Ar C.J. Walsh – Consultant Architect, Fire Engineer & Technical Controller – International Expert on Sustainability Implementation + Accessibility-for-All + Fire Safety for All + Sustainable Fire Engineering
2019-04-08: A much needed ‘quickie’ for these worrisome times … a reminder for spineless politicians and an introduction for mindless citizens !
This is the United Nations …
And these are Articles 13, 14 and 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights … a fundamental constitutive document of the United Nations … which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly, on 10 December 1948:
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his/her own, and to return to his/her country.
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Everyone has the right to a nationality.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his/her nationality, nor denied the right to change his/her nationality.
2014-04-21: Notwithstanding the, by now, well-established existence of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility & Usability of the Built Environment’, a host of other national accessibility standards, and a plethora of accessibility design guidance materials … not every ‘real’ site, or building, or built environment, situation is covered. It would be physically impossible.
Unless it is fixed in your mind … or, more importantly, in the ‘group-thinking’ of an organization … that Accessibility-for-All should be, for example, both independent (i.e. it is not necessary for a person to have an assistant) and inclusive (i.e. friends can do things together and no special deal is made about accessibility for one person) … it can be very difficult to emerge from beneath the weight of those documents referred to above … and to apply important disability-related principles flexibly and adaptively in the real world.
At a recent meeting with some teachers in an Irish school (which shall remain nameless) … I advised that a very good and positive start can be made by discussing together and agreeing on a Disability Policy Statement, which will help to guide future actions. More steps are required, of course, but those will come later.
Model Disability Policy Statement for Educational Establishments
Insofar as it relates to the educational activities of
Name of School/College/University/Institute
and its relationships in the wider local community …
We recognise and respect the rights of people with activity limitations:
to lead a fulfilling life – autonomously, independently, and with dignity ;
to integrate into the civil, political, economic, social, cultural and educational mainstream ; and
to participate in the general life of the wider local community on a basis of equal opportunity with everyone else.
Good Education is an Important Key to Social Inclusion
In order to ensure your autonomy and independence, your civil, political, economic, social, cultural and educational integration, and your active participation in the general life of the wider local community – the principle of equal opportunity shall not prevent the adoption or maintenance of services, systems and policies providing for your support or assistance within this establishment.
[ Discussed and Agreed by the School/College/University/Institute Management Board on …… ]
2013-05-23: The U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, announced the launch of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) on 9 August 2012.
UN SDSN is structured around 12 Thematic Groups of scientific and technical experts – from academia, civil society, and the private sector – who work in support ofSustainable Development Problem Solving at local, national, and global scales … and to identify and highlight best practices. They also provide technical support to the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The world has changed profoundly since the year 2000, when the UN Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) were adopted by the United Nations. Four critical shifts make the coming fifteen-year period, 2015-2030, different from the MDG period, 2000-2015: (i) a drastically higher human impact on the physical Earth; (ii) rapid technological change; (iii) increasing inequality; and (iv) a growing diffusion and complexity of governance.
These problems will expand, dangerously beyond our control, without an urgent and radical transformation in how we organize society. The world now needs an operational Sustainable Development Framework which can mobilize all key actors (national & local governments, civil society, business, science and academia) in every country to move away from the Business-as-Usual (BaU) Trajectory towards a Sustainable Development (SD) Path. This Framework and the SDG’s identify the main objectives and strategies needed to transform from BaU to SD.
The purpose of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) is to help translate global aspirations into practical actions. In this regard, SDSN has subscribed to the ‘Rio+20’ Agreement that the SDG’s should be ‘action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development, and respecting national policies and priorities’.
SDI’s Comments on the Draft ‘Action Agenda for Sustainable Development & Sustainable Development Goals’ …
[ Submitted by e-mail, yesterday (2013-05-22), to the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network.]
1.The problems with this Draft Document, dated 7 May 2013, are fundamental and profound. Our Organization will be happy to assist the Network (SDSN) in improving the text.
2. At this time, however, we would like to bring to your attention some urgent overarching issues:
Amend the Title … refer directly to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). See above.
