The Zero Project Network

A global community for innovation in disability inclusion

Over the past decade, Zero Project has established a global network of 10,000+ experts, policy makers, corporates, academics, and other persons with and without disabilities who are advancing the implementation of the CRPD. This network contributes to the Zero Project’s work and continues to grow, fostering a global community for disability inclusion.


A unique and cross-sectoral network

It is the diversity in relationships that makes the Zero Project Network unique and effective: cross-sectoral impact of inclusive solutions, global knowledge transfer, and the engagement of decision-makers with experts to effectively steer inclusion in our society, are just some examples of how the Zero Project Network actively helps to remove barriers:


Connecting people for a world with zero barriers


Implementing proven solutions elsewhere


Enabling innovations to increase their reach


Sharing knowledge, creating visibility

Partnerships and initiatives

"Zero Project has created a community of friends who are glad and ready to help each other at any time. I see the Zero Project as a big convening power focused on innovating continuously and adapting to change."

Yetnebersh Nigussie, Children with Disabilities Program Specialist at UNICEF

The Zero Project engages with and supports the global network in many different ways. Here are some examples:

  • Transfer for inclusion, Advance with innovation.

    Zero Project Scaling Solutions

    An exclusive programme for shortlisted ZeroCall Innovators to transfer and advance their outstanding solution for persons with disabilities to new countries and regions. With Fundación Descúbreme, Atos, GIZ, and Inclusive Creation.

  • Select ICT solutions pitch to potential investors and partners

    Zero Project Technology Forum

    An exclusive event for Zero Project Awardees to pitch to potential investors and partners.

  • Removing barriers in the Spanish speaking world

    Zero Project Latin America

    A long standing partnership with Fundación Descúbreme.

  • Regional activities and partnerships

    Zero Project India

    Since 2023, partnerships with Youth4Jobs, EnAble India, and others have been forged to remove barriers in India.

  • Initiatives for inclusive employment

    Zero Project Austria

    In its home country of Austria, the Zero Project focuses on initiatives related to inclusive employment.

  • Ambassadors for Accessibility and Inclusion

    Ambassadors' Circle

    The Zero Project Ambassadors' Circle is a diplomatic collective that brings together actors determined to foster disability inclusion, share good practices, and remove barriers for all.

  • Honorary title for outstanding contributions

    Zero Project Ambassadors

    The title is awarded to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the Zero Project for a period of four years.

Celebrating 10+ years of partnership with UNOV

Since 2013, the United Nations in Vienna through the UN Office at Vienna (UNOV), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Essl Foundation, have been working together to realize the United Nations’ commitment to building a better world for people with disabilities. 

Driven by a mission to advance the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Zero Project – a project of the Essl Foundation – finds and shares innovative solutions that improve the daily lives and legal rights of all persons with disabilities. Article 32 of the CRPD, “recognize[s] the importance of international cooperation and its promotion… for the realization of the purpose and objectives” of the CRPD. In support of this, the Zero Project has identified and collected over 900 innovative solutions from over 120 countries, which have removed barriers for persons with disabilities.

Strategic cooperation

For the Essl Foundation and the Zero Project, the partnership with UNOV/UNODC is embedded in a broad and strategic cooperation with the United Nations: 

  • The Essl Foundation has consultative status with ECOSOC since 2014, with access to not only ECOSOC, but also to its many subsidiary bodies, and to the various human rights mechanisms of the United Nations.  

  • Since 2012, the Zero Project organizes several Side Events at annual Conference of State Parties of UN DESA in the UN Headquarters in New York, also at Side Events of meetings of the OHCHR in Geneva. 

  • The Zero Project was invited to join various joint activities with diverse United Nations agencies, like in the consultation process for the Sustainable Development Goals in Paris 2014, at the UN Habitat Conferences in Quito (2016), Nairobi (2015) and WUF in Katowice (2022).  

  • The Zero Project is in constant cooperation with the ITU, the ILO Global Disability Network, UNDP, OHCHR and WHO, related to mutual projects, publications, and Conferences. 

  • The Zero Project contributed to United Nations publications, such as the 2018 UN Flagship Report on Disability and Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, over 65 global good practices were collected, analyzed, and submitted to the 2023 UN Disability and Development Report, which will be published in June 2023 during COSP16. These contributions are complemented by the active assistance in the 2016 Good Practices of Accessible Urban Development report published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 


The Zero Project Conference at UNOV

The Zero Project Conference has been hosted at the UN in Vienna nine times since 2014. In that time, ZeroCon attracted more than 5,000 participants from over 100 countries, making it one of the largest international disability inclusion gatherings in the world. Read more about this year's conference here.

Celebrating the 10-year partnership at #ZeroCon23


United Nations Zero Project Awardees

  • In 2023 the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) was recognized for its inclusive work that put together an election policy toolkit for people with intellectual disabilities.
  • In 2020 the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) was recognized for its inclusive work to mainstream primary schools in Montenegro by producing DAISY-Textbooks that have visual and audio options enabling children with disabilities to follow more easily and to study alongside their peers.
  • In 2019, the International Telecommunication Union, Regional Presence Europe (ITU), was recognized for its prescient work in creating the world’s first internationally recognized standard for accessible audio navigation.
  • In 2019, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), was recognized for its legislative work that allowed for copyright exceptions to make books accessible for the blind.