PrizeImgHomeNomination Open for the 2016 Edition of the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize

The Prize was created in 2012 to honor Calouste Gulbenkian and the multiple dimensions of his personality. Worth €250.000, the Prize is awarded annually to an individual or non-profit organization, regardless of nationality, who has made a valuable and international impact to foster the universal values inherent to the human condition, respect for diversity and difference, a culture of tolerance and the conservation of the environment.

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra – Edward Said and Daniel Baremboim’s project –, the Library of Alexandria – one of the most prestigious centres of knowledge worldwide – the Community of Sant’Egidio – the Catholic movement which has striven not only to support those most disadvantaged but also to attain peace in the world whether through conflict mediation or through inter-religious dialogue – and Dr Denis Mukwege – the Congolese doctor who has dedicated his life to caring for female victims of rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – were the previous winners, in 2012, 2013, 2014 and in 2015, respectively.

If you have an organization in mind, please consult the Prize regulation and submit your nomination online through the Prize website: www.prize.gulbenk

The deadline is the 15th of May, but don’t wait the last minute!

If you are interested in acquiring some legal knowledge, this news from our partner is for you.

The EFC Disability Thematic Network is cooperating with the Academy of European Law (ERA) and the European Disability Forum in the organisation of 6 seminars on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and EU disability law.

The first workshop will take place on 18-19 April 2016 in Trier, Germany. The aim of this seminar is to provide participants with the necessary knowledge and legal tools to use the UN CRPD combined with the relevant EU law in their daily practice.
Normally ERA trainings are very high level and have a participation cost, but as this are part of a European Project, they don’t have any registration fee and the Commission will reimburse up to 360 euros for travel and cover for 2 nights’ hotel.

To find the application formulaire and the programm, go to the website of the Academy of European Law by following this link.

Apply before 9 march 2016 !

Key topics

  • The UNCRPD: purpose, general principles (e.g. non-discrimination, reasonable accommodation, accessibility) and rights, formal and substantial relationship with EU law
  • The monitoring role of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the complaints mechanism enshrined in the Optional Protocol
  • Practical in-depth study of key disability rights in their international, European and national context: legal capacity, right to equality & non-discrimination, right to personal mobility, right to access to justice and right to political participation
  • Implementation of the UNCRPD through EU law in fields such as access to services and goods, employment and transport
  • Non-judicial redress mechanisms for violation of disability rights
  • How to use the UNCRPD in European and national litigation.

Who should attend?

Legal practitioners, members of NGOs and equality bodies with a legal background, law academics from an EU Member State and those candidate countries and EEA/EFTA countries which have decided to participate in the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme.

9 March 2016: Zero Project Report 2016 presented at the UN Human Rights Council

On the occasion of the 31st Human Rights Council, the Permanent Mission of Austria and the International Disability Alliance, together with the Permanent Missions of Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand and Turkey, and the International Telecommunications Union, supported by the Zero Project, held a successful side event on “Inclusive Education and ICTs for All: Towards AccessiblZero Project Flyer HRC31e and Sustainable Societies”.

Which innovative practices and policies exist, and how best to cooperate to implement the CRPD?

Which ways forward to enhance the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?

How to assure the right to inclusive education as enshrined in article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for all?

These are just a few of the questions that were discussed during the event, together with about 60 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:
Catalina DEVANDAS, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Jorge ARAYA, Secretary of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Overview and update on the draft General Comment on Inclusive Education

Ana Isabel RUIZ, Director for Education, Employment and Cultural Promotion, ONCE: Support for persons with disabilities to equally enjoy the right to education in mainstream schools, both in Spain and in Latin America (Speech, MS Word)

Ingrid HEINDORF, Geneva Coordinator, Zero Project/World Future Council: The Zero Project 2016 and its focus on Inclusive Education and ICTs for All (Presentation, PDF, ZPC2016 Retrospective)

Susan SCHORR, Head of Special Initiatives Division at ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, International Telecommunication Union: The role of public procurement in ensuring accessible ICTs for inclusive education (Presentation, PDF)

Nafisa BABOO, Senior Advisor on Inclusive Education, Light for the World: How can the SDG4 and the education 2030 framework for action ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind again? (Speech, MS Word)

Interactive dialogue

Refreshments were served. Captioning was provided.

The event took place on 9th March 2016, at 12-2pm at Room XXI, Palais des Nations, at the United Nations Office in Geneva, and was webcasted via

FlyerPress Release

9 HE Hajnoczi, PR of Austria to UNOG, moderating HRC31 side event ©Jared Bloch 10 I. Heindorf, WFC, presents the Zero Project Report 2016 HRC31 ©Jared Bloch






8 Ingrid Heindorf, World Future Council, presents the Zero Project Report 2016 at a HRC 31 Side Event 4 Participants of HRC31 Side Event






5 Participants of HRC31 Side Event 1 Panel of HRC31 Side Event moderated by HE Hajnoczi, Permanent Representative of Austria

UNICEF tech Fund

UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to make investments in tech startups

Apply now!