As drafted, the text does not show that … or explain how … there is a robust Interdependence between the different Sustainable Development Goals.
Indeed, the scale and immediacy of the Sustainable Development Challenges are unprecedented. The Network (SDSN) must now, therefore, take the brave and difficult step of placing the Sustainable Development Goals in order of priority. Do not allow yourselves to be shackled by the approach taken in the earlier Millennium Development Goals !
In this Document, All of the texts dealing with ‘Governance’ are ambiguous, weak and embarrassingly inadequate. References to the Institutional, Political, Legal and Judicial Aspects of ‘Governance’ are both necessary, and required.
The word ‘access’ is used very often and very generally in the Document. BUT … in order for People with Activity Limitations (2001 WHO ICF) to ‘access’ facilities and services in the Built (including Virtual), Social and Economic Environments, and to be included and participate fully in their local communities … it is an ESSENTIAL prerequisite that those Environments are effectively ACCESSIBLE-FOR-ALL ! This concept is not mentioned once in the Document … a very serious omission.
Updates: 2013-06-07 & 2013-07-22 …
The SDSN Final Report is Fundamentally and Profoundly INADEQUATE !
Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (1.91 MB)
” Twenty years ago this June, the World Conference on Human Rights convened at Vienna to forge a new vision for our world, one founded on a recognition of the fundamental interdependence between democracy, development and human rights. In the tail of a blood-stained and deprived century, the whispered call was for dignity, equality, justice, rights. And what began as a murmur in Vienna grew in volume and force with each global conference: Copenhagen and Beijing in 1995, Durban in 2001, New York in 2005 and again in 2010, and Rio in 2012. In recent years, the murmur has become a roar, echoing across societies on all continents, from victims denied redress, older persons denied respect, youth denied hope, and activists demanding a better way. From this call, we have learned much about the imperatives of sustainable development. There will be no development without equality, no progress without freedom, no peace without justice, no sustainability without human rights.”
“All that is required is the political will to move beyond the failed approaches of the past, to chart a fresh course, and to embrace a new paradigm of development built on the foundation of human rights, equality and sustainability.”
1.The Post-2015 Agenda must be built on a human rights-based approach, in both process and substance.
2.The new agenda must address both sides of the development challenge – that is freedom from both fear and want.
3.The imperative of equality must underpin the entire framework.
4.Marginalized, disempowered and excluded groups, previously locked out of development, must have a place in the new agenda.
5.We must commit to ending poverty.
6.The new framework must advance a healthy environment, as an underlying determinant of internationally guaranteed human rights.
7.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to an international order in which human rights can be fully realized. Similarly, the UN Declaration on the Right to Development mandates international reform to ensure human rights-based policy coherence at the international level. In the wake of the global financial, food, climate and energy crises, and in the context of growing disparities and historic governance failures at all levels, the credibility and effectiveness of the Post-2015 Agenda will therefore depend also on the degree to which it addresses this pressing need for human rights-based reforms at international level.
8.The Post-2015 Agenda should be universally applicable.
9.The Post-2015 Agenda must include a strong accountability framework.
10.In the wake of the devastating global financial crisis, and revelations of abusive business practices in all regions, it is clear that responsibility for human rights-based development in the Post-2015 period must extend to actors in the private sector, as well.
2013-03-14: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted on 13 December 2006 at the U.N. Headquarters Building in New York. The Convention was opened for signature on 30 March 2007, when there were 82 Signatories to the Convention, 44 Signatories to its Optional Protocol, and 1 Ratification. Historically, this is the highest number of signatories to a U.N. Convention on its opening day. It is the first comprehensive Human Rights Treaty of the 21st Century. It is also the first Human Rights Convention to be open for signature by regional integration organizations, e.g. the European Union (EU). The Convention entered into force, as an International Legal Instrument, on 3 May 2008.
According to the United Nations … this Convention is intended as a Human Rights Instrument with an explicit social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities, and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.
