The three musketeers of ICT for development: Access, inclusion and empowerment – WS 02 2014

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12 June 2014 | 14:30-16:00
Programme overview 2014

Session subject

Access, Inclusion and Empowerment

Session description:

Public Access to ICTs

Access to information and communications: A key issue for development

Access to information and communications supports development by empowering people, especially more remote and marginalised communities and those living in poverty, to:

  • Better exercise their political and socioeconomic rights
  • Become more economically active and productive
  • Learn and apply new skills, and find better means for earning a livelihood
  • Enrich their cultural identity and expression
  • Participate in decision making and address personal development and social challenges
  • Enrich the collective knowledge-building process.

But inequalities in access limit the effectiveness of ICTs in addressing social needs

In this context, public access to information and communication rights have become key issues for the emerging information society. But not everyone is fully connected and those who are “connected” often suffer from poor-quality and high-cost links. Many simply do not have the economic means to connect to the internet – particularly those who do not have electricity, and those who, even if they have smart phones, do not have computers and multimedia-capable internet links. Inequities in access also affect people in developed countries due to limited access to infrastructure, or constraints related to age, economic means and gender. As a result, ensuring that all members of society can benefit equally from access to ICTs, and take part in shaping the interconnected world, is becoming an increasingly important priority.

What Is Public Access?

While there is no commonly agreed definition of “public access”, these are usually facilities that allow any member of the public to make affordable use of computers with broadband connections, along with associated ICT tools, such as printers and scanners, as well as technical support for using the internet.

Public access facilities may be purpose-built state-supported “telecentres” or “community multimedia centres” (CMCs), or private “cybercafés”. Locating public access services in existing institutions situated in the community, such as libraries and post offices, is often a particularly effective method of deploying public access.


European Norm 301549: Accessibility requirements for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe

Approved on 19 February 2014. This new standard (EN 301 549) is the first European Standard for accessible ICT. It is intended in particular for use by public authorities and other public sector bodies during procurement, to ensure that websites, software, digital devices are more accessible – so they may be used by persons with a wide range of abilities.

Luis Jorge Romero, ETSI’s Director General said: "Addressing accessibility is now becoming an important market-driven necessity and ETSI aims to help industry and operators to avoid creating technologies that exclude users from the information society. We also aim to help increase the quality and usability of products and services for everyone, with standardization processes that ensure consideration of 'Design for All' issues in every newly developed standard if appropriate."

CEN, CENELEC and ETSI have made sure that the accessibility requirements contained in their documents are consistent with other global accessibility requirements. This will help to expand and open-up the international market for accessible ICT products and services.

EAA - European Accessibility Act

“There are EU Member States that have advanced a lot when it comes to the accessibility of persons with disabilities in the society, and some others that have been left behind. The EU has the important role to push its Member States to take steps towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life, as it is foreseen in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that it has ratified. That can only happen if its citizens with disabilities have access to goods and services as all the other citizens. The adoption of a broad and legally binding European Accessibility Act will be a strong booster for growth and employment in Europe, while it will also reinforce the European Commission’s recently published legislative proposal on the accessibility of public websites”, stressed EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis.

The Act represents an opportunity for the Commission to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), which has been signed by all Member States and ratified by a majority of EU countries and by the EU itself.

Commissioner Reding confirmed that the European Commission will take on this commitment and confirmed that the Act is included in its 2014 work plan. The Vice President also referred to the preparatory work that the Commission has carried out to assess the impact of possible measures to improve the accessibility of goods and services in the internal market. The objective is to present a proposal for binding measures that would combine both, improvement of accessibility and growth potential for EU companies.

In December 2013 the Commission organised a high level meeting with a number of CEOs of European companies to discuss the impact that the Act could have on the goods and services they provide.

Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites

See here for an article with the latest news of the Directive by Jan Jellinek.

Tough new rules requiring all EU public sector websites to be accessible to users with disabilities - enforced by (1) close monitoring, (2) a public complaints system and (3) fines set at a level high enough to be "effective and dissuasive" against non-compliance - moved a step closer in the end of last february after members of the European Parliament voted to beef up a proposed European Directive on Accessibility of Public Sector Bodies' Websites. A strengthened version of the law, with more than 70 amendments, was backed by MEPs by 593 votes to 40, with 13 abstentions.

To the 12 categories proposed by the European Commission such as social security benefits and enrollment in higher education, the parliament also wants the new rules to apply to websites run by "entities performing public tasks", such as energy utility companies and companies providing outsourced public services such as transport or health care. Groups and associations of public sector bodies would also be covered by the law as amended, as would "websites developed, procured, maintained or co-financed by public sector bodies or co-financed by EU funds."


Aspects of the Information Society are present in all spheres of our life and have become an integral part of our daily activities at work, home or when socializing with other people.

The Internet and ICTs are a catalyst for change; they are also a perfect tool that can permit vulnerable people to fully discover the opportunities offered by the Information Society and fully enjoy their human rights as European citizens.

ICTs can provide an essential, enabling environment for the empowerment of all, especially people living in vulnerable circumstances. The United Nations post-2015 agenda incorporated ICTs as a critical success factor for the inclusion of vulnerable people.

« … the mark of a just society is one which includes and takes care of its most vulnerable citizens. The same has to be true with the Internet; we all will be judged by how inclusive access to, and use of, the Internet is. I recognize there is much work to be done by all of us. (…) » - underlined Mr Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO of ICANN, during the IGF 2013 in Bali.

To allow the inclusive development of our societies, it is crucial to allow the participation of all in the building process of the Information Society, and first of all by making the Internet accessible to all.

In it’s final resolution, the 52nd session (2014) of the UN Economic and Social Council reaffirmed that “Empowerment and participation are important for social development and that sustainable development requires the meaningful involvement and active participation of all, including children, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples and other disadvantaged and vulnerable persons and groups”.

The participation of vulnerable people in the Information Society is one of the growing Internet policy issues that requires dialogue and the common vision at the EU level.

We recommend discussing the issue of social responsibility of different actors in the Information Society, especially with regard to disadvantaged groups. We propose to engage in a close discussion with private sector and launch a multistakehloder dialogue on what needs to be done and how we could achieve the objective of better integration of vulnerable/disadvantaged groups in the Information Society in the respect of human rights and fundamental principles.

Questions to discuss:

  • Social responsibility of actors;
  • The role of private sector (such as ISPs) with regard to social responsibility ;
  • Disadvantaged groups in the Information Society;
  • Human rights and disadvantaged groups in the Information Society.


