Accessibility is a key prerequisite for the rights promotion of persons with disabilities. Accessibility enhances their general mobility, active life, public participation and independent living. It crosscuts in each of the agendas of inclusive development. This is one of the key principles of the United Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), as accessibility needs to be ensured while implementing all other articles and relevant provisions.
Moreover, article 9 of this convention has provisions related to the accessibility to be ensured by the state. The article 9 says “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 also 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.”
NFDN has been promoting accessibility issues from its establishment through advocacy initiatives, capacity building and awareness raising activities. The government (Council of Ministers) passed a separate guideline with minimum standards and specification in 2012 to ensure the public physical infrastructures provide accessibility to persons with disabilities. NFDN has also started implementing a project called “Accessibility for Inclusion” with the support from CBM and in close cooperation of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) to promote accessibility issues as the part of development activities.
There are various activities undertaken through the project, such as working closely with KMC for ensuring accessibility is included in the ongoing policy and practice of the local government, creating model works by ensuring accessibility standards and promoting Universal Design, providing technical training on accessibility and raising awareness about accessibility in the community.
In this course of action, NFDN has published this collection of articles on “Accessibility” with the support of architects/engineers, academicians (University professors), disaster actors, accessibility promoters and disability rights activists.
The key objectives of publishing this book are,
- To raise the issues of accessibility and make stakeholders and people aware on its wider importance, various dimensions and other aspects (such as social, technical, financial etc.),
- To contribute in fulfilling the gap of accessibility related quality literatures in the context of Nepal for the students of universities, architects, accessibility practitioners, promoters, engineers, media persons and general readers and
- To promote successful or good practices on accessibility through the book.
This book has covered different aspects of accessibility and universal design. It has treated accessibility as crosscutting issues for various sectors i.e. sports, disaster risk management, transport system, tourism, employment and Water and Sanitation hygiene (WASH). It has also provided a good picture of the situation of accessibility in Nepal, barriers facing by persons with disabilities due to inaccessible environment, appropriate solutions considering the socio-economic context of Nepal, its potentials and challenges as well. NFDN is therefore confident, that the book will be useful for university students, architects and Engineers (Groups/associations/individuals), disability Rights or accessibility promoters/activists (individuals, groups, organizations, I/NGOs), government and non-government agencies working in development sector and general people who are interested in accessibility issues.
The selected articles are collected through the support of various academicians, accessibility promoters and practitioners, architects and engineers and disability rights experts working in national and international level. The articles presented in this book are based on primary and/or secondary data and are creative and analytical presentation of the evidences of good practices and experience of rights holders.
All our writers from national and international background have prevalent knowledge on accessibility, disability and inclusion. Likewise, Nepali writers also have significant exposure of their expertise in the field of accessibility and disability and most of them have tried to uncover the local issues and national practices. Our writers are also exploring potential solutions on the role of government and other stakeholders.
In a nutshell, the book speaks of the issues rampantly prevailing in the field of accessibility and disability. Most of the articles have explained the gap of policy implementation at the Federal, provincial and local level. It is the duty of the concerned personnel, government authorities and other stakeholders to compulsorily apply the guidelines in all stages of design and construction works. In regards to the public physical infrastructures and other services, majority of the authors have strongly recommended, the accessibility guidelines be made mandatory for all public infrastructures and communication services and establish such guidelines as the integral part of the building code.
It is our privilege to present the collection of articles on accessibility. We would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to all of those authors who contributed in the development of articles. Our special thanks goes to Ms. Gianna Catolico and Nirmal Bhandari who actively participated in proofreading and editing the content of articles. Our debt is beyond the reckoning to Mr. Manish Prasai, Admin Manager and Mr. Bimal Paudel, Program coordinator of NFDN, whose tireless efforts have shaped the book in its final form. We are equally thankful to the board members and staff of NFDN and CBM Nepal country office for their insightful comments/inputs and persistent support.
Message from CBM
I am hopeful this publication will be a major source of knowledge from academic perspective to promote accessibility in Nepal. I’d like to congratulate the National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal and its contributors who gave life to this publication.
Despite disability rights activists and disable people organizations working and advocating for long, accessibility is still new to Nepal. Therefore, it is necessary to understand that accessibility has a very broad scope to address the needs and requirements of people with diverse abilities and not just disabilities.
The task that NFDN in partnership with CBM has done by producing this strong academic resource compiling different articles in accessibility under the Accessibility for Inclusion Project is commendable. Accessibility is a shared venture of multi-stakeholders. Therefore, I fully believe that this resource will contribute significantly to widen the horizon of accessibility in Nepal to make the right real.
Krishna Bahadur Sunar (MR)
Program Officer for Disability Inclusion
Nepal Country Office