapid and unprecedented increase in older persons in the twenty-first century: persons aged 60 and above are projected to increase from 675 million in 2005 to 1.9 billion in 2050. Available data indicate a close association between population ageing and increased incidence of impairment - but not necessarily disability - in populations. Population ageing introduces the need for society to address environmental accessibility in terms of designs that provide reasonable adaptation in meeting the needs and capacities of all users so that neither the physical nor the information and telecommunications environments present barriers to the full and effective participation of the many in the development of the societies in which they live. 

The MDGs bring together United Nations agencies, Governments and civil society around eight key development issues fostering collaborative action to reduce poverty, improve health, address educational and environmental concerns, and achieve gender equality reflecting concerns the world's most pressing development problems. The MDGs are specifically designed to address the needs of the world's poorest citizens and most marginalized populations to achieve the goals of the United Nations and its commitment to promote "human rights and development for all."
While it is estimated that persons with disabilities make up more than ten per cent of the world's population, in developing countries persons with disabilities represent an estimated twenty per cent of those living in poverty. Even though the commitment of the United Nations to the rights of persons with disability and their inclusion in all MDG activities are implied in the MDGs, there is no reference either to persons with disabilities in the accompanying body of guidelines and policies, programmes and conferences that are part of the on-going MDG efforts, nor the targets and indicators that operationalize the MDGs. In addition, the MDGs review process underway within the United Nations and related work in development does not include disability. 


3. Initiative or formulation to be included in the draft outcome document


Calls on Member States, UN system and relevant stakeholders to take concrete measures for the inclusion of disability in the MDG evaluation and monitoring processes.

- including in the context of Country Reporting on the Millennium Development Goals, as well as in the Handbook on Indicators for Monitoring the Millennium Development Goals--Definitions, Rationale, Concepts and sources, as well as working within regional processes to include disability in the existing MDG monitoring and evaluation.


-promoting environmental accessibility with reasonable adaptation, in both the physical environment as well as in the fields of information and communication technologies;
- providing (disability-inclusive) accessible social services and social protection floor for all; and
encouraging and developing participatory, democratic and accountable institutions promote accessible and inclusive society for all.

4. Additional Information

The General Assembly resolutions on MDGs and disability during the 62rd, 63rd and 
64th sessions have been sponsored and co-sponsored by 80- 100 countries (109 countries for A/RES/63/150). 

The Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved without the full and effective inclusion of persons with disabilities and their participation in all stages of the MDGs processes.

The current MDGs framework, tools and mechanisms provide several opportunities to mainstream disability in the MDGs.

The existing data gaps on disability within the context of the MDG evaluation and monitoring continues to be a major challenge. Available data, however, could be used to support the inclusion of disability in current MDG evaluation and monitoring processes, while on-going and new MDG evaluation and monitoring efforts should add a disability component as part of their overall data collection endeavours.

Specific measures should be taken for mainstreaming disability at global, regional and national levels for short-term, medium-term and long-term results. 

With a view to the 2010 periodic review, priority should be given at this time to targeting actions at the global level in the context of monitoring.

Collaborations should be initiated within the United Nations system and with relevant stakeholders to foster strategic thinking and planning on the MDGs and disability. In this regard, establishing an informal resource group could ensure that a platform for on-going dialogue and feed back is possible.


Recommendations

Some specific options where disability may be mainstreamed include: (a) reports, tools and guidelines; (b) specific MDGs and MDG indicators and (c) mechanisms and processes. 

Reports, tools and guidelines

At the global level, two main areas of strategic action for short-term results include the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the organization and the Millennium Development Goals report.

Tools and guidelines that would be effective entry points to mainstream disability in monitoring of MDG policies, processes and mechanisms at the national level would be the handbook on Indicators for Monitoring the Millennium Development Goals--Definitions, Rationale, Concepts and sources and at the national level, the guidance note on the Country Reporting on the Millennium Development Goals .

MGDs and MDG indicators

All MDGs are relevant to and affect the lives of persons with disabilities.

Focusing on the inclusion of disability in current indicators would be more effective in the short-term to promote the inclusion of disability data than proposing new indicators.

Where data is not available, options of where and how disability could be addressed should be provided. The absence of data may also be an indication, among other things, of the lack of attention that disability may receive in the context of a particular issue. 

The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) should propose options to Inter-Agency Expert Group on MDG indicators to mainstream disability in its work.

UNSD should engage with national statistical offices to increase awareness and build capacities to collect disaggregated data on disability.

Changes that are not expected to involve a significant increase in resource commitments - that will ensure that strategic actions are accessible, inclusive and contribute to sustainable and equitable development and poverty reduction for all: 

-promoting environmental accessibility with reasonable adaptation, in both the physical environment and in the fields of information and communication technologies;
- providing appropriate - and accessible - social services and safety nets that ensure a "civil minimum" of well-being for all; and
-encouraging and developing participatory, democratic and accountable institutions that promote individual freedom and enterprise for all.


Maria Veronica Reina
Executive Director
Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD) 
Secretariat: Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University

Boxed Out: Visually Impaired Audiences, Audio Description and the Cultural Value of the Television Image

Elizabeth Jane Evans and Roberta Pearson,
University of Nottingham, UK

 

Abstract

Television is vital to the interpersonal relationships of visually impaired audiences, despite their being unable to see the images clearly. However, their ability to fully engage with television's social role hinges on their ability to gather meaning from the text, something that becomes increasingly difficult when only the aural signifiers of television are accessible. This article explores the role of audio description services, which provide an additional soundtrack detailing visual information, and the way in which they facilitate interpretation and subsequently discussion of television texts for the visually impaired. In doing so it will interrogate arguments that present a singular model of television aesthetics. Instead it will present the need for a more nuanced approach, one that understands the specificity of individual genres or programmes and the fact that the relationship between sound and image may not be the same for all television content. Key words: Television, audiences, image, sound, disability, audio description.


Source:

http://www.participations.org/Volume%206/Issue%202/evans.htm