  • What was the main aims of Web Accessibility Directive?
  • What could be the impact of a policy document like European Accessibility Act?
  • Is the ICT's "EU market" loosing market to "US market" because they have the section 508 in action at a time and we only now have a EN301549 that need to be put in practice?
  • Could the Accessibility be an Innovative driver of the ICT’s development?
  • How the EN 301549 will help to expand and open-up the international market for accessible ICT products and services? What could be the impact to the market?
  • Is the EN 301549 "Accessibility requirements for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe" the section 508 of Europe? Are we, actually, loosing money because the US have the section 508 and we don't have nothing similar until now?
  • In the field of Internet, what could be done by the stakeholders responsible by the Internet Governance to improve the accessibility?
  • What is the importance of ICT Public Procurement to improve accessibility features?
  • What is the potential of ICT's Accessibility to Inclusion of people with disabilities?
  • Are we (Europeans) loosing something because we don't have an Act like section 508 in US?
  • What is the vision of EDF to implement the EN301549?
  • Do we need sanctions to improve the ICT innovation?
  • How to see the accessibility like a driver of ICT innovation?
  • What role does public access to ICTs play in social inclusion?
  • What role do institutions such as libraries play in European social inclusion policies?
  • How can policymakers support the provision of public access?
  • What steps can be taken to develop the enabling environment for public access - is there a role for public private partnership, with regards to broadband provision?
  • What is the relationship between e-Government and public access?
  • How can public access institutions support accessibility for people with disabilities?
  • What targets and indicators can be adopted to enable measurement of progress in providing public access, and in assessing impact?

Key Participants

  • Public Access to ICTs
    • Ellen Broad, Manager of Digital Projects and Policy, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
  • Inclusion
    • José Martinez Usero, Responsible for International Affairs at Funka Nu and Mandate 376 CEN Project Team leader.
    • Bart Simons, European Disability Forum (EDF) representative
  • Empowerment
    • Katrin Schuberth, Stiftung Digitale Chancen, coordinated the project Digital Literacy 2.0 [1].


  • Jorge Fernandes, Coordinator of ACESSO Unit from the Information Society Department of the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, IP / Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science.
  • Yuliya Morenets, Executive Director of TaC-Together against Cybercrime Int.

Remote Moderator

Heidi Fritze


Dominik Golle

Click here for contributing to or reading the session's minutes.

Digital Facilitator

Dominik Golle

Referring to EuroDig's proposals

[1] Some Initiatives of Digitale Chancen


Reporter: Dominik Golle, Social Media and Strategic Partnerships, Cito System GmbH / Black Swan Institute

  1. There has to be a holistic approach to policies aiming to improve Accessibility, Social Inclusion and Empowerment. A common European approach can be useful for setting minimum standards.
  2. It’s paramount to not only train end users, but give didactical training to multipliers and to tie in efforts in the respective country’s formal education system.
  3. It’s highly context dependent what the ‘right’ policy is – basic infrastructural requirements have to be addressed first, before tackling with issues of digital literacy.


Provided by: Caption First, Inc., P.O. Box 3066, Monument, CO 80132, Phone: +001-719-481-9835,

This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: We have yet empty chairs over here. If you want to take a seat more close our panel.

Welcome to the workshop No. 2. That has the name of “The Three Musketeers of ICT for Development”.

I think for me it’s the second time in EuroDIG and this morning I heard about it a lot of multi-stakeholders, stakeholders, something like jargon of the EuroDIG sessions.

In our session the stakeholders have names. And in our title, we change the stakeholders by the musketeers. And the multi-stakeholders in our session will be the three musketeers. In this case, the three musketeers of the inclusion.

We will speak about it, access, access to technology, access to digital contents. And we will also speak about the digital literacy.

In Europe, we have almost 20% of people that never use the Internet. And in the world more than one-fifth of the world’s population may be vulnerable to a Digital Divide according to the G3ict. Well, my name is Jorge Fernandes. I came from the Portuguese Ministry of Science and Education.

Like I’m a newby in this field of EuroDIG, I’m with Veronica Cretu. Then she also will say some words about the organizations of her.

To speak about the three musketeers, mainly the public access of ICT, we have Ellen Broad, that is the manager of digital projects and policy of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, in short IFLA.

We have Jose Martinez Usero. That is responsible for the international affairs at Funka Nu and he worked in the mandate of the Commission, the Mandate 376. That then he will speak about it, that he’s related with the European accessibility requirements for public procurement of products and services.

Near Ellen we have Bart Simons. That represents the users. For – for the ones that are in the morning sessions, we spoke about the multi-stakeholders, where are the users in the panels. We have Bart with us to represent the users. He is from the European Disability Forum.

We have then the facilitators. In this case the facilitators of digital literacy. We have with us Katrin Schuberth from Digital Chancen here from Berlin. She worked in the project Digital Literacy 2.0. And also in the project trans-efacilitator.

And then I hope we also have remotely from Malta Jasper Schellekens that is from the Internet Society and he will speak about the national digital strategy 2014-2020.

So I will begin for some short presentation asking to our panelists that could share with us some field of action of their organizations in a short two minutes. And I will start with Ellen. Ellen, please and welcome.

>> ELLEN BROAD: Thank you. So the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions we have about 1600 institutional members worldwide in 76 countries so that’s about 650 thousand librarian and information professionals we represent we also a committee one is the print disabilities committee and we also have access to information committees and a copyright committees amongst many others.

We work in the space promoting access to ICTs, information literacy, and access to information in a number of forums. So we’re engaged not only here at the IGF but at the World Summit on the Information Society encouraging Member States to consider libraries as agents for access to ICTs so by extension agents for development.

We are also involved as supporters of the World Blind Union and their colleagues in concluding the Marrakesh Treaty that would ensure access to books for the visually impaired that treaty was very important for IFLA’s members, as well because our members include institutions assisting the visually impaired and it was the result of a book famine that saw less than 5% of the world’s population – less than 5% of the of world’s books I should say accessible to those with a visual impairment. So that was another forum in which we were pushing very strongly for access to information. The third item in which we’re involved right now is a treaty at WIPO that would ask for a standard set of exceptions and limitations for libraries of archives worldwide to ensure we’re able to deliver our missions not only in the print environment in Developing Countries but also to extend our missions into the digital environment, as well.

So that’s just three of the Action Lines we’re working on in this area. And I’ll keep it short so I’ll pass it along.


>> BART SIMONS: Thank you. My name is Bart Simons. I come from Belgium. I’m blind since birth but I’ll speak on behalf of all People with Disabilities.

I work as a digital accessibility consultant, maybe to be clear accessibility in our definition of the definition we use is that things are accessible for People with Disabilities and people without disabilities.

So we want one digital world, not five or six depending on your disability. But one inclusive digital society. Including People with Disabilities, people without disabilities what can it be? Mostly when we say digital accessibility we think of Web sites. But it can also be intranets, apps for SmartPhones because it must be said that SmartPhones are becoming maybe even more accessible or easy to use, not only for people without disabilities but many, many factories of SmartPhones also provide accessibility – many factors. So SmartPhones are also very frequently used by People with Disabilities. So apps must also be usable by anyone.

