Mobilizing Global Commitments to Accessibility, Perspectives from Governments

Americas, DIAUD Network, News, August 17 2017

August 9th, 2017 marked the third meeting of the Disability Inclusive and Accessibility in Urban Development (DIAUD) Network.  This meeting focused upon the expansion of the DIAUD Network and the use of its member base to influence change in the urban development realm, and featured a presentation by the former Ambassador to the United Nations for Ecuador, Luis Gallegos, regarding strategies and advice on how unify and mobilize civil society organizations and governments in order to be inclusive of the rights of persons with disabilities.

Luis GallegosDr. Victor Pineda, one of the founding members of the DIAUD Network, and Luis Artieda, the DIAUD Network’s meeting facilitator, began by outlining future plans to expand and mobilize the DIAUD Network’s membership base to become more effective in creating positive change for persons with disabilities.  One element of these future plans includes the completion of a survey by DIAUD Network members.  The results of this survey will provide the DIAUD Executive Committee with a catalog of the different industries and areas represented, and recommendations on where membership is lacking.  This feedback will provide critical information necessary to achieve the specific objectives of the DIAUD Network. Any additional feedback or recommendation in this regard is always welcome.

Following this overview of the DIAUD Network development strategy, Ambassador Gallegos presented strategies on unifying and mobilizing disability groups.  Ambassador Gallegos is currently on the Board of Trustees of the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and a member of the Special Olympics’ International Board of Directors. Ambassador Gallegos has previously served on the Commission of Human Rights and UN General Assembly, amongst other boards and organizations, and has received numerous honorary decorations.

Ambassador Gallegos’ presentation on unification and mobilization drove home the importance of the inclusion of persons with disabilities in as many fields as possible.  “Smaller venues, such as regional meetings or meetings on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are still areas of opportunity where the inclusion of people with disabilities’ rights can and should be addressed”, Ambassador Gallegos stated. These smaller meetings are vital steps in creating a strong and widespread network of advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities. Ambassador Gallegos powerfully summed up his advice on continuing towards this goal of inclusion by stating “We are trying to change our societies…it is a daunting task, which I believe we are in the right path to do, but we must try and unify efforts and not have a contradiction or dispersion amongst ourselves”.

The DIUAD Network’s next meeting, on Wednesday August 23, 2016 will feature a presentation by Luisa Bravo.  Ms. Bravo has worked as an adjunct professor in Urban Planning and Design at the University of Florence, and as an adjunct associate professor in Architecture at Queensland University of Technology.  Ms. Bravo is also the founder of City Space Architecture, a non-profit cultural association with over one hundred members that discusses entities that are key to urban design and development.

The DIAUD Network is made possible by a collaboration between the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) at American University in Washington, D.C., World Enabled, and the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES). DIAUD Network meetings are hosted on a virtual network by IDPP and recordings are available to registered network members.  The next meeting will occur on Wednesday August 23, 2017 at 9:00 am EDT.  Receive updates from the DIAUD Network by joining the mailing list, go to


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