International Seminar on Environmental Accessibility, Beirut, 1999
II. SUMMARY OF DISCUSSION
A. Introduction to the Seminar
A representative of the United Nations Secretariat recalled that the Seminar is based on work of ESCWA in co-operation with SOLIDERE, the Lebanese Company for the Planning and Reconstruction for the Beirut Central District, the Government of Lebanon, Ministry of Social Affairs and the National Committee on Disability on planning and design of barrier-free urban environments. This work was documented in the ESCWA monograph, Accessibility for the Disabled in the Urban Environment in the ESCWA Region; planning and design solutions (E/ESCWA/HS/1997/5) and the joint publication with SOLIDERE, Accessibility for the Disabled; a design manual for a barrier-free environment (Beirut, 1998).
The purpose of the Seminar was to provide a forum for an interregional exchange on issues and trends related to environmental accessibility and to review and discuss selected national experiences in promoting accessible environments for all. It was envisaged that the Seminar will identify priority issues and needs and to formulate recommendations for action to build national capacities and to promote awareness and support for accessible environments for all. Such actions will contribute to the realisation of the goals of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons of "full participation" of persons with disabilities in social life and development, and "equality'.
In was noted that the Seminar was being held in parallel with a Regional Training Workshop on Environmental Accessibility, organised by ESCWA at Beirut from 30 November to 3 December 1999. The purpose of the Workshop was to present an introduction to basic issues, concepts and practical methods of planning and design of accessible urban development among interested ESCWA member States.
The Seminar and Workshop were complementary exercises that provided important opportunities for joint substantive sessions and exchanges on issues, concepts and strategies to promote environmental accessibility for all.