We send along many documents in digital format, attachments in e-mails, meetings minutes et cetera. So digital documents need also to be accessible. What else can it be? In fact everything is becoming more digital.

If you look in your household, appliances, most of them are having screen and/or touch enabled screen. So think about your heating thermostat, your laundry – washing machine. More and more they are all becoming digital. And so the accessibility is – the accessibility needs are maybe shifting but increasing.

But it’s also – I’ll elaborate that later. But digitalization is also bringing a lot of opportunities to People with Disabilities. I would like to elaborate later on this point.

>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: Hi I’m Jose Martinez Usero from Funka Nu. Funka Nu is a company, a consultancy that really it was created 14 years ago by the disability movement in Sweden. And all of them will really agree that it will be interesting to have a company delivering the services, consultancy and providing the public Government and the companies the knowledge to make accessible products. And that is the business idea of my company.

And then in 2010 they also opened a branch in Oslo so it’s snowy unless you’re in Madrid. As you can see from my accent I’m not Swedish.


>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: And from my face so we do many different things. Mainly what we do, I’m going to put more examples at the Public Administration level.

We get – mostly to 80% of the Swedish public Government administration on how to – give advice – on how to develop their Web site more accessible. And that’s why Swedish public Web sites are super or very accessible because they really want to do that. They are completely convinced.

And other things that we do, for example, yesterday we got a contract with an application company to help them on how to make their application completely accessible and this is training for them. So we are going to be three days with them. So how to make things accessible.

But we also do research projects, studies, we participate in standardization. And that is the other side. Because I’m here today because I was the – this is like the low title for everything. It’s a project team leader for the Mandate 376 this is the Commission, the European Commission, when they want to do something very strategic in standardization they create a mandate to the three standardization bodies dealing with ICT that – then this – these standardization bodies have been for three years or even more thinking what are the requirements to make ICT more accessible. And this is the standard that was published last April. And that’s why it’s so relevant for this debate.

>> KATRIN SCHUBERTH: Thank you I’m Katrin Schuberth from the digital opportunity foundation in Germany. Our office is in Berlin. So it was not far for me to get here.

And yeah, our aim is to get people interested to the Internet and to support them into their first steps into the digital world.

So we try to address – people who don’t use the Internet not and want to make them interested in the opportunities they can have with the Internet.

For that we have several projects internationally. So in Germany and on the European level like big training compliances for non-formal learning settings, social institutions or in common community centers or even in libraries. And we try to support them in transferring their knowledge about Internet and digital opportunities to special target groups.

So the target groups we address are people who are mostly socially or educationally disadvantaged, because which are like elderly people which need to get to know about the opportunities through the Internet and for that we also involve experts from the political or economical level to give them information and data about our target groups.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Very good. I asked – who is coordinating our remote participation if Jasper Schellekens is there and wants to say something or isn’t there. And will say something maybe later.

>> He’s not there yet but I’ll try to get in contact with him and let you know whenever he’s available to speak.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Okay the so we will start with some little questions, some easier questions. And I will start with the public access of ICT and the importance of the libraries.

Ellen already also talked about the book famine that is an important issue that the libraries have in our days. They have a big collection of books. And People with Disabilities need the digital contents not only like a second way of access but for almost – oops – but for almost all of them, they use the digital books like the first way to access them.

So I will ask Ellen, what is the importance of libraries in our days to this public access to information and public access to technology?

>> ELLEN BROAD: Thank you very much. So libraries have been positioning themselves as agents for public access to ICT for a number of years now. This is because libraries have always traditionally been viewed as safe communal places for people to come to to have access to information. Our mission involves providing equal access to information to many types of communities.

So we are in a position to really promote ourselves as spaces for public access to ICTs for development.

So at the moment what we’re seeing around the world is 78% of the world’s – 78% of the world’s populations have significant Internet penetration. However, there’s only 32% of Internet penetration in Developing Countries. There’s 4 billion people – so that’s one-fifth of the world’s population without access to the Internet and 90% of these are in Developing Countries.

So in the past decade there’s been a significant investment in ICT capacity in public libraries particularly in Developing Countries to try to enable public access to information.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for example has invested over $260 million U.S. dollars in ensuring public access to ICTs in 15,000 public libraries across 16 countries as diverse as Jamaica Botswana, Latvia, Lithuania, and Chile. Why we think this is really important is because increasingly we’re seeing a Digital Divide that is widening. We assume to the extent that we have access to the Internet that participation is taking place entirely online. Whereas even in a region as relatively developed although diverse as the European Union we still have 1.4 million adults whose only access to ICTs is through a library.

So last year 1 in 4 European adults used a public library to access the Internet and of those 1.4 million had no other point of access.

We talk about providing public access to ICTs in terms of access to information so your ability to access health information, to access information for job recruitment, to access information about education. But it’s also really important in terms of your capacity to participate.

A line that libraries here increasingly often in the preservation space and the digitalization space is if it’s not online, it doesn’t exist.

Students will now go to the Internet first to find out about say a revolution in Pakistan in the 1970s. But if there’s limited information about it online, then there’s a tendency to downplay the importance of those events.

The other side to this is if – increasingly if you’re not online, you don’t exist.

As our Government services move increasingly online and the only way in which you can access health benefits, job opportunities is online, we’re going to see a percentage of the population that is increasingly marginalized in online participation.

And this is using the elderly, the disabled, minority language groups and in a number of Developing Countries women. We see there’s research in 2012 that indicated that increasingly the way in which women could access the Internet was through libraries because they were perceived as safer spaces for women than say a telecenter so we have a very inclusive role to play in empowering the minority groups to access the Internet not only for the benefit of information but also for their participation online.

I might leave it there because I know we have many other things to say.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Okay. If you don’t mind, Bart, we will continue to deliver of market.

So we will pass to Jose that in such form he represents the market, also, and the market of ICT and the possibility of the market producing products and services in an accessible way.

And the standard is one of the important issues to become and to produce products and services in accessible ways.

One of them that was approved recently by the Parliament is the Norm 3050-49. Could you explain the importance of that and the impact that could have in the market and also comparing the way the other parts of the world like for example countries like United States that already have some standards like Section 508, could you put these all on the table?

>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: Just because this morning I have arrived from Istanbul there was a standardization for the economy. And it was also for concentrated on elderly people and how it is important to deliver standards. Because standards are the basis for innovation if manically for European SMEs if a small or medium sized enterprise is half – have very clear the technical basis on how to produce accessible products, they will be able to compete better in the market.

But really my argument is a little bit different. This standard has been a good progress on European consensus and accessibility. Because before – really now – because things are still changing because the standard will have real impact when it is referenced in national or European legislation.

So for the moment it’s in a standard. But there is not obligation to really put the standard in practice.

So for many years all European countries and even regions municipalities, they have specific laws on how to make computers accessible or how to make ATM accessible. So that then was a conflict for companies if they want to provide consultative services or if they say an application for Germany it’s not – the accessibility is the not the same if you do it for Italy.

