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A global public good

To cement accessibility as a core development objective, viewing accessibility as a global public good helps to propel the principle of inclusion in web accessibility.

'Full and effective participation and inclusion in society' is one of the general principles that underlie the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and each one of its articles.

The 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contain explicit references to persons with disabilities (Sustainable Development Goal 4, SDG 8, SDG 10, SDG 11, and SDG 17), interconnecting these with the CRPD.

The Internet is an essential tool to access and provide information and services, particularly during a worldwide pandemic. A lack of accessible online information on how to prevent transmission of the virus by following guidelines, etc. may have fatal consequences for persons with disabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic is deepening preexisting inequalities, and persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected. Read the UN disability-inclusive Response to COVID-19.

A General Assembly mandate

Following the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 13 December 2006 (resolution A/RES/61/106), the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to implement progressively standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services of the UN system.

A Task Force, composed of members of the Web Services Section of the Department of Global Communications (DGC), has therefore prepared these guidelines to assist all departments and offices in the production of accessible web content. See the list of resolutions and reports of the General Assembly.

How to use these guidelines

The Department of Global Communications developed this website to assist content-providing offices throughout the UN System with implementing web accessibility standards. Content providers, designers, and developers will find guidelines to assess and/or improve the accessibility of their website.

The features and remediation techniques detailed on this site follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C WAI), Version 2.1, level AA.

These accessibility features benefit users with temporary or long-term disabilities, including those who are blind or have low-vision, limited mobility, hearing disabilities, neurodiversity, and those who require adjustments due to characteristics associated with aging or limiting environments.

We recommend that you ensure your website complies with the accessibility standards while still in the development phase, as this is a prerequisite for deploying it to production.

Please remember that accessibility is not a project, it is a process!

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: the P.O.U.R. principles

Organized into four guiding principles — Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR) — and referenced throughout this website, they provide the basis to address web accessibility.