Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments

Building plans; Conversing with ASL; Woman using wheelchair nears moving sidewalk; Children using computer at Community Centre; Person reading Braille

Welcome to the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments

GAATES is the leading international organization dedicated to the promotion of accessibility of the built and virtual environments, with an International presence and membership in six regions: the Asia-Pacific, Arab, North America, South America, European and African Regions.

If you would like more information on GAATES, the GAATES in Profile - 2013 booklet is available for download (4.2 MB).

Zero Project Conference on Accessibility

Several members of GAATES will be participating in the upcoming Zero Project Conference on Accessibility: Innovative Policies and Practices for Persons with Disabilities, 27-28 February 2014 in Vienna, Austria.

The Conference is a collaborative effort of the Essl Foundation, the World Future Council and the European Foundation Centre, who have joined forces to convene this conference to raise awareness about innovative solutions from around the world that advance accessibility for persons with disabilities. The conference seeks to strengthen the commitment of all stakeholders to promote, protect and advance the rights of persons with disabilities, and to improve their daily lives.

The Zero Project Report 2014 on Accessibility has just been released. For more information, see the Zero Project Press Release in: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese


The Arctic is currently experiencing massive transformation. The very real and immediate impacts of climate change, a rapid increase in industrial activity, and a growing influx of southern and foreign workers to previously isolated communities and regions are all contributing to an increased risk of natural and human-made disasters. Blizzards, fires, floods, power and infrastructure failures, food shortages, oil spills and epidemics, all represent real, immediate and serious threats to Northern communities. Read more about the On Thin Ice project...

GAATES Presents Survey on Accessible Transport Around The World At AEI's 15th Roundtable on Accessible Transportation.

Tom Rickert speaking at an accessible transportation event

Tom Rickert, Executive Director of Access Exchange International (AEI) and GAATES Board member, presenting to the group at the Access Exchange International (AEI) and the International Center for Accessible Transportation (ICAT) 15th annual event on accessible transportation in less-wealthy countries.

The roundtable is cosponsored by Access Exchange International (AEI) and the International Center for Accessible Transportation (ICAT). This event, with its focus on accessible transportation in less-wealthy countries, is now in its 15th year. One "first" in this series is the different perspectives provided on accessibility and inclusive design of Mexico City's Metrobús, one of the world's largest bus rapid transit systems.

Ann Frye at an accessible transportation even

Access Exchange International (AEI) and the International Center for Accessible Transportation (ICAT) 15th annual event on accessible transportation in less-wealthy countries. Sitting on the immediate right is Ann Frye, GAATES 2nd Vice President and Chair of GAATES´┐Ż Accessible Transportation Committee.

GAATES board member, Tom Rickert, AEI's Executive Director kindly invited GAATES' Accessible Transportation Committee Chair Ann Frye and GAATES' Andres Balcazar to the annual roundtable on Accessible Transportation.

Urban mobility, including a bigger emphasis on accessible transportation and pedestrian infrastructure is becoming a trend in many regions of the world. Ann Frye, GAATES 2nd Vice President and Chair of the GAATES Accessible Transportation Committee presented on the GAATES Survey On Accessible Transport Around The World. Andres Balcazar, GAATES staff, presented an overview of accessible transportation in Mexico and Janett Jimenez, GAATES Country Representative in Mexico, spoke about the use of tactile warning surface indicators and tactile signage at BRT Metrobus Line 5 in Mexico City.

Other topics covered during the meeting were accessible transportation in Hyderabad, Indonesia and Europe's Car-Adaptation Protocol Initiative (CAPI).

The GAATES survey was very well received as it highlights common barriers around the world for making public transit more accessible to persons with disabilities. GAATES is currently developing strategies for taking advantage of the survey's outcomes and assisting countries and organizations around the world remove barriers to service for public transportation users.

Survey of local transport needs reveals priorities for GAATES Members

Many thanks to all the GAATES members who took the time to complete our on-line survey late last year about your problems with local transport and your priorities for improvement.

We had over 250 responses from 39 countries and the report setting out the findings is available here. Read more...

