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UN research recognizes Philippine web accessibility initiatives

UN research recognizes Philippine web accessibility initiatives

December 6, 2012 5:34 am6 comments
Screenshot of G3ICT Website
Screenshot of G3ICT Website

The United Nations through the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communications Technology (G3ICT) recognized the Philippine initiative as one of their identified best practices as highlighted in their White Paper research called “Web Accessibility Policy Making: An International Perspective,” (Revised Edition 2012).

The paper was researched and edited by Nirmita Narasimhan of Centre for Internet & Society, India, in collaboration with accessibility and disability policy experts from around the world. The paper seeks to identify some of the initiatives and best practices which have been adopted by 14 countries and the European Union as a first step towards policy formulation for countries.

The paper highlighted the activities and initiatives made by PWAG. Here are excerpts included in their research:

The Philippines is making progress towards developing a policy and enacting legislation for web accessibility. The Philippine Web Accessibility Group (PWAG)40 is tasked with overseeing and implementing relevant programs on accessible ICT. PWAG together with concerned government agencies has begun formulating an official set of Philippine Web Accessibility Design Recommendations based on a distinctly Philippine web accessibility regime rather than adopting the WCAG. The PWAG aims to develop standards that it feels are calibrated to the country’s needs and capabilities. The Philippines has signed and ratified the UNCRPD but not signed the Optional Protocol.

The Philippine Web Accessibility Group (PWAG):

Originally founded as a government-affiliated ad hoc working group in 2006, the Philippine Web Accessibility Group (PWAG) is now formalized and government-supervised through the Department of Social Welfare and Development-National Council on Disability Affairs (DSWD-NCDA) and the National Computer Center-Commission on Information and Communications Technology (NCC-CICT). The PWAG is now tasked with overseeing and implementing relevant programs on accessible ICT in the Philippines. It fosters dialogue among activists, web designers, academics, the government and other relevant actors in the field; evaluates websites for accessibility; and together with concerned government agencies (NCDA and NCC-CICT) has begun formulating an official set of Philippine Web Accessibility Design Recommendations. Accessibility in the Philippines context has to be viewed in light of the fact that the dominant ICTs used are cell phones and short-message systems (SMS). Only a small fraction of the population is using computers, and almost nobody uses or can afford screen readers. The Philippines standards are being formulated based on this situation, and given the high cost of website remediation, the PWAG recommends adopting accessible designs primarily in conjunction with website design, redesign, or update.

The United Nations Economic and Social Affairs is actively campaigning for the promotion of web accessibility especially all the UN websites. It has also released a Global Audit on Web Accessibility this 2012 through NOMENSA. The Philippines is also among those that are included in the survey. You may also view the complete white paper here.

You may download the complete Web Accessibility Policy Making: An International Perspective (Revised Edition 2012) white paper jointly researched by G3ict, The Centre for Internet & Society and The Hans Foundation in this link in PDF format.

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