Here is good news to start the New Year for many of our partners and awardees of Innovative Practices and Policies:

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has made 6 million dollars available for programme inclusive of person with disabilities.

It concerns field missions only, and organizations must apply directly through their local USAID missions. Applications sent to USAID/Washington will not be considered. The fund will be giving to the local USAID mission, however participation is optional and therefore interested organizations should contact their local mission prior to submitting applications to verify their participation.
The deadline for missions to submit their concept papers to USAID/Washington is February 26, 2016, which means that you have to be in touch with the local missions quite some time before that. Missions will establish their own internal deadline to receive applications. Prospective applicants must check with their local USAID mission to verify additional deadlines and plan accordingly.

Mission contact information can be found at:

Contact them quickly, and good luck!

Zeroproject Review 2015

The Zero Project team wish you all a Happy New Year and seize this opportunity to present you an overview of our work during the past year.

First of all, thanks to your generous contribution, we had received at the end of July 337 nominations on inclusive education and ICT from 98 countries. The success of this call was due to a large diffusion by our partners. A careful selection process followed, and about 100 of the Innovative Practices and Policies were picked to be part of our report. Its publication is expected in February. Also thanks to you, we kept updated our map with indicators on the implementation of the UN CRPD.

Throughout the year, the Zero Project was invited to present the results of its work in different fora and conferences all around the world:

In February we had our fourth and very successful Zero Project Conference in Vienna.

In March, we presented our 2015 report in front a high-level public of ambassadors, permanent mission and UN staff, as well as other NGOs, during the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

Mid-April, we organized an informal consultation with the CRPD Committee in Geneva.

Also in April, the Zero Project organized two conferences and published a report specific to Austria.

In June, four events featured the Zero Project at the 8th session of the CoSP to the UN CRPD in New York. By the way, you can also check out our download section for all our reports and press releases.

Also in June, Maths Jesperson presented the Zero Project Innovative Policy “Personal Ombudsmen System” at a conference organized by the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

In August, Michael Fembek presented a selection of successful practices on inclusive education during the 14th session of the CRPD Committee, in Geneva.

In October, the Zero Project attended the annual EASPD conference in Vienna.

At the end of October, we went to the UN DESA conference in Nairobi.

We also expended our partnerships, with international organisation like UNICEF as well as Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and Disabled People’s Organisation (DPOs). Our previous report was also covered in the European Yearbook of Disability Law.

Many of our awardees from the 2015 report on independent living and political participation got mediatic and institutional attention. You can have a glimpse of the success stories of organisations from JamaicaSingaporeIndiaJapan, and many other countries on our website.

Design4all Logo

Today we would like to suggest you a good opportunity to promote your innovative practices.

This initiative comes from Design for All, a non-profit organisation promoting research, knowledge development, promotion and application of design solution for an inclusive society.

They opened a call for nomination for the International Awards Design for All Foundation 2016, and the last day to compete will also be the last day of the year: 31/12/2015. So you still have 8 days.

To check if your product, service or project can be selected just click here.

It the result is positive, you can candidate by filling this form and you might receive the “Design for All Good Practice” label soon.

All Good Practices 2015 will be displayed in Paris at the URBACCESS fair in March 22nd and 23rd and the 5 best ones will receive the trophy during the Awards Ceremony.

European Commission Logo

Two days ago we told you about the international initiatives to include the rights of persons with disabilities into the universal sustainable development goals. The implementation of these initiatives is highly dependent on a strong political will, including at the regional level. Recently the European Union demonstrated such will.

As you can see on this video, on the 2nd December, the European Commission finally proposed the European Accessibility Act.

As a result, the most important products and services (from telephony to transport) will now have to be accessible from the start. This act will be especially useful for small businesses to take advantage of an EU market with one single set of requirements related accessibility, and will help to spread many of the small projects that we featured in our best practices during the past 4 years. And it will also stimulate innovation since requirements for accessibility will be a prerequisite to get EU funds.

And here are more examples of practices that could benefit from this EU regulation:

– The building of disability-smart business, by our partner the Business Disability Forum, will certainly be facilitated.

– More services like website for job research (see our 2013 report on employment), transport and accommodation (Railway or  buses, hotel see our 2014 report on accessibility) or even bank services will be  will surely be made more universal.

– Cultural services, like museum, will also be re-designed for all.

– Company will be encouraged to develop more accessible mobile Devices and online tools, such as the interactive city map for wheelchair user we reminded you about for the international day of person with disabilities.

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.


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, 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 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!