Innovative Policy 2018 on Accessibility

Standards for physical accessibility

Physical accessibility standards in Paraguay were significantly improved with the passage of seven new laws and decrees between 2009 and 2015. The Education Ministry, the National Standardization Institute, and the National University’s School of Architecture jointly defined standards for physical accessibility; and with additional guidance and support from the Saraki Foundation and the US Agency for International Development, legislative and regulatory reforms, communication campaigns, and training were initiated to raise awareness on the elimination of accessibility barriers and to promote accessibility in civic participation, education, and the labour market.

About the policy at a glance
Laws and regulations involved:
  • Law 3.585/08, Law 4.720/12, Decree 10.514/13, Law 4.934/13, Law 4.962/13, Law 5.136/13, Decree 5.507/16
  • National Disability Plan 2015 – 2030
  • National Disability Secretariat
  • The National Disability Council
  • Responsible Body:Saraki Foundation & USAID
    of Implementation


    • To date, 115 companies implemented physical accessibility reforms.
    • In addition to the 250 accessible buses in the capital, 240 are in operation throughout the country.


    There is a lack of physical accessibility in private and public buildings, sidewalks, public transportation, schools, and polling stations in Paraguay. Additionally, there are attitudinal barriers to inclusion, such as the lack of awareness as to the rights of people with disabilities and the lack of employment opportunities.


    Under the guidance of the Saraki Foundation – a private foundation dedicated to implementing the rights of persons with disabilities – and with the financial support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Paraguay passed seven laws and decrees in support of persons with disabilities between 2009 and 2015. Law 4.934/13, for example, mandates that all public and private space must have adequate infrastructure so that people with disabilities may access them. This led to training courses for more than 600 bus conductors and incentivised the adaption of 250 public buses in the capital Asuncion by installing hydraulic lifts for wheelchair users. The access to existing public buildings remains a challenge, but the new accessibility norms are implemented in new public administration buildings. The private sector is incentivised to make their buildings accessible by fiscal benefits rather than obligations which are more difficult to administer.A man using a wheelchair accessing the rear of a bus using a hydraulic lift
    In addition to USAID, the project was funded and is being jointly implemented by a diverse array of stakeholders, including national and local governments, the private sector, and the School of Architecture. An important innovation was the “Works that Do Not Exist” campaign, which consisted of hosting public events to “launch” non-existent accessibility features, such as accessible doors, lifts, bathrooms, and sidewalk ramps, to highlight the absolute lack of accessibility.
    Moreover, an inclusive modelling agency named “IN” was created to include models with disabilities in the Asuncion Fashion Week, thus breaking down barriers in the fashion industry.


    The core project is funded by USAID, through a grant to the Saraki Foundation, whereas the Government of Paraguay and the private sector finance the specific accessibility measures. The government also funds accessibility reforms in public schools/buildings and polling stations. Private schools and companies fund their own accessibility measures, as mandated by the law.
    Saraki believes that some of the activities can be replicated through regional networks like the Latin-American Regional Inclusive Education Network.


    Raúl Montiel
    Executive Director
    Saraki Foundation


    Download factsheet as accessible pdf


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