Independent Living for All: Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Societies - Conference

Independent Living for All: Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Societies

On 5th March 2015, the Permanent Mission of Austria and the International Disability Alliance will hold, together with the Permanent Missions of Australia, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Thailand, as well as the European Network for Independent Living, supported by the Zero Project, the Essl Foundation and the World Future Council, a side event on “Independent Living for All: Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Societies”.

The aim is to discuss the challenges connected to promote independent living, to highlight Innovative Policies & Practices, and to explore ways to strengthen the work at all levels towards ‘a world without barriers’. Several high-level speakers will be providing their insights on the topic. The event will take place at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Palais des Nations, Geneva, and will gather representatives of Permanent Missions, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations.



H.E. Thomas HAJNOCZI, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN in Geneva

Opening remarks:

H.E. Lenín Voltaire MORENO GARCES, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility (video)

Catalina DEVANDAS, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


Lisa MACNAB, Down Syndrome International: What means Independent Living for me?

Nadia HADAD, European Network on Independent Living: My human rights through Independent Living?!

Frédérique WIEMEIJER, Essl Foundation & Ingrid HEINDORF, World Future Council: The Zero Project Report 2015 on Independent Living & Political Participation – Social Indicators, Innovative Practices and Policies

Closing remarks:

H.E. Thani THONGPHAKDI, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the UN in Geneva,

H.E. Regina Cordeiro DUNLOP, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN in Geneva, &

H.E. Yisheng REN, Minister Counsellor of China to the UN in Geneva

Refreshments will be served. Captioning will be provided.


Biographies speakers (DOC)

Flyer (PDF) (DOC)


The Zero Project Conference 2015 kicks off this evening!

Let’s celebrate tonight…

The Zero Project Conference 2015 will start tonight at 6pm with celebrating the 50 Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies as well as a welcome reception at the United Nations Office in Vienna (VIC, M Building, Plenary Hall M01). Even Lenin V. MORENO, the UN Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, will join with his congratulations to all the people behind such excellent best practice! View the Zero Project Award Ceremony (as well as all other sessions in the Plenary Hall M01) via our live web stream:


Welcome to #‎ZeroCon15

On Thursday, February 26th, our wonderful overall moderator – Caroline CASEY – will kick off our conference with the welcome by HE Christine STIX-HACKL, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN in Vienna, and an exciting interview of Martin ESSL, Founder of the Essl Foundation, Jakob VON UEXKULL, Founder of the World Future Council, and Lourdes MÁRQUEZ DE LA CALLEJA, Representative of EFC’s European Consortium on Human Rights and Disability.


Some facts….

Almost 500 registered participants

From almost 70 countries, from Armenia to Zimbabwe

Second time in UNOV/VIC

Number of events, plenaries, workshops: 35

More than 150 panelists & moderators

50 Innovative Policies and Practices presented


Global players as opening keynote speakers

To the highlights of Thursday will certainly belong the opening keynote speakers: Daniela BAS, from UN DESA, Facundo CHAVEZ PENILLAS, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Javed ABIDI, from Disabled Peoples International, who will provide the audience with insights into their work for the rights of persons with disabilities at a global level.


De-institutionalization is possible!

You want to know how? Then do not miss to participate in the fantastic breakout sessions. At 11:15am, for example, the LUMOS Foundation and children from Moldova, Bulgaria and Czech Republic will explain how de-institutionalization works in Eastern Europe (Room M01). At the same time, Michael FEMBEK & Silvia BALMAS from the Zero Project Team will present the results from this year’s Indicators on Independent Living and Political Participation (Room M02).


Personal assistance & much more

At the second breakout session starting at 2pm, under the lead of Jamie BOLLING from the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), one of this year’s Zero Project partners, will be intensely debating about the positive features of four Innovative Practices and Policies 2015 that all concern the access to a personal assistance budget (Sweden, Flanders, Madrid and Uloba; in Room M01). At the same time, the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) will discuss interactively with the audience how change is possible and what needs to be done by service providers, and the Assembly of European Regions together with the European Network of Social Authorities (both Zero Project partners) will be kicking off interactive working group discussions on “Innovative Strategies for Cities, regions and their Networks”.


The right (to) support

At our third breakout session, kicking off at 3:40pm, one should definitely not miss the session presenting innovative models of supported decision-making, from Microboards to Personal Ombudsman! As well, key players from IBM, L’Oreal, Wipro, ONCE will debate about corporate strategies enabling inclusion at the workplace, meanwhile Barclays will showcase interactively newest technology enabling people to live independent lives.


It’s Waltz session!!!

On Thursday night we will have a Special Evening Event in cooperation with UniCredit Center Am Kaiserwasser: “Alles Walzer” – Waltz for All. A professional dance act under guidance of a live string quartet, followed by a workshop from a dance company will make this evening certainly a highlight.


