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Anniversary of the Bologna Declaration signing

The second anniversary of the consensus agreement on assistive technology.

On August 27th 2019 in the historic university city of Bologna, Italy, representatives from leading assistive technology organisations from around the world came together to agree and sign this important document.

The declaration signatories called upon all stakeholders who hold the capacity to influence policy and practice relating to assistive technology provision, to take active measures to improve access to high-quality assistive technology solutions, for everyone who might benefit from them, everywhere in the world and irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or cause of disability. Access to good quality assistive technology is agreed by signatories to be a realization of fundamental human rights and fundamental to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDG's) in a fully inclusive manner.

The call to action points of the high-level meeting agenda were:

  1. To raise awareness about assistive technology, universal design and accessibility as a matter of human rights, with technology being a significant and often determinative enabler for people to claim and to realize their rights.

  2. To further legislation with strong enforcement mechanisms on accessibility and usability of goods and services and promote good practices at all levels and in all domains of public and private life.

  3. To promote in all relevant disciplines socially responsive and responsible research, investigating barriers to full inclusion of all in society and developing strategies and solutions to enable participation, many of which may be technology-related.

  4. To assure that technological innovation takes into account the greatest possible number of potential beneficiaries following a universal design approach and does not contribute to further exclusion by widening the gap between the haves and have-nots.

  5. To foster assistive technology provision systems that are person-centered, independent from commercial interests, and able to provide, in a timely and affordable manner, personalised forward-looking solutions that are suitable for the environment of use and based on the abilities, preferences and expectations of the end user.

  6. To create appropriate and robust lifelong educational opportunities for end users of AT, the health and social care workforce and professional users of AT involved in needs assessments, in implementation processes of assistive technology solutions and in supporting the effectiveness of these solutions in time.

  7. To seek and require meaningful collaboration between actors at international, national, regional and local level, and to better define the obligations and levels of responsibility of each stakeholder, involving in all processes organisations of persons with disabilities and a wide range of AT users.

  8. To pursue and assure the quality of assistive technology solutions for the equitable provision of assistive technology systems globally.

  9. To promote positive images, designs and initiatives that counter the stigma that is sometimes associated with impairment and the use of assistive technology.

  10. To remove all other barriers of whatever nature (e.g. financial, political, administrative, market, knowledge, cultural, gender, etc.) for assistive technology and accessibility adoption at all levels.

The signatories of this declaration not only call upon others to take action, but declare that they will do all that lies in their power to support the priorities mentioned above.

We hope that news of this agreement will inspire you to join our clarion call for action in your particular corner of the diverse AT ecosystem. If we all work towards the same goals we can make the most enormously positive impact in our local communities, our regions and the global SDGs.

For more information and to sign the declaration click on the link below:

Endorse the Bologna declaration

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