On 15th March 2017, the Zero Project was proud to present its work to some 60 representatives from all ministerial departments of the German country state of Schleswig Holstein, at the one-day conference about the lifeworlds of people with and without disabilities organized by the Competence Center for Administrative Management (KOMMA) in cooperation with the Institute for Inclusive Education, held at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel.

This conference focused on five topics around inclusion: Four of them belong to the main focus areas of the Zero Project (Employment, Accessibility, Independent Living and Education) and the fifth one concerned awareness raising. Each topic was presented in more detail during a working group session, which were co-directed by an educational specialists. Educational specialists are people with disabilities who qualified to work as university lecturers on the topic of disabilities (to learn more about the Zero Project Innovative Practice 2017, visit this page)

Thanks to the kind invitation of Dr. Jan Wulf Schnabel from the Institute for Inclusive Education, Ingrid Heindorf, Zero Project Head of Policy Research and Conference Organization, gave a keynote speech on the Zero Project’s work, the UN CRPD and the awarded Innovative Policies and Innovative Practices.

Keynote speech (DOC, in German)

Flyer of the event (PDF, in German)




17 March 2017: Zero Project Report 2017 presented at the UN Human Rights Council

On the occasion of the 34th Human Rights Council, the Permanent Mission of Austria and the International Disability Alliance, together with the Permanent Missions of Australia, Ecuador, Finland, Italy, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Thailand, supported by the Zero Project, will hold a side event on “Skills development and economic empowerment: Towards inclusive, sustainable development for all”.

How to assure the right to inclusive vocational education and training as well as employment as enshrined in article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? Which innovative practices and policies exist, and how to best cooperate to implement them? Which ways forward to enhance the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? These are just a few of the questions that will be discussed during the event, together with about 50 representatives of permanent missions to the UN, international organizations and NGOs.


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

Opening words (via video):
Shuaib CHALKLEN, Founder and Chairperson of the African Disability Forum and World Future Councillor

Fernanda ALMEIDA, President of the National Federation of Persons with Autism from Brazil and member of RIADIS: Concrete experience from youth with disabilities from Latin America

Virginia CARCEDO ILLERA, CEO and General Manager, Inserta Empleo: How human resources services can empower jobseekers with disabilities (PDF)

Matthieu CHATELIN, Cerebral Palsy European Communities’ Association and youth leader of the European Disability Forum: Concrete experience from youth with disabilities from Europe

Ingrid HEINDORF, Head of Zero Project Policy Research & Conference Organisation, World Future Council: For a labour market without barriers. The Zero Project Report and Conference 2017 (PPT, PDF)

Stefan TRÖMEL, Senior Disability Specialist, International Labour Organization: Promoting disability inclusion in mainstream vocational training and employment services

Interactive dialogue

The event will take place on 17th March 2017, at 1-3pm at Room XXVII, Palais des Nations, at the United Nations Office in Geneva. Refreshments are served and captioning will be provided at: https://synchshare.de/wfc. It will be webcasted via http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/treaty-body-webcast-ii/

Kindly note that a valid UN accreditation for the 34th HRC session is needed to attend the event. Please notify the organizers at least 3 working days before the event (14th March) should you need accreditation to access the Palais des Nations, by sending your full name and contact details to daniela.ferreira@worldfuturecouncil.org

Link to Flyer (PDF, DOC)

Martin Essl DiePresse Porträt

Ein interessantes Porträt über Martin Essl von Günter Fritz, DiePresse. „Vom Baumarkt-Boss zum Philanthropen“

DiePresse-Abonnenten finden den gesamte Artikel direkt hier.

Sollten Sie keine Presse-Abo besitzen, können Sie den Artikel als PDF unter folgendem Link nachlesen:

Presse Artikel über Martin Essl, 8. Feb. 2017

Our Innovative Practice 2014, Hamburg’s citizens forum for all (Bürgerforum „Eine Mitte für Alle“), will meet again on 15th September 2016 to discuss the topic of social infrastructure, in order to make visible its key features, to incentivize cooperation and to explore potential gaps.

In cooperation with the relevant authority the forum has also elaborated criteria for the controlling of accessibility and inclusion projects, which will be presented and discussed.

Due to the international attention the forum has received since receiving our award in 2014, its staff has now published a translation of its working paper “Objectives and Steps for Inclusive Urban Planning Mitte Altona”, which can be accessed here.

We have extended the Deadline for the Call for Nomination on Innovative Practices until July 1!

The Zero Project team would like to invite you to nominate innovative practices concerning this year’s topics:

Employment, Work and Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Anyone can nominate any project, and self-nominations are also accepted!

If you have any questions or want a MS Word-Document to fill in, please don’t hesitate to contact us at office@zeroproject.org any time.

Submitting a nomination is easy by filling in the new Nomination-Online Tool – click HERE!

The Zero Project team invites leading experts and organizations to nominate innovative practices concerning this year’s topics:

Employment, Work and Vocational Education and Training (VET)


The “Innovative Practices 2017” will be selected by the Zero Project network of experts in a multistep process, and will be

–        featured in the Zero Project Report 2017;

–        their representatives will be invited to speak at the Zero Project Conference in Vienna (Austria) in February 2017.


Submitting a nomination is easy by filling in the (new) Nomination-Online Tool.

Click HERE

The deadline is extended until July 1, 2016.

Anyone can nominate any project. Self-nominations are also accepted!


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at office@zeroproject.org any time.


We are looking forward to receiving your nomination!

The Zero Project Team and Zero Project Partners

It is estimated that by 2050, 66% of the world’s population will be living in cities.  The United Nations’ Third Global Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development – Habitat III – will take place in October 2016 to review the progress, experience and lessons learnt in the past and to design a “New Urban Agenda”.