I say … that most of the rights specified in this Convention are already contained in other long-established International Human Rights Instruments, e.g. rights to shelter, free movement, education, employment, voting, etc. The critical issue for people with activity limitations has always been, and remains to this day …Lack of Accessibility … which prevents them from effectively and independently exercising their basic rights and fundamental freedoms as individual human beings.
Substantively … this is a United Nations Accessibility for All Rights Convention.
The World Map below illustrates the situation, in October 2012, with regard to the very large numbers of States Parties to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) …
154 Signatories to the Convention ;
90 Signatories to the Optional Protocol ;
124 Ratifications and Accessions to the Convention ;
74 Ratifications and Accessions to the Optional Protocol.
Using the Map, it is simple to identify those ‘other’ countries (nudge-nudge-wink-wink) …
Since October 2012 …
Singapore signed the Convention on 30 November 2012
Cambodia ratified the Convention on 20 December 2012
Albania ratified the Convention on 11 February 2013
Barbados ratified the Convention on 27 February 2013
HOWEVER … far too many individuals and organizations seem to be content to just settle back and end this good news story at Ratification. They fail to understand that this is only the beginning !
The real challenge ahead will be to ensure that the Convention is Properly Implemented.
The Target before every State Party is … Effective Accessibility for All !!
2012-11-30: Related specifically to my 2 Previous Posts on 27 November 2012 & 28 November 2012 … this is how we would like to help you … whether you are an individual, or an organization … whether you are located in Ireland, Italy or Turkey … some other part of Europe, the Arab Gulf Region, India, Japan, China … or wherever !
And … we can, if requested or necessary, work in collaboration with local partners in those different geographical regions.
For many Weak and Vulnerable People, today’s Complex Human Environment is inaccessible and unsafe … a hostile ‘reality’ which prevents independent functioning and participation in a local community; it is a blatant denial of their human rights.
Restrictions on Social Participation, e.g. physical barriers, sloppy user-unfriendly management procedures, discrimination, stigma, etc … also limit the Use Potential of buildings, transportation systems, public spaces and other facilities … shortening product life cycles.
These factors impose a large, negative cost burden on society generally … and on you, as an individual … or as an organization, whether private or public. It is bad business !
SDI’s Commitment to You
As a necessary response to the New Paradigm of ‘Accessibility’ mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and elaborated in greater detail by International Standard ISO 21542 : 2011 –
WE are committed to … the implementation of a Sustainable Human Environment which is Effectively Accessible for All … through the use of innovative, person-centred and reliability-based sustainable design practices and procedures.
SDI’s Accessibility Services
WE will advise you on Accessibility Policy, Accessibility Strategy Development, Accessibility Implementation … and, whether you are within or from outside the European Union, on CE Marking of Accessibility Related Construction Products ;
WE understand the process of Design, particularly the new language of Sustainable Design … and we will produce Creative Accessibility Solutions for Your Project ;
WE are thoroughly familiar with the intricacies of Building Sites … and we will verify and/or validate Design Compliance during construction, and at project completion … and, if requested or necessary, as a completely Independent Technical Controller ;
WE communicate easily and effectively with other Professional Design Disciplines, including fire engineers … and we will act as fully participating members of Your Project Design & Construction Team ;
Are adapted to Local Geography, Climate/Climate Change, Social Need, Culture, Economy … and Severe Events (e.g. earthquakes and flooding) ;
Are ‘Person-Centred’, i.e. that design process which places ‘real’ people at the centre of creative endeavours and gives due consideration to their responsible needs, and their health, safety, welfare and security in the Human Environment ;
Are ‘Reliability-Based’, i.e. that design process based on practical experience, competence and an examination of real extreme events, e.g. 2001 WTC 9-11 & 2008 Mumbai Attacks, and 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Incident … rather than theory alone.
It is there, not here, that we define Sustainable Human & Social Development … and describe how our Practice is responding to this open, intricate, dynamic, and still evolving concept. The resulting transformation in how frontline services are provided to our Clients/Client Organizations ensures a much more comfortable ‘fit’ to their needs … and a greater level of protection, safety and security for society !
