A Global Collaboration for Accessibility
Americas, DIAUD Network, December 5 2017
On November 15, 2017, the DIAUD Network hosted another productive meeting coordinating efforts for participation in the upcoming 9th session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9). Members from UN Habitat’s General Assembly of Partners (GAP) updated the network on the changing structure of the WUF, and offered suggestions for increasing participation and collaboration at the event. Network members were able to discuss their side event submissions and gained additional member support to enhance their applications.
Since the meeting, network members worldwide were able to propose a variety of inclusive multi-stakeholder side events, networking events, and training events, and the DIAUD network looks forward to an exciting Forum in February.
The November 15th DIAUD meeting also featured a presentation from Tracey Shipman, Program Director for Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) who is celebrating their tenth anniversary as an international non-profit organization, dedicated to promoting accessibility worldwide. GAATES membership includes grassroots organizations, professional stakeholders, NGOs, DPOs, Civil Society organizations, professional associations, private sector organization and individuals, with active members in the Asia-Pacific, Arab, North America, South America, Europe, and Africa Regions. Ms. Shipman shared with the network some of the programming updates and new opportunities at GAATES such as the updated Country Representative program and the newly launched International Certification of Accessibility Consultants – Built Environment..
The GAATES Country Representative Program works to promote the implementation and monitoring of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, civil society contributions related to the Global Development Agenda Post 2015, and sustainable development of the built and virtual environments based on the principles of Universal Design. GAATES Country Representatives are volunteers committed to achieving the organization’s mission and goals within their country, and are critical in awareness raising and encouraging collaboration. Their roles include representing GAATES at local, national and international accessibility meetings, events and conferences, generating content for the GAN, identifying projects working in collaboration with GAATES, and providing mentoring and feedback in the accessibility field. Currently, GAATES is working to expand this program with calls open throughout South and Central America, in Thailand, in Japan, and in Europe. Ms. Shipman welcomed applications from network members and encouraged them to share these opportunities with their colleagues as well.
Ms. Shipman next presented GAATES’ exciting new program, the International Certification of Accessibility Consultants – Built Environment (ICAC-BE), which certifies consultants based on their experience and credentials within the field of accessibility. She announced that the program received approval to open for public registration on November 1st, and encouraged network members to apply, finding specific details on their website. The program is intended to fill an industry gap, providing recognition to practitioners in the field.
There are three levels of the certification: Associate, Professional, and Advanced Accessibility Consultant. Each level of certification is based on specific levels of experience and specialization, with reviews conducted quarterly by an Expert Panel. Once certified, consultants must ensuring continual development of their skills to maintain their certification, evaluated on a triennially basis. Network members were very excited to hear of this opportunity, confirming that this is indeed a gap in recognition and validation within the industry and expect the program to be well received by their colleagues..
The DIAUD Network’s next meeting will take place on Wednesday November 29th, 2017 at 8:00pm EDT (2:00 AM CEST | 9:00 AM HKT – next day). Dr. Victor Pineda, President of the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments GAATES, President of World Enabled Foundation, will be leading a discussion and overview about the PWD-PCG applications for Side Events at the World Urban Forum 9 on Kuala Lumpur, February 2018. The collaboration between the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) , the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), and World Enabled makes the DIAUD Network possible. These network meetings are hosted and recorded on a virtual platform by IDPP and the recordings are available to registered DIAUD Network members. In order to receive updates and further your participation with the Network, join the mailing list, go to https://goo.gl/dtxWJf.