This Agenda of focused policies and strategies is hoped to harness the power and forces behind urbanization. Habitat III therefore provides an important platform for the world’s urban development policy makers and practitioners, as well as those working in the field of disability to review current progress and practices and consider opportunities for change. Importantly, the New Urban Agenda needs to ensure that future cities, towns and basic urban infrastructures and services are more environmentally accessible, user-friendly and inclusive of all people’s needs, including persons with disabilities.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and its Division for Social Policy and Development is driving the process of bringing together and involving stakeholders with expertise on disability and accessibility in this key UN process defining the “New Urban Agenda”.

The Zero Project is therefore very pleased to be a partner of the DESA Forum on Ways forward towards a Disability Inclusive and Accessible New Urban Agenda, that will take place in the UN Conference room 7, on 14 June 2016, 1.15-3:00pm, UN Headquarters in New York.

Find here Concept note and tentative programme (as of 26 May)

More information can be found here

Our Zero Project call for policy nominations as well as the Zero Project Innovative Practice 2016 Wayfindr have been featured in the UN Enable Newsletter, which is prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (DSPD/DESA) with input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes, as well as from civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities.

Check out the latest edition – April 2016, which includes important information abou:

  • the forthcoming 2016 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) that will be held in New York from 11 to 20 July 2016 under the auspices of ECOSOC,
  • the second meeting of the Global Network on Monitoring and Evaluation for Disability-Inclusive Development (MEDD) that took place from 3 to 4 May at UN Headquarters in New York,
  • the DESA DSPD Forum on Disability-Inclusive Humanitarian Action at the World Humanitarian Summit,
  • UN Habitat III – the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – that will take place in Ecuador to design a transformative and inclusive “New Urban Agenda” for the world cities, and much more!

Previous editions of the newsletter can be found at: www.un.org/disabilities.

Work is essential for realizing other human rights and it forms an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity. Employment of persons with disabilities is about the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible.

Hence, the Zero Project 2017 is focusing on Work, Employment, and Vocational Education and Training, and our call for nominating innovative policies has just been launched!

Any type of policy can be nominated, concerning:

  • any form of work (employment, own-use production work, volunteer work, trainee work),
  • any status of employment (employees, employers, own-account workers, members of producers’ cooperatives, contributing family workers and other) and
  • all phases of employment (including recruitment, hiring and employment, advancement and conditions of work), including those innovations that facilitate the transition from segregated settings to forms of employment in the open labour market.

Consider, for instance, policies concerning:

  • non-discrimination,
  • the transition from school to work,
  • technical and vocational guidance,
  • placement services and assistance in finding, obtaining, maintaining and returning to employment,
  • vocational and continuing training, inclusive apprenticeships,
  • adaptations to the workplace, job design, tools, machinery and work organisation,
  • self-employment, entrepreneurship, cooperatives and starting one’s own business,
  • financial incentives and tax exemptions,
  • just and favourable working conditions,
  • career advancement,
  • part-time employment and other job arrangements,
  • supported employment,
  • coordination with other services (e.g. embedding employment specialists in clinical treatment teams),
  • peer support,
  • train-the trainer-programmes,
  • disability-inclusive social security or
  • certification of companies.

Innovative Policies can be laws, regulations, standards, strategies, programmes, adopted by local, regional and national parliaments, governments or public authorities.


You know about an outstanding policy? Nominate it!


Submitting a nomination is easy:

Read the instructions first, complete the nomination form (also available in other languages) and then send the nomination form to: i.heindorf@zeroproject.org by beginning of July!!


If selected, the nomination will be included as an “Innovative Policy 2017” in the Zero Project Report and on our Website. Nominated organizations as well as their nominators will be invited to become part of the Zero Project expert network. Moreover, representatives of the most outstanding Innovative Policies will be invited to present at the Zero Project Conference in February 2017 in Vienna (Austria).

We are looking forward to receiving your nomination!


The Zero Project Team & Zero Project Partners


PS: Our call for nominations of Innovative Practices – projects, products, services, social enterprises, business strategies by private or nonprofit entities – has been published here.

The Zero Project team in Geneva, responsible for policy research and conference organisation, and under the lead of the World Future Council, is looking for a new full-time trainee that would provide similar great support as given by Pierre Al-Hammoud, who was with us since June 2015 and who left the team at the end of April 2016:


  • Be a part of the Zero Project team
  • Research background information on disability law and policy (focus: Employment)
  • Liaise with contacts, project partners and media
  • Editorial work on website (WordPress) and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube)
  • Report to the Supervisor


  • Academic background, preferably in international relations, political sciences or law
  • Good understanding of human rights issues and disability policy
  • Excellent communication skills in English. Language skills in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Arabic and/or Chinese are an asset.
  • Good IT literacy and organizational skills. WordPress experience is an asset.
  • Having a direct experience of disability or with persons with disabilities is an asset
  • Outgoing personality with a ‘can-do’ attitude
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of an international team
  • Be reliable and capable of paying close attention to detail
  • Be committed to the WFC’s vision and mission of long-term sustainability and equity
  • Swiss or EU nationality is required

The WFC Foundation offers the trainee CHF 750 per month. The WFC is an equal opportunities employer and encourages persons with disabilities to apply.

To apply, please send a letter of motivation, a CV and work sample as well as your skype contact details to the Zero Project Head of Policy Research and Conference Organisation: Ms Ingrid Heindorf, Ingrid.heindorf@worldfuturecouncil.org. Subject heading: Human Rights Trainee and your name. Deadline: 18 May 2016. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Download Vacancy Announcement – Trainee