2012-03-25: No news about this momentous development, yet, on the International Design and Disability Networks … (why is that ? – are they all asleep out there ?) … but International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility and Usability of the Built Environment’ was finally published by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in December 2011 ! Even ISO, and national standards organizations, have been slow with an official notification.
This International Standard now provides building users, architects, designers, engineers, builders, building owners and managers, manufacturers, policy makers and legislators with the requirements and recommendations to create a Sustainable Built Environment which is Accessible.
The First Edition of ISO 21542, dated 2011-12-15, represents an agreement reached by strong consensus between different countries all over the world … an agreement patiently constructed and pieced together by a small, dedicated international group of Accessibility Experts. As one of those experts, I am tremendously relieved that this main task has been accomplished … but the process must continue … there are still errors in the document … and the fire safety texts must be expanded.
This is also an agreement which signals that uniform implementation of the main provisions (accessibility-related) in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) can commence across the globe, not just in the developed economic regions.
The purpose of this International Standard is to define how the built environment … in particular, public buildings … should be designed, constructed and managed to enable people to approach, enter, use, egress from and evacuate a building independently, in an equitable and dignified manner and to the greatest extent possible.
A new international understanding of ‘Building Accessibility’ is hereby established … ‘Access’ (approach, entry and use) can no longer be divorced from ‘Egress’ (in the normal course of events) and ‘Evacuation’ (in the event of an emergency).
The concept of ‘Access’, in isolation, and the role of the ‘Access Consultant’ are, therefore, outdated and obsolete ! And use of the word ‘Escape’, in any context, is to be firmly and rigorously discouraged !!
The intention of this International Standard is to meet the needs of the majority of people. This goal is achieved by agreement on minimum standards of accessibility and usability which are generally accepted to accommodate diversities of age and the human condition.
In future … proper emphasis must be placed on Real and Effective Implementation of Accessibility-for-All in the built environment … to meet the needs of real people in all of our communities.
In the past … too many scarce human resources have been diverted into pointless discussions and arguments about accessibility design philosophies. And, particularly in Europe, we have been far too fond of ‘talk’, instead of ‘action’ ! No more !!
ISO 21542 : 2011 applies to new and existing buildings.
IF this Standard’s requirements and recommendations are taken into consideration during the earliest stages of New Building Design … the costs of providing satisfactory accessibility and usability in a building will be minimal.
Yes, there are problems with improving the accessibility performance of Existing Buildings … just as there are problems, for example, with improving their energy performance. However … creativity, design flexibility, and an in-depth understanding of the principles of Accessibility-for-All … will ensure that the functional requirements of this Standard are properly met.
Mindful of the 1964 Venice Charter and other similar international instruments … accessibility must also be facilitated in Existing Buildings of Historical, Architectural and Cultural Importance. In such cases, it will be necessary for national authorities having jurisdiction to allow some relaxation of the requirements in this International Standard … as well as to proactively recommend appropriate alternative accessibility measures.
This new approach to Accessibility-for-All in the Built Environment … as set down in ISO 21542 … was directly informed by Preamble Paragraph (g) and Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).
At the time of writing … the UN CRPD has been ratified by the European Union (EU) and 109 Other Countries.
An Important Note for Parties to the Convention which is entirely outside the scope of ISO 21542, and standardization generally … but very relevant to the implementation, for example, of Article 11 at national level in the ratifying Countries and EU Member States …
UN CRPD Article 12 – Equal Recognition Before The Law
1.States Parties reaffirm that persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law.
2.States Parties shall recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.
3.States Parties shall take appropriate measures to provide access by persons with disabilities to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity.
4.States Parties shall ensure that all measures that relate to the exercise of legal capacity provide for appropriate and effective safeguards to prevent abuse in accordance with international human rights law. Such safeguards shall ensure that measures relating to the exercise of legal capacity respect the rights, will and preferences of the person, are free of conflict of interest and undue influence, are proportional and tailored to the person’s circumstances, apply for the shortest time possible and are subject to regular review by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body. The safeguards shall be proportional to the degree to which such measures affect the person’s rights and interests.