So what this standard has been doing in the last three years is to put a lot of companies, also users, SMEs, let’s say stakeholders together to discuss what is the basis for accessibility.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: The musketeers.

>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: The musketeers, yeah.

So the standard is setting the basis because the standards are not maximums. The standards are the basis for accessibility. But this is a super good step. And from that, European countries will be able to – this is also for the European market, for coordination and for a majority of ICT products and services.

And then this has been done in cooperation with the American Government, as well. Because in – because it was – the two standardization processes were happening more or less at the same time. But really the Commission was very clear saying that we have – we are Europeans. And we are different. So we want other things. Well, we can share 90%. But for example, in Europe, we have other standards and other directives, for example, for emergency services and this is very unique in Europe and is unified and it has to be accessible and really that is also for care services for elderly. It’s very important.

So that is very unique of our standard.

But the standard is there. People are starting to use it as a reference. But if European national Government or the European Commission does not publish a directive or an act mentioning the standard as compulsory, it will be just a standard.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: And this is something that could happen shortly or you think shortly – ten years?


>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: There are two options.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Bart do you want to say something?

>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: There are two possibilities, there are many possibilities.

If a country is very advanced, I think for example Norway or Sweden or Germany will do it, mention a national law say I want to follow this European standard, that will be like leader in doing this European standard nationally but the normal process will be in – the norm process will be in – the normal process there’s directive for web accessibility for public Web site that’s in the last stage.

So it has been approved but the European Parliament and now it’s – it will be debated by the socioeconomic committee. But after the election and all of that probably it’s a long process. So let’s say in more than a year, probably we have formal reference of this standard in web accessibility.

But at the same time the European Commission is doing also the Accessibility Act that is accessibility in a global – in a holistic concept not just ICT, also physical accessibility, all kinds of accessibility.

And the basic standard will be mentioned, as well.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Bart, meanwhile the users are waiting for products and services. And will go to the library or buy products in the United States where they have already these kinds of standards running and a lot of time. What is the position of the EDF? You have some ideas to push the legislation in Europe?

>> BART SIMONS: Thank you for the question. I can echo most of what Jose has been saying. European Disability Forum has contributed quite extensively to the standard. We are more or less happy with the standard. Of course the standard is always a compromise. So there are things that we might have liked differently but the standard is published so it is what it is. We will promote it.

But indeed, the standard is great. But it’s not a law and EDF is pushing since a long time for a more strict law on accessibility because our patience is a little bit over. European institutions have already published since 2002 commitments to make the Web accessible to at least their own Web sites. There was European Action Plan it was called and then it was called i-inclusion. Then by 2010 they said now everything will be accessible by 2010. Now then they published the Digital Agenda where they said by 2015 we promise that we will make significant steps toward accessibility.

And it’s still not happening. So the soft law as we would call it, the please do it and the good intentions, we tend to not believe them too much anymore. Because we have had so many action plans about a directive, it’s also an illustration how slow things move.

So a proposed directive on web accessibility was published in December 2012. Unfortunately it was not so good proposal in the opinion of People with Disabilities since it was quite limited to a specific set of Web sites that should be accessible, not all Government Web sites but 12 specific types of public Web sites only.

So there was a big lobbying to improve the proposed directive because we think – if we get finally a directive or a law about accessibility, it should be a good one.

So indeed Parliament has commended on the proposal – Parliament has commented on the proposal quite a bit and we hope this amended version can now continue and now be accepted by Council and Commission but that may take some time and the Digital Agenda it is published by 2015 major steps are taken to improve accessibility.

But by the time the directive will be published, we will be more or less end of 2015 and then we will have new direction and then we will start discussing by when it should apply, et cetera, et cetera. So unfortunately things go very slowly and in the meantime many things are produced. Many Web sites are created. And this also stops even national Member States from taking action because they say, oh, yeah, but the Commission is coming with a directive. But it’s coming since so long so also Member States hesitate to make big steps.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: It was also spoken about the European Accessibility Act that it’s something more that only the directive of web accessibility because I think the problem is not focused only on web accessibility.

>> BART SIMONS: Correct.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: It’s more a broad problem.

>> BART SIMONS: Correct but the directive is on web accessibility is something concrete. The Accessibility Act is still talk. There is nothing published. It might – they might believe they are working hard on it. But there is literally nothing concrete at the moment. That’s why the efforts were concentrated on what is also out. We cannot comment on any act if there is no proposal.

So yeah, I think no one can make any promise on this point.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Very well. Katrin, the other part of the puzzle of our three musketeers is the improvement of digital literacy. I know that you have a lot of experience with the project that was the Digital Literacy 2.0. I hope you – you have a lot of knowledge in this area. And at the moment you are running the trans-efacilitator.

Can you explain us the targets, the work you have done, the results you are already – you have already obtained.

>> KATRIN SCHUBERTH: Okay. Thank you. Okay. So where to start? Yeah.

In the field of the European Commission, we had the project called Digital Literacy 2.0 which was funded in the Lifelong Learning Program of the European Commission. And we developed – it was funded. And we developed with eight partners from seven European countries training material and a training campaign for supporting staff members and multi-players in non-formal learning settings like in libraries or in social institutions or in community centers.

We had strong partners from which had other views of transferring knowledge to their trainees and trainers and staff members so we developed a curriculum which is really close to the needs of the learners.

And then we implemented a two-step training campaign. That means we train the trainers so the staff members. And in the second step the staff members qualified the users. So the end users are our target group, which is in this project socially and educationally disadvantaged adults.

So our aim was to create an institution – a social – social institutions or libraries an atmosphere or services for non-users of the Internet. To get them interested and to get them motivated to go through the Internet and to find applications or to find services which can help them for organizing their daily lives or for making – making their daily lives easier. So this was one part of the project and in the end we had now the curriculum in seven European languages. We put it under Creative Commons license which is now accessible also now on the Web site. And we are interested in providing it in other countries to adapt the contents like many links to applications which are useful for adults in this situation.

So what the curriculum consists of, it’s like we focus on special ICT tools on ICT tools which are really common for each of you for people who like to find information through the Internet to like go to YouTube to watch videos or even to make a doodle for date findings and for dates. And we try to find out which applications can be useful for our target groups and which applications help them with – motivate them to go through the Internet. In another project Jorge was also talked about called trans-efacilitator from the European Commission from the Lifelong Learning Program. There we focused more on the level of the multipliers and the efacilitators, the facilitators who are working also in social institutions like institutions for elderly people for senior citizens or in situations which focus on migrants. And there we try to give them contents and give them ideas how to create services for their target groups so how to develop training session for elderly people or how to create other things for attracting them and for reaching them and also another point in this project is that we – that the facilitators have the possibility to take part in an e-learning session. Which goes like six months or seven months and there they can learn step-by-step about the topic. And then they – are supported to create ICT tools or to – not to create ICT tools but to create computer networks within their institutions and to create public access in the institutions for their target groups.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: For example elderly people in institutions, you work with them and try to connect them in a network.