GAATES Presents at WWW HLFS:
ICT and Media Inclusion of Women, Girls and People with Disabilities

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - October 29, 2013

WWW Hanoi

HANOI, VIETNAM: The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) presented in the Women With the Wave High-Level Forum Series: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Media Inclusion of Women and Girls and People with Disabilities, October 23-24, 2013, Hanoi.

GAATES President - Mukhtar Al Shibani and Vice President - Aqeel Qureshi, presented on Inclusive ICT, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Early Warning Systems for people with disabilities.

The Forum was organized by Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and was hosted by Vietnam Television (VTV), as part of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union General Assembly & Associated Meetings (ABU GA 50), in partnership with GAATES, ABC, AMIC, AIBD, and UNESCO.

Mass media has an important role in promoting inclusion of people with disabilities by demonstrating broadcasting that can utilized by people with disabilities, specifically closed captioning for people who are deaf and audio description for people who are blind said Mukhtar Al Shibani, President, GAATES.

See caption.

Mukhtar Al Shibani, presented on Disaster Prepardness and Involvement for Persons with DIsabilities through Media and ICT

See caption.

(Back row from left to right) Chrissie Tucker, ABC; Hoang Minh Nguget, UNESCO; Natalia Ilieva, ABU; Susan Schorr, ITU; Aurora Rubio, ITU.
(Front row from left to right) Aqeel Qureshi, VP GAATES; Mukhtar AlShibani, President, GAATES

See caption.

Aqeel Qureshi, presented on Incusive ICT and Early Warning Systems

It is necessary to ensure that early warning systems and disaster risk reduction programs are accessible for persons with disabilities and meet universal design principles and UNCRPD, including provisions for access to alternative communication systems, said Aqeel Qureshi, Vice President, GAATES.

The two-day forum concluded with the adoption of a "Hanoi Declaration", creating a platform for cultivating networks, partnerships, policies, and funding supporting women and persons with disabilities working in ICT, inclusive DRR and Media.

Public Service Announcement To Celebrate
The UN International Day of Disaster Reduction

13 October - International Day for Disaster Reduction 2013

Theme: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDR) 2013: Living with Disability and Disasters

IDDR 2013

October 13 each year marks the United Nation International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction , to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their exposure risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of disability inclusive DRR. It is an opportunity to raise awareness on how everyone, as individuals and as part of the greater community, can take action to reduce their risk to disasters, and how disaster reduction agencies can ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities. IDDR 2013 focuses on persons with disabilities, and the need for Disability Inclusive DRR plans that include the needs of this community of persons.

GAATES along with partner organizations, the Asia Broadcast Union (ABU) and the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) are preparing a series of public service announcements, emergency preparedness videos and planning a webinar on Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR).

GAATES' Objective:

  • To promote Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for persons with disabilities and to increase their safety.
  • Create awareness to stimulate interest and awareness at the grass roots, national and international level:
    1. Educate and inform persons with disabilities about DRR and encourage them to advocate governments and broadcasters at the local and national level.
    2. Advocate for the Inclusion of persons with disabilities in DRR at the local, national and International level.
    3. Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and participate in the development of Post-2015 Disability and Development Strategies
  • Increase involvement of persons with disabilities in DRR activities locally and nationally.
  • Getting the disaster risk reduction agencies, nationally, provincially and locally (IE: Public Safety Canada (PSC), Canadian Red Cross, Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), local Offices of Emergency Management, etc.)
    • To be more aware of the needs and issues related to Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) and
    • To involve persons with disabilities in the review of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and publications.
  • Strengthen networks: governments, Disabled People Organizations (DPO's), civil society organizations (Red Cross), persons with disabilities and the broadcasters, to enhance commitment and support for vulnerable persons including persons with disabilities inputs to DRR.

Check out GAATES' videos on YouTube

Last updated: February 10, 2014

Translate this page

Feature Article

Survey of local transport needs reveals priorities for GAATES Members

Featured Sites

Global Accessibility News

Accessible Information and Communication: A Guide for Small Business

GAATES information

Welcome: Arabic (PDF)

Welcome: French (Microsoft Word)

Welcome: Spanish (Microsoft Word)

Welcome: Chinese (PDF)

Welcome: Serbian (Microsoft Word)

GAATES Administrator Login