5. Subject to the provisions of this article, States Parties shall take all appropriate and effective measures to ensure the equal right of persons with disabilities to own or inherit property, to control their own financial affairs and to have equal access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit, and shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not arbitrarily deprived of their property.
ISO 21542 : 2011 is available from the International Standards Organization (ISO) at … www.iso.org/
The Official Abstract on the ISO WebSite states …
ISO 21542 : 2011 specifies a range of requirements and recommendations for many of the elements of construction, assemblies, components and fittings which comprise the built environment. These requirements relate to the constructional aspects of access to buildings, to circulation within buildings, to egress from buildings in the normal course of events and evacuation in the event of an emergency. It also deals with aspects of accessibility management in buildings.
ISO 21542 : 2011 contains provisions with respect to features in the external environment directly concerned with access to a building or group of buildings from the edge of the relevant site boundary or between such groups of buildings within a common site. It does not deal with those elements of the external environment, such as public open spaces, whose function is self-contained and unrelated to the use of one specific building, nor does it deal with single-family dwellings, other than those circulation spaces and fittings that are common to two or more such dwellings.
2012-02-18: It will be of interest to people in this part of the world that Hong Kong has introduced a New Code of Practice on Fire Safety in Buildings, which will come into effect from 1 April 2012. The reason for this interest will be strange and unusual …
Click the Link Above to read and/or download PDF File (3.96 Mb)
The following extract from the Foreward (paragraph #3) to this Code of Practice explains how it came to be developed … and then issued back in September 2011 …
This Code of Practice may be cited as the Code of Practice for Fire Safety in Buildings. It is prepared and issued by the Buildings Department on the basis of the consultancy study on fire engineering approach and fire safety in buildings. The consultancy study was conducted by Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd., commissioned by the Buildings Department, and was supervised by a Steering Committee comprising representatives of professional institutions and other stakeholders of the building industry, as well as other Government Departments.
It so happens that, here, a few weeks ago … I was wondering how the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was being implemented in a number of countries which had ratified it. China ratified the Convention on 1 August 2008. Once again, this is Article 11 …
UN CRPD Article 11 – Situations of Risk & Humanitarian Emergencies
States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.
[ Note: An outbreak of fire in a building is a situation of serious risk for all vulnerable building users ! ]
So … what has been the response of Hong Kong to this issue … and to the voluntary obligation which China has accepted, under International Law, to comply with Article 11 of the UN CRPD ?
The issue has been completely ignored in the New Code of Practice !
There is an easy way to understand the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which was ratified by the European Union (EU) just before Christmas Day 2010:
For a sizeable group of vulnerable people in all of our societies, the sole route of access to many, if not most, of the Human and Social Rights set down in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) … is the UN CRPD … which only became an International Legal Instrument on 3 May 2008 … just short of 60 Years after the UDHR was adopted on 10 December 1948 !
That is precisely why Accessibility is such a critical component of the 2006 UN Convention … which has already been described, here, as a ‘Mixed Agreement’ (see the post of 5 February 2011).
Accessibility is the principal, common ingredient in ‘fields that fall in part within the competence of the European Union, in part within that of the Member States and in part within the shared competence of the EU and its Member States’. Accessibility has an impact … and always will have an impact … on all of these fields.
Policy and Decision Makers at every level within the European Union and the EU Member States would need to become accustomed to this new concept very, very quickly.
It is also essential, therefore, for the EU and the Member States to closely co-operate in implementing legislation which stems from the UN CRPD in a coherent manner … and to ensure unity in the international representation of the Union.
APPROACHING THE TASK OF ACCESSIBILITY IMPLEMENTATION
1. Establishing an Initial Framework …
Exactly how should we make sense of … bring order and assign priorities to … the Accessibility-related Articles in the UN Convention … using the different terms ‘Accessibility’ and ‘Accessibility-for-All’ … ‘People/Persons with Disabilities’ and ‘People with Activity Limitations’ (2001 WHO ICF) … in relation to the different components of the Human Environment, i.e. the Built, Social, Virtual and Economic Environments ???