Our social media hashtags: #‎ZeroCon15 & #‎ZeroRep15

Tell your friends about our conference live web stream:

Find out more:

Takumi Nagoya (center) with her father and mother, Amelie Saupe (Zero Project)

Visiting a very special family in Japan

Also in Tokyo and Ushiku preparations for the 2015 Zero Project conference are in full speed. On Wednesday 11th February Amelie Saupe, Zero Project, Nagase Osamu, Inclusion International and Hitomi Sugiura, Tokyo Advocacy Law Office went to Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, to meet Takumi Nagoya. Thanks to her successful court case in 2013 at the Tokyo District Court more than 136,000 persons under guardianship are now enfranchised to vote. To read more about this specific policy:

Meeting Takumi and her 82 year old father, mother and 3 sisters was great. Since Takumi will not be able to join her sisters and her father on their journey to Vienna at the end of this month, we got the chance to record a short video message so she can at least have a voice during the conference.

Familie Nagoya (Japan)

Familie Nagoya (Japan)

2015_Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies graphic

New Zero Project Report 2015 is out!

The Zero Project researches the status quo of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), this year with a focus on independent living and political participation.

Data on 150 countries were collected, together with 50 Innovative Practices and Policies that can be considered as worldwide role models in their field.

Find the whole Zero Project Report online at The website also gives you the opportunity to research Social Indicators in all 150 countries on world maps, or to search the database for all Innovative Practices and Policies that have been analysed and selected since 2013: Employment (2013), Accessibility (2014) and now Independent Living and Political Participation.

The Zero Project takes a network approach. In the last three years, more then 3,000 experts around the world have contributed with their knowledge and expertise.


ZeroConference Countdown

News & Updates on the Zero Project 2015 – One week to go

One more week until the 4th Zero Project Conference 2015 will be opened! With almost 400 confirmed participants, the event promises to be the highlight in this years’ work of the Zero Project Team.

Be sure to check out whether you can attend the session C1 on the Lumos approach, which is scheduled on Thursday, 26 February 2015 from 11:15 am till 12:30 pm. In this session children from Moldova, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic will be explaining how de-institutionalization can work and inspiring the audience with their presentations. And then, get excited: The layout of the Zero Project Report 2015 is finalized and it will be going straight to the printers this week!

Make sure you use our Hashtags: #ZeroCon15 and #ZeroRep15

Please turn to our website for more information about the Zero Project Conference 2015.

Speaker on the #ZeroCon15: Javed Abidi, Manal Al-Ashwal, Javier Arroyo Mendez

News & updates on our 4th Zero Project Conference 2015

Just a couple more weeks until the 4th Zero Project Conference kicks off.

The event promises to be an interesting one with enough interesting sessions to cover different aspects of this year’s focus. And on Thursday evening we have a Special Evening Event in cooperation with UniCredit Center Am Kaiserwasser, ‘Alles Walzer-Waltz for All’.

The event consists of a professional dance act under guidance of a live string quartet, followed by a workshop from a dance company. Also, be sure to check our newly created biography section on the conference page to find out more about the speakers and moderators of this event.

Finally, we would like to kindly remind all invitees that the deadline for registration is this Friday, 13 February 2015.

The European Network on Independent Living logo

ENIL welcomes first Independent Living Organisation in Greese

Our Zero Project partner, ENIL, welcomes a new organisation to the movement:

“i-Living – Independent Living Organisation of Greece”.

This organisation was founded on the International Human Rights Day (10 December 2014) and will be mainly working on the right to Independent Living as enshrined in article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To find out more about the organisation, please click here.



Inclusive Social Protection for Persons with Disabilities

The International Disability Alliance (IDA), partner in the Zero Project, organised in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) a technical meeting on Inclusive Social Protection. The meeting brought together 30 people from different areas to discuss the topic of Social Protection. One of the participants was another Zero Project partner, Light of the World. Find out more here.


ZeroConference Countdown

News & updates on our 4th Zero Project Conference 2015

With less than a month to go, the Zero Project Conference 2015 #ZeroCon15 is coming closer!!

Exciting sessions are being programmed, including one on”UNDP’s Approach to Addressing Disability” or the one on “The dynamics between major international development stakeholders’ disability programmes, resources and respective roles”. In addition, this year SCRPD/DSPD/UNDESA, in collaboration with us, will organize a “Consultation on Technology and Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction” with view to contribute to the upcoming third World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Sendai, Japan. Visit our Zero Project Conference 2015 page to find out more!

We would like to kindly remind all invitees that the deadline for registration is Friday, 13 February 2015.



CSR+D Logo

2nd edition European Award for Social Entrepreneurship & Disability attracts more European countries


Fundación ONCE, within the framework of our partner the European Network for CSR and Disability, has launched the second edition of their European Award for Social Entrepreneurship and Disability: Promoting Social Investment.

This award is sponsored, amongst others, by the Essl Foundation. Its second edition received a total of 33 eligible projects coming from 13 different European countries. To find out more about this award: click here.