>> KATRIN SCHUBERTH: We try this. I don’t know what you – sorry –

>> JORGE FERNANDES: If you work with elderly people institutions –

>> KATRIN SCHUBERTH: So it’s another project which is since two years we are working with elderly people who live in senior residences and with our co-funder we provide tablet PCs for senior citizens in this living – in these living houses for some weeks so that they have the opportunity to get to know about the device and to get to know how it works and there we found out that it’s also very helpful for them to be supported by other – by pupils for example from schools which are nearby and they can answer their questions and can guide them through the use of the tablets and through the use of the Internet.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: The main task is Skype or – Skype with –

>> KATRIN SCHUBERTH: It depends. Mostly it’s the searching of information. Searching – reading newspaper or watching news through TV or through the media takes which are offered from TV stations. And there are a lot of things we do through the Internet. Senior citizens who are interested – senior citizens are interested in the same applications.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Well, we go check again the remote participation.

>> Yes there’s actually a lot going on in the chat that’s actually contributing to your discussions and also bringing up examples from their own action or from their own platform. And I’ve been in contact with Jasper. Jasper Schellekens he’s actually from Malta and he wants me to read out a short statement that he has written. So I’ll just read it out then because Jasper just has signed the last papers. So the ISO C Malta chapter has been founded very recently. Actually today as they have just signed it and it’s now in place so the IEOC’s vision is the Internet is for everyone and in that spirit one of the first projects will be the undertaking in cooperation with together against cybercrime whether you’re using the – where they are using the Internet and ICTs to assist and empower vulnerable groups in Malta, especially vulnerable groups that do not have access to the Internet or to ICTs.

So they decided to target migrants as their first project because there is no other project ongoing that is actually – that is actually focuses on their inclusion in the moment in Malta.

So the project will be in line with the Malta digital strategy which is the key tool to use the ICTs and to remain active in the community. That’s just another example from our remote participant Jasper that actually contributes to all of the actions that are going on already.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Veronica, I don’t know if you want to add something and also to present – that I don’t present you.

>> Okay. That’s fine. Thank you very much. And thank you for the wonderful input and contributions. I think they all are really valuable I’m Veronica I come from the Republic of Moldova I’m head of the Government institute and as part of this organization we basically focus on implementing initiatives that aim at bringing citizens closer to the decision making processes to policy making processes by encouraging and motivating the Government to become more open more transparent more accountable more inclusive and citizen oriented.

And of course in line with all of this, this is exactly where the empowerment, accessibility and enabling the participation of everyone is really at the core. Because when we talk about open governments, we also talk about open societies. And I think the issues that you have been addressing and the point you have been making are exactly in line with what does it – what is it important to have in place to build that open society. You need to empower everyone. You need to create an enabling environment for everyone. And you need to provide pro access to everyone to be able to – provide to be able to equally participate in the policy making processes.

In line with this, just a question to the libraries and then, Jorge, if you allow me I would like to also focus on this side of the room. And it’s usually in the meetings it’s just one part talks and then the other part keeps silent so I have some questions for the people sitting around this part of the table.

On the library one of the aspects I was wondering about because you mentioned the global libraries program, to what extent you are communicating and engaging with the formal educational system to ensure sustainability, especially of the capacity building of the librarians Moldova is also one of the countries where the global libraries program is and the concern is how you really deal with the quality of the people who are really delivering a service within the library because it very much depends on who are the people sitting there and really helping and enabling those who need quality services.

And if you are not going to infuse that into the formal training of the librarians and have it approached just as a sporadic capacity building training you know once a year or twice a year, have an NGO deliver it once, another program deliver it another year, that is not really sustainable.

So from my perspective, I think there should be a connection with the formal educational system. But I would like to ask you to elaborate a – a little bit on this.

>> ELLEN BROAD: So I know that sustainability is one of the hottest challenges not only in relation to the types of global libraries projects that we’re talking about, all of these kinds of initiatives to see libraries as agents for development even also the accessibility issues that we’re talking about that we can create standards, we can deliver action plans there will be spurts of activity and then 12 months later you know whether everything has returned to business as usual or if you have actually embedded these practices and I don’t think we have perfected that yet. I know for example part of that global libraries program was the training of 20,000 librarians. But how we ensure that it is integrated into for example formal librarian information science training I think is something that is – it has to be tailored at the national level because the realities are different from country to country. So we still have work to do in working at the national level with different libraries.

With IFLA we have a program called building strong Library Associations in which we similarly go into particularly developing and in transition countries and we try to embed very strong Library Associations because it’s from the associations that a lot of these – the guidelines for formal education, the types of initiatives that are implemented at the national level, they are all usually spearheaded by the association in conversation with Government.

So in some of these programs, when we go into a country, Government is sitting at the table, too.

So for example, we have the building strong Library Association program currently underway in Burma when we go there we also have meetings with the ministries, with the Minister of Education, the minister for communications to try to ensure that these practices are embedded across Government.

It’s such – in addition to the type of library training that we’re talking about, there’s also a level of training that has to be undertaken to enable librarians to speak to policymakers who set the parameters for this. Because we can train the librarians but then what happens if their funding is cut for workstations? They also need the skills to then go to their policymakers and ask them for greater funding or for a new way of delivering these services. So at a few levels, there’s still work to be done. But this is where these types of programs like the association focused programs hopefully will have an impact.

>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: Let’s say in European countries that are very – with a long tradition on library and information science and they have like 20 years of professionals at universities at the end when you go to a library, really you cannot see the professional there. And even in open calls, in public calls for getting new professionals into the system, if you are another kind of professional for example philosopher or historian, you have more points than if you are a librarian.

So that is something that still now even at a public level, it needs a little bit of improvement. Because we are – the Government is spending a lot of money in training very good professionals that – and then they are not using them.

>> ELLEN BROAD: I will be brief because I know you have questions but something we haven’t touched on when we talk about access in this context is actually what we’re providing access to.

So we haven’t mentioned at all things like technological protection measures or licensing or geo blocks or Government censorship of certain Web sites so all of these types of things influence what we’re able to provide the citizens with access to, as well. And that’s perhaps a whole other workshop. But I just thought being able to give them access to the Internet is only the first part of ensuring that they can actually participate fully.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Do you think that the social responsibility mainly of the Internet Governance institutions could also improve more this kind of – these kinds of services and products in for example improving and facilitate work in the libraries? Like for example, the Internet service providers could help support the access of the libraries and also to put computers and to finance staff, et cetera. Do you think that we are on the middle of Internet Governance? We could ask something of them to support the institutions that already have – are in the market. Do you believe in that?


>> Off microphone).

