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).
Cynthia Waddell was a member of the founding group responsible for the establishment of the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES). As a member of the Executive, Cynthia provided carefully considered advice based on her experience with the law and policy development, and expertise in the field of accessible information and communications technologies. She was a bright star and all who met her remember her passion for change and improving the lives of persons with disabilities.
Cynthia had a long and stellar International career. As the Executive Director of the International Centre for Disability Resources on the Internet (ICDRI), Cynthia was responsible for leading the fight in applying the ADA to the internet, the promotion of accessible procurement, and policy development related to the growing digital divide in access for people with disabilities. Cynthia was internationally respected for her work with the law, policy development, and technology accessibility expert for persons with disabilities, as well as the UN CRPD, Section 508 and the W3C. The GAATES family will miss her greatly.
The final project that Cynthia undertook on behalf of GAATES is now publically available. The UNESCO Global Report Opening New Avenues for Empowerment: ICTs to Access Information and Knowledge for Persons with Disabilities. This Report builds on five regional reports commissioned by UNESCO to look at the use of ICTs to access information and knowledge by people with disabilities (PWD).
Cynthia's family is holding a memorial service for her on Saturday, April 20, 2013, 3:00 P.M., at the John Knox Presbyterian Church, 7421 Amarillo Road, Dublin, California.
If you would like to make a donation to the GAATES Scholarship Fund in memory of Cynthia, please contact GAATES Past President Betty Dion
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada(March 4, 2013)
GAATES is pleased to welcome Mr. Andres Balcazar as the new GAATES Communications and Project Coordinator.
Andres has a Bachelor of Architecture from Mexico's National Autonomous University (Mexico City). He previously worked for Mexico's National Council for Persons with Disabilities and as an accessibility consultant. In addition, is he a Professor of the undergraduate course "Universal Design in Public Spaces," in the Faculty of Architecture's Department of City Planning, at Mexico's National Autonomous University, Faculty of Architecture.
He was a contributor to the International Best Practices in Universal Design : A Global Review, and has completed Accessibility Assessment and Recommendations for the Mexican Congress facilities, and for other private and governmental institutions, including more than then national health institutes.
Andres will be responsible for maintaining GAATES' social media profiles on Twitter and Facebook, for developing and updating the GAATES website content and the exploration and development of project opportunities in Central and Latin America.
In addition, Andres will be working with GAATES President Mukhtar AlShibani and Executive Officer Marnie Peters on GAATES' on-going project and program operational requirements.
If you have news or announcements you would like to see on the GAATES social media feeds or our website, you can reach Andres directly via email or via Skype at andresbalcazar
GAATES Executive Officer
Following the successful Saudi International Conference for Universal Design (SICUD-2012) held in Riyadh, KSA in December 2012, GAATES participants who delivered presentations on assistive and universally designed technologies were invited back to present at the 1st International Conference on Technology for Helping People with Special Needs (ICTHP-2013). Additional GAATES participants who are experts in assistive and accessible technologies have also been invited to the ICTHP.
ICTHP-2013 is being organized and hosted by Al-Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the patronage of the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.
While SICUD-2012 topics included accessibility and Universal Design of the built environment, transportation and ICT, the ICTHP-2013 conference will concentrate on the promise of technology in removing barriers facing people with disabilities, especially in the fields of education, employment, independence, communication and entertainment.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is moving decisively to make its public facilities and holy places accessible. GAATES is pleased to be able to offer its expertise to help the Kingdom achieve that goal.
Announced speakers representing GAATES:
For more information on the GAATES speakers and their presentations, visit the ICTHP-2013 Invited Talks page.
The European Network on Accessible Tourism (ENAT) has launched an international Questionnaire Survey on the information needs of travellers with disabilities.
The survey results will contribute to the
STEEP initiative - a new
Social Tourism Eiuropean Exchanges Platform . STEEP is partly-funded by the European Union to make an online system enabling eligible customers, including people with disabilities, to take holidays across Europe with financial or other support. Owners of hotels, holiday villages, campsites and other holiday accommodation will be invited to offer their services via the STEEP service. Those who can offer accessible accommodation and services will obviously be preferred by disabled visitors and their companions. You can read more about the STEEP initiative and partners at the ENAT Projects page.
Several members of our GAATES "Family" have recently been in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where GAATES Board members and Country Representatives recently participated in the 1st Saudi Forum on Universal Design. The concepts of Universal Design and Accessibility are relatively new concepts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the goal of the forum was to share information and best practices from around the world with the Saudi Association of Architects and the Saudi Association of Engineers.
