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Internet Governance Forum 2015:
"Empowering the Next Billion Users by Removing Barriers to Accessibility" Workshop

Date: 13 November 2015

Time: 9:00am - 10:30am João Pessoa Time

Venue: Room 8, Poeta Ronaldo Cunha Lima Conference Center, João Pessoa, Brazil

Conference website:

Virtual Participation:

Accessibility Information:

IDPP is co-sponsoring the IGF 2015 Workshop "Empowering the Next Billion Users by Removing Barriers to Accessibility" along with the International Telecommunication Union, IDPP outreach partner G3ICT, and other prominent organizations.


While considerable attention is given to the availability of the communication infrastructure to expand usage of the Internet, little attention has been given to the accessibility barriers which prevent over one billion potential users to benefit from the Internet, including for essential services. Those barriers affect persons living with a variety of sensorial or physical disabilities as well as illiterate individuals who may benefit from the same solutions designed for persons with disabilities. This session will examine the technological and programmatic solutions available today for an effective removal of such barriers, potentially bringing a considerable number of new users to the Internet. Examples in Education, Emergency services, Assistive Technologies for work and independent living in a variety of economic and geographic environments will be covered. The session will also provide a detailed benchmark and statistical overview of the progress made by countries around the world in implementing those solutions. A general discussion with government, industry and persons with disabilities representatives will ensue.

In-Person Moderator: Andrea Saks
Remote Moderators: Flavia Botelho and DeirDre Williams


Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Vice President, Institutional Relations, G3ICT
“Global Perspective on Progress in Covering Essential Accessibility Services Made by States Parties to the UN CRPD”
Francesca Cesa Bianchi has been instrumental to the development of the CRPD ICT accessibility progress report prepared jointly by G3ict and Disabled People’s International provides a precise picture of the progress made by 76 countries by measuring their level of policy and programmatic activity, their capacity to implement and the actual results for persons with disabilities in terms of barrier removal.

Cid Torquato, Deputy Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Government of São Paulo, Brazil
“How Governments can Make a Difference: State of Sao Paulo’s Programs for Assistive Technologies”
Few governments have done as much to promote Assistive Technologies as has the Government of Sao Paulo. And it's important to have a government representation from the host country of IGF 2015.

Carlos Lauria, Director, Government Relations, Microsoft Brazil
“Why Removing Barriers Matters to the Private Sector”
The speaker will review some of the key societal, business and technical benefits of mainstreaming accessibility across all ICT platforms. He will emphasize the most recent developments that occurred in the field of public procurement which constitute a unique opportunity to accelerate better global harmonization, lower costs as well as global interoperability.

Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, Centre for Internet and Society, India
“Realising Inclusive Disaster Management through ICTs for Persons with Disabilities”
A joint report of ITU, G3ict and CIS examines in detail the role that traditional and new forms of ICTs can be used for making the disaster management cycle more inclusive so that persons with disabilities have access to communication, facilities and services.

Dr. Derrick L. Cogburn, Executive Director, Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) for the ASEAN Region, American University
“Breaking the Barriers and Expanding Opportunities for Education: The Southeast Asia Experience”
Dr. Cogburn’s presentation will explore 'Breaking the Barriers and Expanding Opportunities for Education: Accelerating ASEAN Community with Accessible Cyberlearning in Disability Policy' and IDPP's global model of accessible ICT cyberinfrastructure to create the world's first virtual graduate institute on disability and public policy.

Fernando H.F. Botelho, F123 Consulting, Brazil
“The Bleading Edge of Assistive Technology Offers High Performance at a Low Cost: Examples from the Global South in Use Everywhere”
Fernando Botelho has published and spoken on trade, open source software, public policy, and disability topics in over 20 countries in four continents. He has degrees from Georgetown University and Cornell University. Fernando also has over two decades of first-hand experience with blindness.

Gunela Astbrink, GSA InfoComm
“Accessible and Appropriate User Interfaces in Developing Countries: Policy Development in Vanuatu and Implications for Pacific Island Countries”
Gunela Astbrink is from the Oceania region and will be discussing perspectives from the usually under-represented region of Pacific Island countries. She has been active in disability issues for the past 25 years. She has the lived experience of disability.