>> Microphone.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Like the Belinda Gates Foundation Ellen mentioned in the first talk.

>> ELLEN BROAD: So I know Bart and Jose will probably have a lot of thoughts, too, on the social responsibility of Internet service providers and Web site operators, for example, so I’ll just touch on the library aspect. It’s great that we have philanthropic engagement in this these issues so for example I don’t want to say every philanthropist has a social responsibility to empower access to ICTs because philanthropy is happening in many different ways and I’m grateful it’s happening in this space, as well. However, it takes – it goes back to Veronica’s point that it takes more than simply instituting say one laptop per child in a raft of countries because you have to be thinking about the lived reality for a lot of these countries before thinking of things like whether donating computers to a primary school is going to solve the problems because you have the training around it, the way in which education is delivered.

You also have in some countries we go into some countries where we’re dealing with libraries who don’t have reliable access to electricity. So we’re talking about a digital reality that is still fairly removed for them.

>> BART SIMONS: In accessibility we usually – we started with certifying one Web site at a time. Analyzing it, is it accessible. Working very closely with the person. Same for buildings, testing existing buildings, certify can you enter, is it accessible or not.

But this is very hard work. And it doesn’t bring high figures of accessibility. So I think training is extremely important for architects we should not wait until they complete the building and then tell them that the door is 2 centimeters not wide enough.

They should be told this from the outset. Same for web developers when a Web site is finished, it’s not the right moment to tell them that they did wrong.

So you should train them beforehand.

So training an individual – or sorry; certifying individual Web sites is not very productive because sites change. After two years they might already consider to build a new one so it’s endless.

We believe in Belgium when we do now web accessibility, we try to work more with the companies making the Web site. And certifying them once they make accessible Web sites for one client, they have learned how to do it. They maybe adapted their working methodology and their tools. And then the next clients will get it either for free or they have the experience.

So we shifted to certifying producers rather than products. And this starts to pay off in higher amounts of accessibility. And will they do it for social reasons or for commercial reasons or for Search Engine Optimization reasons or whatever, it’s not really my interest. What counts is the outcome that the Web sites are better.

So we abandon maybe a little bit the social you should do it to do something good of the there are more arguments for accessibility. In fact it benefits almost everybody. It’s not hurting anybody to be accessible.

For Web sites you rank higher in search engines so that’s maybe more important trigger for some people. If they do it for this reason, fine, it doesn’t need – because if we keep it in the welfare ministry, I think we should more bring it to the ICT ministry and then we are aware, then we can talk to the heart of the problem.

>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: I think the audience so to speak – I want to change completely my position of what I thought before because we have been talking about standards, legislation, but I think access and accessibility is a matter democracy. So governments and Public Administration should ensure by default that everything – should ensure that everything is accessible.

So there are countries like the experience I have in Sweden, they don’t have an accessibility law and all public governments are very accessible. So it’s a matter of responsibility.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Is it a business model or responsibility?

>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: Really what we have detected because it’s just another coincidence but we have been doing a European study analyzing how different public governments are across Europe in web accessibility and other technologies and really the trend is when you have – to have a standard a low is not the key. The key is to have a Government with good approach to democracy and accessibility to have a well structured user associations that can lobby for the rights and to have also a developed ICT structure, consultancies that can really support other consultancies, other companies and the public Government and this is the ecosystem that really in the countries that have better accessibility this is the common trait so we have been working three or four years to have a standard. But it is really not a sense. What we need is to change the mind. And also another thing and then we’ll go to the public but another standard is setting just the basis. If you fulfill the standard, it doesn’t mean that you are fully accessible because the standard is very technical. And it doesn’t imply anything of language things or understanding things so people with some kind of community for most of the elderly people will not have access to we follow this standard we like but like we have been waiting for it for many years.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: I don’t know if Katrin wants to add something to this social or business model, social responsibility or business model?

>> KATRIN SCHUBERTH: So I’m not the expert in the accessibility thing for Web sites. But the foundation is also focusing this topic for Web sites. So we really consider that there are so many – so many services which are not accessible for disabled persons. So that we also point out – point out to make Web sites more accessible and to also reach the persons with the content in this topic.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Or the other way it is easier to get the financing to – to improve digital literacy. It is easier to – the markets are open to do it?

>> KATRIN SCHUBERTH: So I don’t think it’s easier. It’s for every – for each topic you will have to work to get money to get your project financed. And so for each period of election, like strategies are decided. And you try to put the topic for digital literacy for example on the agenda. And so the European Commission did it in the Lifelong Learning Program as we – where we could benefit and also do the project the training campaigns. Now it’s about another project that they changed it into Erasmus, I don’t know if anybody knows it but of course I think there we find out that the focus has changed and the topic for adult education is less presented in this book – in this finance package.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: So we open the questions to the audience. Anyone wants to have something, some comments, some questions.

>> VERONICA CRETU: I want to ask them a question. Can I.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Of course.

>> VERONICA CRETU: Before you think about your questions, I would like to ask you a question. We heard – we listened to our panelists. There have been several ideas shared but I’m just going to walk around and speak with any of you. And just quickly the question is about as Jose was saying, there is an ecosystem around creating and enabling an environment.

Who from your perspective is the most important player in this ecosystem from your perspective? And please introduce yourself.

>> VASILISA OPACIC: Of course my name is Vasilisa Opacic. I’m from New Media Summer School from Bosnia I cannot say who is the most important it’s the always a communication between everybody. You cannot just like pick somebody because if one of the – if one of the – I don’t know how to say it in English. But if one of those people from ecosystem doesn’t work, their job and everything falls down falls apart. So it cannot just be said. Everybody needs to do their job good. And that’s how we make the system work.

>> VERONICA CRETU: To give examples, who else should be?

>> I don’t know. In my country nothing works good. So we need to start from basics, yeah. Like really, really basics. Like a lot of things are important.

>> VERONICA CRETU: Thank you so much. The same question and I will stop right here. Please introduce yourself.

>> MARIA PONIROU: Maria Ponirou from the New Media Summer School. I think when it comes to accessibility and media literacy, you work – outside of school has to play a big role. Libraries are a good example where like I would say it’s not youth work in the classical way. But I would say that youth work outside of school, too, somehow.

So I think work outside of school really play a big role in this and on the one side the education of the youth workers regarding ICTs and the Internet are lagging. It’s like – it’s the same with the teachers. Like at the universities and so on, we have like this classical education. But to use a tablet with children to like teach them something, it’s not really taught to them and we are lagging behind in this area and I think there could be a lot more done.

>> VERONICA CRETU: Okay thank you very much. So the issues of accessibility, empowerment and creating and enabling the environment for marginalized communities for minorities, for disabled, goes much beyond those target groups. So this is what I’m hearing. We need a more holistic approach to addressing this issue and a couple of more reflections and I will stop at the wonderful lady here please introduce yourself.

