Retrospective of the Zero Project Conference 2015
With close to 500 participants from more than 70 countries and with 35 events, workshops and panels, engaging more than 150 speakers and chairs, the fourth Zero Project Conference 2015 on Independent Living and Political Participation was truly a big success!
Once again at the United Nations Office in Vienna!
Celebrating 50 innovations from around the world…
On the first evening we kicked off with the first Zero Project Award Ceremony held at UNOV! All our 50 Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies were highlighted and received an award certificate from Martin Essl, Founder and Chairman of the Essl Foundation, and Jakob von Uexkull, Founder and Chairman of the World Future Council.
As well, on the occasion of our first Zero Project Award Ceremony, we produced especially a video clip highlighting all 50 innovations featured in the Zero Project Report 2015 on Independent Living and Political Participation. It is available at our YouTube channel, or you can click on this link!
Photos from the ceremony, and the conference in general, can be found in our website’s Download section.
Everyone could participate: Live web stream, accessibility…
Around the world, people could follow the sessions of the conference held in the Plenary Hall M01 via our captioned live web stream, provided by Verbavoice (Zero Project Innovative Practice 2014).
Besides simultaneous translation in English, German and Russian, we provided International and German Sign Language interpretation, as well as Captioning in English and German – to name a few of the excellent access features of this year’s conference!
35 events, workshops and panels …
The numerous conference sessions covered a broad range of topics concerning independent living and political participation, from supported decision-making; to community living; innovative assistive devices; the right to vote for everyone; the accessibility of voting and electoral processes; and self-empowerment, amongst others, ensuring that each participant could gain insights and satisfy his or her interests in the best possible way.
All presentations can be found in our website’s Download section.
After the welcome address by H.E. Christine Stix-Hackl and interview of Martin Essl, Jakob von Uexkull and Lourdes Marquez, the conference kicked off with the opening keynote speeches held by Ms. Daniela Bas from UN DESA; Mr. Facundo Chavez-Penillas from the OHCHR and Mr. Javed Abidi from Disabled Peoples International. Its concept notes can be found here and here.
The Personal Assistance Budget
Personal assistance, inspired by the Independent Living philosophy, is to enable individuals to customise services according to their particular needs, with maximum of control over everyday life. Read more about our Innovative Practices and Policies examples which were highlighted during this session: Sweden, Belgium, Norway and Spain. Its concept note is available here.
Service Providers & How Change Can Be Successful
One of the key issues to make de-institutionalisation happen, is that service providers need to change mentality and their way of business. This was the focus of this interactive session. Read the key outcomes and explore the presented Innovative Practices from Australia and Ireland. Its concept note can be found here.
One of the key steps to achieve more inclusion of persons with disabilities is to provide them with the necessary support to enable them to make their own decisions. This way, persons with disabilities can exercise control over decisions concerning their own lives. This support can take many forms, be it through a personal ombudsman or through a support network consisting of family, friends and experts. The concept note of the session can be found here.
Consultation: Technology and Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) – Organised by SCRPD/DSPD/UNDESA
Persons with disabilities face higher risks and are disproportionately affected by disasters and emergency situations. The objective of this consultation was to contribute to the upcoming third World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Sendai, Japan (14-18 March 2015) through bringing together contributions of leading global experts in technology, disability and development to the on-going work for a disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction framework.
“Alles Walzer” – It was Waltz season in Vienna!!
On the second night a Special Evening Event entitled “Alles Walzer” – Waltz for All was organized in cooperation with Bank Austria and Light for the World. The highlights of this evening were the different performances, like the high-level-class wheelchair dance couple Brigitte Kröll and Werner Kaiser as well as the inclusive dance company “Ich bin O.K.”. Furthermore, MoZuluArt and AMBASSADE String Quartet provided a wonderful entertainment in form of live music, an ultimate combination of classical with African music. After the welcome words from Martin BACHL from UniCredit Bank Austria, H.E. Peter LAUNSKY-TIEFFENTHAL from the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, and Franz-Joseph HUAINIGG, Member of the Austrian Parliament, an interview was conducted with Johanna MANG from Light for the World and Michael FEMBEK of the Essl Foundation.
Self-empowerment and Self-representation
Successfully advancing self-empowerment and self-representation of persons with disabilities was the subject of this session. Practices from Our New Future (Belgium), Onafhankelijk Leven vzw (Belgium), Socialstyrelsen (Denmark) and the Organization of American States were presented.
Towards Accessible Elections and Voting Processes
Electoral processes constitute the basis of democratic decision-making. Their accessibility plays a fundamental role for the inclusion of persons with disabilities and their influence on future policy-making. However, many barriers exist. That is why this session highlighted some Innovative Policies and Practices which might serve as an example, such as the ones from Inclusion Europe, Australia, Finland, New Zealand and Spain. Concept Note
UNDP’s Approach to Addressing Disability: From Normative Standards to Partnership and Programming
This session, organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), provided participants with a better insight on the disabilities approach of UNDP which address for example protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, promoting the ratification and implementation of the CRPD, enhancing access to justice for people with disabilities, and improving the position of persons with disabilities in the labour market.
Final Plenary: Zero Project 2015 & 2016 – The Way Forward
To conclude our fourth conference, the final plenary brought together recommendations from the different sessions and provided an outlook on the way forward. After intense debates, with lots of inspiring people, participants were invited to join with their reflections upon what has been presented and discussed, and to explore how they personally could help to promote one or more of the presented solutions, beyond this gathering. Participants also received a glimpse on what the Zero Project Team will be working on in the coming months.
Recognition of the Zero Project’s work
The whole Zero Project Team was nicely surprised when on the morning of the second conference day Mukthar AL-SHIBANI, President, and Betty DION, Founder and past President, of the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) honoured us with their Award of Recognition, which recognizes the project’s leadership in providing the platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices, and for facilitating the on-going global implementation of the UN CRPD. Thanks to GAATES, we will certainly do our best to keep up the good work!!Essl Foundation/APA-Fotoservice/Hörmandinger
Get your copy of the Zero Project Report 2015
The Zero Project Report 2015 can be downloaded here and our website allows for browsing its different sections: Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies as well as Social Indicators. As well, the report was printed for the occasion of our conference. A few hard copies can still be ordered at the head office in Vienna: office[at]zeroproject.org