From 8-11 December 2012, GAATES members delivered presentations on a wide variety of subjects related to Universal Design and Accessibility of; the built environment, transportation and information and communication technologies (ICTs). The presentations provided information of what is happening in both developed countries, and countries in transition. These presentations will be available from the Papers, Reports and Presentations page, as soon as the accessible PDF's are available.
The 1st Saudi Forum on UD also presented GAATES with the unique opportunity of having nearly all of the GAATES "Family", of Board Members and Country Representatives together in the same place. This "once in a lifetime" meeting presented an opportunity for some of the extraordinary people that make up GAATES, to share their experiences and ideas for projects moving forward.
GAATES is pleased to say that we have received a total of 31 applications from 21 Countries - from individuals seeking to become Country Representatives. GAATES now has 17 Country Representatives, representing 4 major global regions from around the world; Africa, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Arab Region. If you are interested in becoming a country representative, please use our application form. Applications are being accepted until April 30, 2013.
In preparation for the upcoming High Level Meeting on Disability and Development, the first consultation with civil society organizations took place on December 10, 2012 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ms. Akiko Ito (UN DESA) addressed the meeting that was attended by persons with disabilities and others from Saudi Arabia, Canada, Portugal, Brazil, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Japan, Nepal, and Ethiopia. The meeting served as a model for future UN-DESA consultations. Read more... (MS Word document - 109KB
In addition to GAATES' participation in the 1st Saudi Forum on UD, our organization held our Annual General Meeting, providing the opportunity to review the past year's activities, projects and achievements. If you would like to receive the Minutes of the AGM, please contact the office at email@example.com
GAATES continues to expand our reach, partnerships and project involvement. For more information on GAATES, please visit our website www.GAATES.org, "Follow us" on Twitter, "Like us" on Facebook or subscribe to GAN our weekly electronic newsletter.
Below are links to a television interviews that were given by President Mukhtar AlShibani, Board Member Amanda Gibberd and Executive Officer Marnie Peters:
Unfortunately, these videos are not captioned, and viewing the videos requires completing the free registration on the sharing site 4Shared to download the files.
The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) is pleased to announce our new Country Representatives.
The GAATES Country Representatives will be working to support the GAATES mission of promoting accessibility of the built, social and virtual environments, so that people with disabilities and older persons are able to fully participate and contribute to society.
From the Asia-Pacific Region, GAATES is pleased to welcome Ms. Anjlee Agarwal (India), and from the European Region, we welcome Ms. Elena Kuvichko (Republic of Abkhazia)
The Country Representatives will be supporting GAATES activities by providing the board with information on activities in their country, working with the board on project ideas and proposals, and by hosting a conference or workshop in their country.
We congratulate these successful candidates and look forward to working with them as an integral part of the GAATES organization.
For more information, visit our GAATES Regions page.
GAATES President, Mr. Mukhtar Al Shibani has invited Mr. Ivor Ambrose, International Consultant, to chair a new GAATES Committee on Accessible Tourism.
The purpose of this Committee is to engage GAATES members more widely in the study and development of Accessible Tourism.
October is upon us, and I am taking this opportunity to say - I hope you all had a wonderful summer, (or winter, depending where you are). For more information on recent GAATES activities, please see the Feature Article for the full President's Report. Kind Regards, Mr. Mukhtar AlShibani - GAATES President.
Addressing Inequalitiesin the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Aiming to ensure a broad span and diversity of voices in conversations on the shape and content of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) is convening a series of country and global thematic consultations. There will be 50-100 national consultations and eleven global thematic consultations on topics which have been identified as being of critical importance to the discussions on the
world we want, both now and beyond 2015.
With many thanks to Tom Rickert at Access Exchange International, GAATES is pleased to post Paratransit for mobility impaired persons in developing regions: Starting up and scaling up. This is a result-oriented, practical guide about addressing the needs of persons with disabilities and others for paratransit service when accessible
fixed-route bus or rail service is not available or, if available, cannot be used by persons who need more specialized transportation.
This guide is written for city officials, transit operators, entrepreneurs, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social service agencies, and others who may wish to start up or expand door-to-door paratransit services to help mobility-impaired persons to get to where they need to go. It is not aimed at countries which already have such services and have the resources and money to support and pay for them, although many of our findings will be relevant to them. Rather, this guide provides information and guidance for cities and towns and villages in less-wealthy regions faced with many barriers to such transportation. These barriers are so great that many cities, to say nothing of the countryside beyond these cities, have not begun to address the task of providing paratransit for those who most need it.Please feel free to download the document from the GAATES International Best Practices in Accessible Transportation page or directly from Access Exchange International .
Last updated: January 17, 2013