>> KATHARINA KAHMANN: Hi I’m Katharina Kahmann. And I’m here for Co:llaboratory. Well, I think it’s a little bit like for example with Climate Change or energy politics. Like if you all leave it to the politics and don’t make it in some kind of way rentable, then nothing will ever happen if you leave it to altruism and what would be logically sound nothing will happen, either and that’s the way to do it and the second thing is I want to toggle one year ago or something like that I realized for example even if people have access to the Internet they might not use it for getting information they might use it to share cat pictures or something like that and I’m not sure that’s the right way to do it, as well.

>> VERONICA CRETU: Interesting points. Thank you very much. I think we heard different points, different reflections. And now how much time we still have, like 20 minutes lecture, right, yes? If you have any questions – I think the discussions and the experiences shared by our wonderful panelists are really valuable because there are different patterns different models. Are we talking about enabling? Are we talking about specific stakeholders? Are we talking about policies? I mean all of these elements are really constructing the entire spectrum of the issues that we’ve been addressing.

And I’m sure these discussions have been making you think about some questions, wanting you to go into more in-depth.

So this is an open floor for questions to our panel. I see – body language is really powerful. Thank you. Introduce yourself.

>> HU XIANHONG: Thank you. My name is Hu Xianhong from UNESCO. Can you hear me? Just one comment before asking a question. Accessibility, I agree with all of you. For UNESCO we recently developed a new concept on Internet universality. It includes one principle, accessibility to all. We also try to take a very holistic approach to accessibility. Because traditionally, it talks about the universal access to the minimum level of infrastructure. And now we’re talking about the quantity of the access, talking about social inclusion, including multilingualism in cybersecurity and in the domain system and in the interpretability of the keyboard and the software. So that this is a second – I mean infrastructure, then its socioeconomic language, inclusion.

And there are layers as what you have talked about, about the literacy, digital literacy, media information literacy. Yes, I had the same information in the Developing World as UNESCO works with that the Internet is really not constructively used by many young people, adults. It’s kind of an entertainment superhighway rather than an information highway not to mention to the access to the knowledge and the development. So that’s why we have a strong project on the media information literacy to involve all of the stakeholders, not only the capacity building part but also the policy level to help the Government to develop the policy framework and integrate the media information literacy, digital literacy, to the formal and informal education system.

>> VERONICA CRETU: And did you want to ask a question?

>> Yes my question is to ask since it’s EuroDIG I was wondering at the Europe level are there any good practice of integrating the digital literacy to the formal education in some countries?

>> VERONICA CRETU: Thank you very much. So let’s see if we have one or two more questions and then we’ll go to the panelists. Yes, please, and introduce yourself.

>> DIMITRIS NIKOLSKY: My name is Dimitris Nikolsky. I represent the rights of the People with Disabilities from the Council of Europe.

I don’t know if I’ll end up with a question. But just very short intervention, things that we discussed before.

We talked about the ecosystem. I think the ecosystem, first of all, is defined by the legislation. The there’s legislation that exists. And everybody knows what I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about for example the European Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities it’s very clear it defines the rights that people should have on the access to information and especially on the ICT accessibility. The legislation comes from the European Union exists we are all Member States of the European Union follows the directives and the legislation that’s produced and quite often they are updated. And besides the Member States of the Council of Europe, it should also follow the instructions that are produced from different tools from the Counselor of Europe, let’s say there’s an Action Plan on the disabilities that comes from the Counselor of Europe that clearly points out the importance that disabled people should have the right and should have – the right should be given to – for accessibility – to the accessibility.

So what I want to say is that we talked about Web sites. That should be accessible. It would be interesting to have a survey to see how many Government authorities – governmental Web sites are fully accessible. Maybe my colleague – the colleague from the European Disability Forum has something to say about that. I’m very disappointed on this issue. I represent in some way this day 47 different countries. There’s a wide range of developing especially on the Web accessibility issues. You can imagine 47 different countries what I’m thinking about for example you mentioned before the German Swedish example I can mention some other countries, even my country, that are not so happy regarding this issue. If they are from the libraries case study that say some way it doesn’t mention the issue that there are countries that do not have electricity.

So how can we discuss about full accessible things. I would think that being here in this room, it’s like being somewhere out of the area. The right is very bad – it’s very nice that the colleague from UNESCO mentioned before that okay the national partners should be the head of the discussion regarding accessibility and not just discussing about the basic things if people should have access to things. But I’ve heard that presenting all these countries or maybe most of the countries of the Council of Europe I think the situation is very, very bad my colleague next to me from Bosnia mentioned or didn’t mention very clearly what I’m talking about.

So what I want to say just in stopping is that for me, this is my personal opinion, is that the accessibility, the accessibility could be a reality or – if there’s cooperation or connection between the business sector and the Public Sector.

We have seen the last three years for example applications and all of these products that are – everybody uses. And People with Disabilities can use easier let’s say tablets and all of these things. But I’m afraid that somebody said this before that if you are not online, you do not exist. I would say that if you are not e-accessible, you should not exist. So that could be a point for regarding the People with Disabilities that I represent at this time. Thank you. So there’s not some upsetting question but it’s more an intervention.

>> VERONICA CRETU: Thank you very much but still some take-aways from this intervention for our panelists and one last question or is it a question? Yeah? Okay.

>> Hi, Catherine Easton from Lancaster University in the UK but also representing the Internet rights and principles coalition just a couple of points on the last speaker I’ve done quite a lot of work looking at accessible standards and the development of them. And I’ve never seen so much passion in a room when people are trying to decide what level of access should be achieved in relation to web accessibility as a wholesome things I have run have been standard arguments over what level of access should be provided to Web sites and it’s really interesting to me coming from a legal perspective just how very important that idea of standardization is linked back to Web sites and the laws that are being passed there. My strong focus and it’s very linked in with what Bart was talking the difference between the provisions and the reality of the lack of access and you mentioned about the failure of soft measures and soft regulatory measures.

I would just like you really to expand upon that a little bit and to say well what do you think potentially the push could be and what could potentially work? My small point to make is quite often when talking in a commercial environment it’s the business case that does get a lot of people listening to why they should design in an accessible way with the focus on the end user pulling back from their own internal idea of what normality is and thinking about the diverse nature of all of the different people that could be using the Internet so the specific question is: If there’s a failure of soft regulatory measures, what do you think could potentially work and I know that’s really wide. Sorry.

>> VERONICA CRETU: I think all of these reflections and questions could keep us in the room for one more day not one more session. But thank you very much and I’m back to you, Jorge and to the panelists and whoever wants to take the floor to respond to the questions and reflections. And please make sure that we manage it on time, two minutes each. Thank you.

