UN-DESA Sustainable Development GOALS 2030

Two weeks ago we suggested you to subscribe to the excellent newsletters of some of our partners. As well, the United Nations have very good newsletters, have a look for instance at the recent one of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN – DESA) and of the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN – Enable).

For instance, you can find out how disability is included in the 2030 UN agenda on sustainable development in a very comprehensive infographic. The fourth Sustainable Development Goal is actually about guaranteeing equal and accessible education by building inclusive learning environments and providing the needed assistance for persons with disabilities.

Inclusive education and the crucial role that ICTs can play are also the topics of our forthcoming report and conference at the United Nations Office in Vienna – both highly effective ways to reduce inequalities and to advance inclusion.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency that is one of our partners, is actually one of the leaders on accessible and inclusive ICTs. Have a look at this video to get an overview of their work.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ApMGFIuwyo&w=853&h=480]

It will explain also to you what is the World Summit on the Information Society, whose outcomes will be reviewed by the United Nations General Assembly in New York tomorrow. Even though the agenda is now driven by the fear of terrorists using ICTs for attacks, they might also talk about ICTs and disability since it is a core objective of their declaration of principles.

ICTs contribute also to monitoring treaties, which is an important task for civil society that we invite you to be part of by answering our questionnaire on the mapping of the UN CRPD. There are only one days left, please give us your feedback before tomorrow evening (15th December 2015).


UN Logo_humanrights

Our questionnaire countdown



The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) – the United Nations body responsible for monitoring and implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) – is currently preparing a draft General Comment on inclusive education (Article 24 of the UN CRPD).

It invites all experts to share their comments, which must be no longer than 5 pages, and in English, Spanish or French. Send them to jaraya@ohchr.org, indicating in the subject “Draft general comment on art. 24 UN CRPD”.

The deadline is 5th January 2016.

Have also a look at the original communication of the CRPD Committee on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

And, very importantly, don’t forget to answer our questionnaire, and help us understand the situation of inclusive education (among others indicators) worldwide.

Indicator annual call

Our questionnaire countdwon



“Civil society is at the core of human rights, at the core of our work,” said H.E. Joachim Rücker, President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, 2015.

This year civil society organisations and the United Nations celebrated 70 years of working together. During an event in Geneva on 22 June 2015, a panel composed of UN, States and NGOs representatives discussed past results and way forward.

Following the acceptance speech of the President of the Human Rights Council, all agreed that, while many treaties have been passed, their implementation has been often limited. The United Nations system has both structural and political limitations, and a way to address its lack of effectiveness could be by strengthening the monitoring role of civil society. If changes can’t come from the top due to conflictual political interests and historical struggles, they can come from the peoples, due to a sense of connection with the other and shared human thirst for dignity and liberty.

Based on this reasoning and on the will to transform words into actions, the Zero Project team asks you every year to help with mapping the implementation of the UN CRPD, indicator by indicator.

By answering our questionnaire, you will contribute to:
– Inform stakeholders on what can be learned from neighbouring countries, and immediately presenting them a database of working practical and political solutions;
– Provide strong facts and data for both international and national advocacy campaigns;
– Strengthen the UN system: Even with flaws, over the years a sort of international constitutional law based on human rights has been constructed, including on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Newsletter of our partners

We strongly recommend you to follow the newsletter of our partners Inclusion International, the European Network for Independent Living (ENIL) and the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES).

These three organisations are doing a very good journalistic work, by keeping the community informed on the most important developments in the field of disability rights.

Here you can find the most recent newsletter of Inclusion International:


By following this link you will find the latest newsletter of ENIL:


And lastly you can click here to subscribe the GAATES newsletter:


Logo 3 December International disability day

A global accessibility initiative – #MapMyDay – is using the 3 December to make online map accessible for wheelchair users. We featured this innovative website wheelmap.org in our 2014 report on accessibility. We invite you to join the movement, and give them your feedback on the streets you are going by.

Article 9 of the UN CRPD lists states’ obligations related to accessibility, and to monitor the progress made, we also invite you to enter your comments on a map by answering our annual questionnaire on UN CRPD Implementation. The deadline was extended until 15  December, in order to cover even more countries than last year. Questions are available in French, English, German and Spanish.

Also, in Geneva, a group of international organizations are hosting together a series of activities to acknowledge the achievements and contributions of persons with disabilities and to reaffirm our commitment to recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities.

