UlaanBaatar Statement

We, the participants at the World Blind Union – Asia Pacific (WBUAP) Mid-Term Regional General Assembly in UlaanBaatar, 12 September, 2018 adopt the following statement and refer it to relevant stakeholders for their consideration and action where appropriate:

  • 1. We request governments to review or enact legislation which ensures that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities constitutes an effective tool for change in the lives of people who are blind or partially sighted; and we urge all WBUAP members to engage with monitoring and implementation processes to the maximum extent possible.
  • 2. We call upon all governments throughout the WBU Asia Pacific region (Region) to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty as soon as practicable, so that persons who are blind or partially sighted or who have other print disabilities, have the fullest possible access to works of literature and to educational materials. We congratulate the five countries in the Region that have already ratified the Treaty.
  • 3. We encourage national and international development organisations to work with governments to develop disability-inclusive policies and to implement programs to progress the action plans for the Sustainable Development Goals, the Incheon Strategy and the Beijing Declaration.
  • 4. We encourage WBUAP members to co-operate with the United Nations Development Program to build capacity across the region so that persons who are blind or partially sighted are able to advocate for greater access to information.
  • 5. We request all WBUAP members to give priority to policies that promote the empowerment of blind and partially sighted women by striving for their equality, safety and economic independence. In particular, members should focus on the themes identified by the 2018 WBU Asia Pacific Women’s Forum: education, employment, leadership opportunities, social participation, technology and the prevention of abuse and exploitation of women.
  • 6. In acknowledging the very successful leadership training course held in December 2017 in Bangkok, under the generous sponsorship of the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), we encourage WBUAP members to actively provide leadership training and mentoring opportunities to facilitate the active participation of young people at the national and regional level. Furthermore, we request all members to pay attention to the needs, opinions and aspirations of young people, as well as nurture their leadership potential.
  • 7. Noting that not all countries in the WBU Asia Pacific region were able to fully participate in this regional assembly, largely due to a lack of resources and/or infrastructure, we encourage WBUAP members to reach out to neighbouring countries to help them build their capacity to ensure improved services and peer support for their blind and partially sighted citizens. In this regard we express our appreciation to those organisations which have sponsored participants at this Assembly.
  • 8. We call upon all governments, corporations and other global partners to take their share of responsibility and consult effectively to ensure that information and communications technologies are available, accessible and affordable to, and useable by, persons who are blind or partially sighted—as it is through such technology that real inclusion can be advanced and social isolation eliminated.
  • 9. We endorse the generous offer of Hong Kong Blind Union to initiate and lead the implementation of a web accessibility campaign at the regional level, with active support from WBUAP members, to promote the adoption of internationally recognised accessibility standards in web design, apps, e-learning and other ICT products and services.
  • 10. Noting the unacceptably high levels of unemployment and under-employment of persons who are blind or partially sighted in many countries, we call on all governments to implement or out-source programs that enable economic empowerment through the full participation in employment including: the promotion and resourcing of occupation-specific programs which promote the economic independence of blind and partially sighted people; awareness-raising programs for public and private employers and the community; transition to employment programs for school-leavers and newly-blinded persons; and the operation of specialist equipment and assistive technology schemes.
  • 11. We support the proposal of the WBU Global Employment committee to request the WBU Officers to give much higher priority to employment issues including a major focus at the 2020 WBU General Assembly in Spain. In addition, noting the success of project Aspiro, we request WBUAP members to find ways to support Project Aspiro such as by providing employment-related information and case studies in their major languages for inclusion on the Project Aspiro website.
  • 12. We call on the WBUAP members to share actively best practice initiatives and programs in areas including employment promotion and entrepreneurship, fundraising and capacity building.
  • 13. We urge WBUAP members and networks to maintain strong communication with each other, using the WBUAP web site, The East Wind newsletter and other communication tools – ensuring that where practicable no person is left behind.
  • 14. We congratulate the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind (MNFB) on the hosting of a very successful regional assembly; and we express our appreciation to the Mongolian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and to the members, staff and volunteers from MNFB whose collective efforts have made our stay in UlaanBaatar so productive and enjoyable.

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