Our recommendation … SDI’s Recommendation … is to refer, in the first instance, to this ‘Accessibility-for-All’ Matrix … which we developed a few years ago … in preparation for this crucial period of implementation …
If we then drill down … in order to fully understand ‘Accessibility of a Building’, for example … this then comprises:
Approach to the building ;
Entry through principal entrance(s) ;
Health, Safety, Convenience & Comfort in Use, including thermal comfort, indoor air quality, protection from fire, etc ;
Egress from the building (during normal conditions) ;
Removal from the vicinity of the building (during normal conditions) ;
Evacuation from the building (during, for example, a fire emergency) ;
Safe Movement to a ‘place of safety’ (during, for example, a fire emergency), which is remote from the building ;
Each stage of a Work Process, at every level, in places of work ;
Use of Electronic, Information & Communication Technologies (EICT’s) ;
Management, Services, and Attitudes of People in the building ;
Recruitment, Employment, Training & Promotion Practices.
2. Overlaying UN CRPD Article 9 – Accessibility …
Onto the Initial Framework outlined above … overlay Article 9 … and crosscheck in detail. Note well the strong language used … ‘States Parties shall’ … and do not forget that this is not a Wish List … but a clear delineation of the Scope of an Important Human and Social Right which now has a proper basis in both International and European Union Law !
1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:
(a) Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces ;
(b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.
2.States Parties shall also take appropriate measures:
(a) To develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public ;
(b) To ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities ;
(c) To provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities ;
(d) To provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms ;
(e) To provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public ;
(f) To promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information ;
(g) To promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet ;
(h) To promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
So … what is the situation in the Member States of the European Union ?
In an upcoming post … let’s take Ireland as a case in point, just for the hell of it … and discuss some of the consequences … stemming from the EU’s ratification of the UN CRPD … on the operation of the Building Regulations and Disability Access Certificates (DAC’s).
2009-12-16: ‘Chaotic’ is not the only word to describe what is happening right now in Copenhagen ! A few additional parliamentary expletives are required. Is it just me … or is it obvious to everyone … that the Danes could not organize an orgy at an International Golf Tournament ?
What the world urgently needed was an ambitious, legally binding agreement … a Kyoto II Protocol, for want of a better title … to slot into place when the 1st Commitment Period ends in 2012. What we may end up with is an ambiguous ‘political’ agreement … which will be worth approximately 1 cent more than the paper on which it will be scrawled.
There is something definitely rotten in the State of Denmark ! Multiple drafts of the same working document circulating at the same time … backroom meetings away from public scrutiny … greedy developed countries trying to avoid responsibility and action … strutting, self-important NGO’s thinking that they know all the answers … etc., etc … kill any confidence in the process stone dead. These are not the ways of Sustainable Social Partnership.
However … at a far distance from the hustle and bustle … it can be observed that Interesting Side Events are taking place … and Thought Provoking Reports are being presented … before, during and after the main gatherings between the 7th and 18th December 2009:
15th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ;
5th Meeting of the Parties (MOP-5) to the Kyoto Protocol.
African Countries are not the only Group having difficulty with what is/is not happening in Copenhagen …
Two recent Discussion Papers from The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), in India, are worth bringing to your attention. Both raise issues which are not very popular in this part of the world. And … it so happens that Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri – Director-General of TERI … is also Chairman of the WMO-UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) !
To gain worldwide acceptance – across developed, developing and least developed regions of the world – and to have a reasonable chance of reliable implementation in those disparate regions … mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change, including variability and extremes, must be fully compatible with the concept of Sustainable Human & Social Development. This is clearly elaborated in both the 1992 UNFCCC and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
To be clear among ourselves on this island … Ireland is specifically named (without any qualification), among other Developed Countries … in Annex I and Annex II of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) … and in Annex B of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is legally binding. The European Union is not mentioned, at all, in either document.
It is of concern to note that although India ratified the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in October 2007 – TERI (India) has very recently placed a Document (No.1 above) in the public domain, at Copenhagen, which actively forbids content extraction by people with activity limitations for the purposes of equitable accessibility ! Joined-up thinking !?!?