These activities will include:

3.30pm: Unveiling of an artistic intervention to the ‘broken chair’ monument, at the Place des Nations.

5.00pm: Roundtable with Spanish actor and writer Pablo Pineda in Room XX at the Palais des Nations. Mr. Pineda is the first European with Down syndrome to obtain university degrees.

6.00pm: Reception and evening event, showcasing the talents of persons with disabilities at the Serpentine Room at Palais des Nations.

To know more about activities in New York, visit the dedicated CRPD Secretariat website.

Indicator annual call

Dear reader, today, we ask you to beat a record.

This year was exceptional in terms of your contribution to the Zero Project. For our forthcoming report and conference on Inclusive Education and ICT, we received 337 nominations. The quality of this collection of practices and policies, and the numbers of countries concerned (98), were unprecedented.

However, we want to do even more before the end of the year, and beat another record: the one established concerning the mapping of the UN CRPD implementation. At the end of 2014, more than 150 countries were covered by experts, DPOs representative and individuals like you, giving us the most up-to-date map displaying the implementation of the CRPD articles worldwide.

To keep this map relevant, and to cover even more countries, we need your opinion once again. We kindly ask you to fill our questionnaire online, it takes only few minutes. For that purpose, we extended the call up to the 15th December.

And have a look at last year’s map related to our question on Article 24 of the UN CRPD – Education:

map with indicators

The question was: Does a person with disability have the right to receive free and compulsory primary education within the mainstream educational system?

By clicking on a country, you get the comments and the reasoning justifying the sign (green = yes, red = no, yellow = yes with qualification, gray = n/a)

Click on the map to read the comments to the indicator, and don’t forget to take a moment to answer our questionnaire online!

The Zero Project team invites leading experts and organizations worldwide to contribute to our Indicator Research on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).


Your contribution is very important to map the implementation of the UN CRPD in comparison with all other countries. Filling in the questionnaire will only take few minutes of your time! Please find all the instructions by clicking the link above.

We kindly ask you to complete the questionnaire by 30 November 2015.

For more information on the background of the questionnaire and the Zero Project, please check our website zeroproject.org or contact directly Mrs Amelie Saupe (a.saupe@zeroproject.org).

European Disability Forum

“In times of crisis – economic, migration, human rights crisis – nobody should be left or forgotten behind”, stated EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis (Brussels, 29th of December).

Just like the Zero Project, the European Disability Forum (EDF) is engaging for policies improving the rights and life of persons with disabilities. Three weeks ago, EDF met with the European Commission in order to talk about the concluding observations from the United Nations to the European Union on the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen declared that the rights of persons with disabilities are included in the European Commission agenda, in particular on employment and education, fight against poverty and accessibility.

Two actions gave weight to her declaration:

– A new European Accessibility Act will be discussed on the December 2nd, with a possible publication for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3rd December).

– The Commission could suspend European funds in case Member States do not respect the conditions agreed in the regulations.

The Zero Project did a lot of work on accessibility in 2014, check out our report or browse our policies and practices . And don’t forget to visit EDF website and their original press release.

Childhood Studies - Call4Papaer

As you know the Zero Project theme this year is inclusive education and ICT. Our annual conference will take place from 10 to 12 February 2016, and will highlight good practices and policies from all over the world.

One way to build upon this momentum is to make academic contribution in the field of education and disability. Therefore, we encourage you to answer the call for paper sent by the Finnish Society for Childhood Studies and the Child and Youth Research Institute.

Together, they organise the seventh international conference on childhood studies (6th- 8th June 2016) in the University of Turku, Finland. The theme of the conference is Childhood in Everyday Life, and they welcome papers and proposal from all kind of topic, including disability (n°15).

Deadline for submission of abstracts is 31st January 2016.

For more information and detailed guidelines, please see http://www.childhood2016.fi/

UN-Habitat: Housing for Persons with Disabilities living in Cities_Book_Cover

UN-Habitat just published a new study on the right to adequate housing for persons with disabilities, written by Michael Szporluk, Anirban Pal and Meritt Buyer. It provides an analysis of the lack of political will to implement recommendations, contains many solutions and pleads for better data and understanding of this crucial issue. The publication is available online at UN-Habitat website!

Check out also our blogpost about the three-day UN Forum in Nairobi (Kenya) on disability inclusion and accessible urban development that was is organized in close collaboration with UN-Habitat and where the Zero Project recently presented its work.