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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Review and appraisal of the
World Programme of Action
concerning Disabled Persons

Part 5 of 6  PreviousBack to ContentsNext

V. Selected issues in accessibility to bodies and organizations of the United Nations system for persons with disabilities

It will be recalled that the Secretary-General submitted to the General Assembly at its fiftieth session a comprehensive review of the action taken by concerned members of the United Nations system to improve accessibility to United Nations facilities and information resources for persons with disabilities (A/50/473). Selected activities undertaken since then by the Task Force on Accessibility, convened by the Department of Administration and Management of the United Nations Secretariat, are reviewed below.

The period under review is characterized by a significant expansion in the range of information available in digital format via the United Nations Internet home page.30 Providing information in digital format not only facilitates the increased and expanded use of United Nations information resources by persons with disabilities but it offers low-cost and reliable access for all to these considerable information resources.31

The Department of Public Information of the United Nations Secretariat is finalizing a new guide to the United Nations building and services for persons with disabilities which is aimed at meeting the information needs of persons with disabilities at Headquarters, including staff members, delegates and visitors. The guide will be available during the fifty-second session of the General Assembly, and is being compiled in cooperation with Secretariat specialists and representatives of the non-governmental community.32


30 The United Nations home page is located at http:\\ Interested users can access the full range of digital information available from United Nations bodies and organizations from that site.

31 The importance of access to digital information resources to the well-being and livelihood of persons, especially among those with disabilities, is discussed in a thoughtful commentary, entitled "Internet for the disabled community; the Singapore experience", which was compiled by the Disabled People’s Association of Singapore, a non-governmental organization. The Association notes that Internet technologies reduce the barrier between people labelled as disabled and the majority of the population. On the network, being blind or deaf or unable to walk constitutes no major impediment. Using Internet, intra-disability and cross-disability communications can be enhanced. The commentary is located on the Internet at

32 An accessibility guide to New York City has been published as the result of a joint initiative of voluntary organizations, the private sector and the City of New York; see Access for All: A Guide for People with Disabilities to New York City Cultural Institutions (1992).

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development