Last week, the Zero Project awarded 86 innovative practices related to inclusive education and ICT. The timing couldn’t be better for our partner The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to support tech startups creating open-source solutions for children. The Fund has raised $9 million so far and offers innovators in developing countries a pooled funding mechanism to help them take their tested projects to the next stage. Have a look below for a quick summary of How to Submit.

  • All submissions must be received by Friday, 26 February 2016.
  • Applicant should be registered in one of the 135 UNICEF programme countries (see country list here).
  • Applicant should be working on open source technology solutions or willing to be open source.
  • Applicant project generates publicly-exposed real-time data that can be/is measured

Futhermore, UNICEF is specifically looking for Innovation in three portfolio areas:

  • Products for youth under 25
  • Real-time information for decision-making
  • Infrastructure to increase access to services and information

If you answer to all these criteria, have a look at the request for expression of interest and dare to apply !


Once Foundation

ONCE Foundation, one of our partners, presented a study measuring the loss in profit in the touristic sector due to lack of accessible transport, infrastructures and services. Conducted by the British University of Surrey, the data lead to the shocking number of 142.000 million Euro loss per annum.

Creating a more inclusive society requires initial investment, in terms of transport and infrastructure. Such studies could help stakeholders to understand the huge economic benefit they could expect from such investment.

Accessibility was our main topic in 2014. We issued a thematic Zero Project Report hereon with numerous Innovative Practices and Policies leading to a more accessible and inclusive society.

For instance, and this is also related to our upcoming report on inclusive education and ICTs, we highlighted a framework agreement ONCE Foundation had signed with the Spanish Ministry of Culture & Education for improving barrier-free access to universities throughout the country.

They also developed Amóvil, an interactive online platform helping people to find compatible and accessible mobile devices.

The full article about the study from the British University of Surrey is available in Spanish on the ONCE Foundation website by following this link.

Next Steps The journey so far

One of the Zero Project Innovative Practices in 2015 was the individual support provided by the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies of Ireland. Called Next Steps Project, they were a recipient of the Zero Project Award 2015.

Lately, they published a useful and inspiring document summarizing their core activities: Next Steps – The Journey So Far.

In it, you will find very detailed case studies; methodology and insights that will help you duplicate their success story elsewhere. You will also find many life stories that show the beneficial impact of their work on persons with disabilities, on their family and on the whole community. It can be a powerful tool for advocacy and a source of inspiration for everyone.

Read it, spread it, and use it for the common good of your own community!


National disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) have an important role in the nomination process of CRPD members, and the mandate of half of them will be renewed during the 9th Conference of States Parties (COP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that will be held on 14-16 June 2016.

Our partnerthe International Disability Alliance, has prepared documents that could help you walking through the elective process and get active by identifying and advocating for qualified individuals for nomination. The documents are available, if you click this link.

The deadline for States Parties to send in their nominations has been set for 14 April 2016. Therefore, you should do research, screening, background check and proposal to your national government before this date.

We suggest you also to visit the Committee’s website dedicated to the 2016 elections.

MIUSA - mobility international USA

You may remember one of our Innovative Practices 2015 related to independent living and political participation:

The WILD training program, a well-chosen acronym for Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability. It is a three-week curriculum taking place in the west coast of United States of America (Eugene, Oregon), aiming to enhance the leadership potential of women with disabilities from all around the world.

They recently opened their application for the 8th International WILD and we strongly suggest all interested women with disabilities to apply as soon as possible. The deadline is the 1st of February. The program will take place from July 30th to August 21st, 2016.

Also, the cost are very low ($250 USD programme fee), covering plane ticket, local transport, meals and accommodation. Scholarships are available based on applicant’s demonstrated financial need.

To see other eligibility and qualifications criteria, please visit the application page at:

United Nations Logo

Exactly 11 months from now, the 13th December 2016, will be the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

In November 2015, the Third Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations declared its intention to use this very special opportunity to prepare a celebration programme with an objective of achieving universal ratification and implementation of the CRPD. You can have a look at the full resolution: A/C.3/70/L.25/Rev.1. At this occasion, Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, was urging national reforms to ensure social inclusion.

The Zero Project was created in 2009 to support, monitor and highlight solution for the implementation of the convention. You can have a look at the result of our work on this website and in our previous reports, all available for download here.

The University of Tokyo will host a seminar on the 20 and 21 February 2016, on the Implementation of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the role of Civil Society.

The Seminar will cover in details the situation of the rights of persons with disabilities in East Asia: China, Hong Kong, Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan and Japan. It will also be an opportunity to discuss practical and effective solutions.

In this regards, the Zero Project, represented by Amelie Saupe, was invited to present its most Innovative Practices and Policies. Her presentation is planned to be on the 20 February 2016, at 10:00, in the Lecture Room No. 1 (B1) of the Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.

The exact address is 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Japan 113-0033, and you can consult a map here:

You can also download the Draft Programme of East Asian Seminar on CRPD Implementation and the Civil Society.