>> ELLEN BROAD: So eye agree – so I agree. I think when we talk about the ecosystem there’s no magic bullet – magic bullet that sounds terrible. There’s no magic solution. There’s no one stop solution for the accessibility problems that we are talking about because they are so diverse. We are talking about language we’re talking about accessibility for visual impairments we’re talking about other disabilities and minority groups so to expect a level of accessibility from every Web site that adheres to all of the accessibility issues we’re talking about I think is too much to expect. Although I would love it to be the case what I would say we need to make sure other regulatory measures don’t stand in the way of innovations that could improve accessibility. So I’m thinking of as we continue to increase our technologies that facilitate automatic translation for example, we need to make sure that these types of measures that could improve accessibility aren’t constrained unnecessarily by issues like copyright and I think the treaty for the visually impaired articulates that as in copyright regulation with standing in the way of making accessible format copies for blind people we needed to change that regulatory system to encourage the types of innovation that would make more accessible format books.

Other ways in which we can encourage accessibility, I would love to see a lot of the ICT led activities we undertake on startups focus on accessibility issues so to see the hack-a-thons our gov hack days our incubator Government funded projects focusing much more strongly on apps, different tools that can improve these issues.

>> (Off microphone).

>> BART SIMONS: You asked if we need sanctions in legislation. I would like to respond to the second speaker who said shouldn’t we do a survey to see how the percentage of accessibilities. Well I can reassure you that a lot of surveys and studies have been done and that the outcome is quite negative. So the percentage is indeed low of accessibility. I don’t think there is a need to repeat it.

And that brings me to why I said that soft law didn’t work over and over again we see that asking friendly doesn’t work because it gets buried under all of the rest of the work of developers but also maybe – or a developer can tell the person yes I made it acceptable and the procurer might believe it without checking it and there your question comes in Jorge about certification should we let the developer declare something accessible or should it be an independent organization certifying that the work that’s delivered is indeed compliant. It’s a hard law – is a hard law one and only solution, probably not. Because then we are coming back to I follow the standard, I follow the law. And that’s what I have to do, so I do it but without thinking anymore, just ticking off the boxes. So that’s – that might not be the – what you suggested is probably also not the one and only solution but we have seen in the U.S. with Section 508 that at least basic things are accessible it’s in the law in the U.S. since I think 1995. And you see that you don’t need to lobby as much to get the basics right. So I think it will let at – it will at least help. Will it solve everything, a hard law? Probably not. But let’s not forget that it’s a big amount of people that is concerned about accessibility. It’s not something for the two blind people that might visit your Web site. It’s 15% of the population. So it’s quite a big group. And again, it does no harm for people who don’t need it.

>> Question from the remote participants Julia from together against cybercrime international just asks about what do you think about the European hub like you have the American legislation to do it we as Europeans should we foster more legislation on the European level that is actually – that’s actually compensatory for all of the countries? What is your opinion on – to address the three issues access, inclusion, empowerment for all disadvantaged and vulnerable groups more efficiently? So is there a European hub that’s possible to do that?

>> BART SIMONS: I think it’s better if it’s European harmonized. Coming back to training if you want to include it in training, it’s easier. If someone follows studies in Spain and goes back to his country in Belgium and starts producing or building buildings as an architect. So if the standard – if it would be European wide, you would have these advantages that it’s the same. Also for software producing countries, they will not be happy if they have to make one version compliant with the Spanish law and another version or the same software compliant with the French law. So I think European wide would be preferable.

>> JOSE MARTINEZ USERO: But really I was participating in an impact assessment for the Accessibility Act and the barrier is not so big because really it’s very harmonized with Web 2.0 and all of the technology for example computers. At the end ICT is developed by big players. And the big players normally are American so they will follow the American law. And what we have is inherent very basic accessibility that American law was promoting. And this is what we have. And now we are more replicating that. So we have basic accessibility products.

But I wanted – I didn’t want to talk about that. I wanted to talk about the business case because I thought that was very important and I think it’s very clear on accessibility because when you develop or – a Web site or you codify any kind of web application following accessible criteria, accessibility is completely a part of quality development so you get automatically you can’t change the corporate image because you separate codification you get better results in web position and then everything is very, very straightforward. So accessibility is quality.

And also now the trend is the reactive web. So when you develop accessible really that is multi-platform as well or more or less multi-platform because you develop for the Web but also for the tablets and mobile. So it’s very cheap at the end in the short-term in the medium term.

But there are even – we are talking about web, web, web. But in public Government and we are talking about the participation, et cetera there are many documents of that – in PDF or Word document. So these are all completely inaccessible even for people without disabilities.

And there are some very good practices for example in a study that we did analyzing the Web accessibility across Europe, there were – the study was published last year and you can find it on our Web site. There was best practice and Germany we don’t know why the PDF of the public Government very good, like perfect. And most of the Web sites we analyzed. And in the rest of Europe it’s not that case.

So now we are trying to foster an internal study with crowd funding to really discover and analyze what is the German public Government doing because it was very good.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: And we are also speaking about devices isn’t it not only software or products in the Internet. We are also speaking about features of accessibility incorporated in the devices from the manufacturer. What is a big difference from what we have today? That we need to buy assistive technologies to connect to a computer, for example, and with the three or four times the price of the original computer. I will take the microphone to Katrin to –

>> KATRIN SCHUBERTH: Thank you. Okay. So in the discussion about the accessibility and really big gap to users who can use it and even with this – with disabilities or other disadvantages, I want to focus on this gap and working for now we have this problem that the ICT and the ICT tools are developed really fast. And technologies and the services we can get from huge enterprises are not accessible for everybody. So we – it’s like the situation, we – which needs to be changed. But for now we also need to work on – to make the most efforts for persons who want to share the knowledge, want to make the information. And that’s the strategy the foundation works on that we strengthen the multipliers in social institutions and like public libraries to make them I would say to – to give them the opportunity to develop their skills and to address the target groups for this aim.

For now we don’t have to accept – we have to work on it stronger and – more strongly but we also need to react on this situation. Yeah.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: Thank you. I don’t know if we have someone from the remotely that want to say something.

>> Yes, there’s still another question going on at Twitter actually. – you can see the tweets over there. But also I want to read them out. So people can actually follow. And there was a question raised by Ruth that says how to make your own blogs accessible and how can we actually get disabled people, People with Disabilities to be working in the tech industry – disabled people – so – in the tech industry so they can speak about their own experience and bring in their own experience to make it more accessible.

>> JORGE FERNANDES: I don’t understand – the blogs? Blogs, yeah. That’s maybe a good question to Internet Governance player that has a lot of blogs. And who knows, maybe not only for the parts that the viewers see the blogs but also the producing the blogs. People with Disabilities also write and read and participate. So it is not only a question of what we saw in a blog that is important. But is also the tool of editing the blog that is also important.

And it is important to a lot of things in the inclusion – in a society that uses a lot and a lot of the information in the form of digital.

So it’s the end of our session. I’d like to congratulate our panel and a big applause to them.


>> JORGE FERNANDES: And also to Veronica for your support. Thank you, a lot.

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