Persons with disabilities face many obstacles in accessing the physical environment and information and communications, which prevent them from fully exercising their rights and participating in social, cultural and economic life on an equal basis with others.
As services are usually provided from within the built environment, inaccessible infrastructure can limit a person’s access to education, health services and employment, to financial institutions and government services, to law and justice institutions, to polling places, to places of cultural and social activity and to wider participation in family and community life. Inaccessible roads and public transport mean that persons with disabilities also have reduced capacity to travel to access services, or face higher costs associated with private transport options.
Ensuring accessible infrastructure is therefore a critical part of ensuring access to such services. Further, communications and infrastructure that are universally accessible provide benefits to everyone including older people, pregnant women and children.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) Article 9 (Accessibility) requires that States Parties take measures to ensure that information, communications and infrastructure such as buildings roads, indoor and outdoor facilities (including schools, housing, medical facilities, workplaces and transport), and electronic and emergency services, are accessible to persons with disabilities. States Parties should ensure that development cooperation supports and promotes this right to access.
Resources in this section focus on the right to accessible infrastructure and inclusive information and communications technologies and includes position papers, case studies and practical guidance.