The EBU 2016 work programme (in short, “REC16”) dispatched activities into four main categories: campaigning, reports, capacity-building and communication.
In 2016, EBU continued to actively campaign to defend the rights of blind and partially sighted European citizens on a wide range of policy areas, including:
- Accessibility Act. Our members pursued collaboration with the European Commission, partner NGOs across the EU, as well as MEPs and governments to ensure that, once it is published, the European Accessibility Act is 'fit for purpose'.
- Access to books. The World Blind Union (WBU) and EBU campaigned for the EU to start the ratification process of the WIPO “Marrakech treaty to Improve Access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled”, urging the Commission to progress and quickly resolve the legal questions about the way ratification should work.
- EU Accessible Websites Directive. EBU continued to campaign to ensure that all policy makers understand that most people now consume web content on mobile devices and through apps - and that apps are often the easiest way to access a service or information, including blind and partially-sighted people.
- Silent vehicles. EBU continued to lobby for the prohibition of a pause switch, the installation of a stationary sound and a minimum sound level which enables pedestrians to detect the presence and operation of a moving vehicle, so that such requirements are part of the UNECE regulation to be adopted in Mid-May 2016, and likely to be incorporated into the EU regulation.
- Accessibility of payment terminals. EBU continued lobbying for standardization and accessibility of payment terminals on a European level, in particular through the newly-established Pay-Able (External link) European platform.
A coordination meeting of the EBU commission for Liaising with the EU was also held in Paris, France, on 24-25 September.
EC funding also enabled to cover travel and subsistence costs of EBU leaders to represent EBU in political and technical meetings throughout Europe.
Analytical work was pursued in 2016 through the following activities:
- EBU produced a new UNCRPD report on article 28 “Adequate standard of living and social protection”. Also, national legislative provisions on article 7 "Children with disabilities" were collected.
- In collaboration with ICEVI-Europe, EBU produced a report of a pilot survey among Erasmus+ and Disability Coordinators as well as a report on accessible Universities for Erasmus+ Students with Visual Impairment. with a view to investigating the opinions, experiences and suggestions of Erasmus+ mobility participants, and employees of universities involved in arranging international mobility programmes for students with visual impairment.
- EBU promoted the use of braille as a universal means of access to information, including promotion of braille literacy, best practice on teaching and developing braille skills. A final report, to be delivered in 2017, will identify what good practice is there to teach and develop braille.
EBU continued to reinforce our members' capacities in different areas such as:
- Accessibility. On 17 November, EBU held a second e-workshop on "Accessible Payment Terminals'”.
A new Twitter masterclass was held on 15-16 September in Brussels with a view to equipping members of the EBU campaigns network with skills on how to directly interact through Twitter as individuals with EU legislators and national governments on issues of importance to EBU.
A second training course on the EU policy-making process was also held on 1-2 December in Paris to improve EBU members' campaigning skills at EU level.
- Ageing. A new facilitators training course was held in Premantura, Croatia, on 19-20 May to equip EBU members with the necessary skills to empower the increasing number of elderly BPS persons in Europe. The training was based on the VISAL course. Newly-trained facilitator from Croatia, France and Lithuania are now organising their first full VISAL course.
- Youth employability. New young visually impaired job seekers were trained in how to improve their employability from 19 to 21 May in Tirrenia, Italy. They then organized 2 short national training sessions on the same topics.
- Gender equality. As the natural follow-up to the production in 2015 of EBU a publication entitled “The future we want: a toolkit to promote gender equality”, a training course was held in Paris on 28 October with EBU Board and staff members and an e-workshop was held on 8 December, all of them aiming to promote gender equality mainstreaming.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
In 2016, EBU pursued efforts to raise its profile and raise awareness on BPS' needs and concerns with European decision makers and the general public through the following channels:
- EBU website.
- EBU press releases.
- EBU newsletter, issued every two months in English, French, German and Spanish.
- EBU produced a video (External link) to raison awareness on low vision and help national members promote and lobby for the implementation of the 10 minimum standards on low vision rehabilitation.
- A publication was also produced to raise awareness on the UNCRPD. Aimed at visually impaired citizens, it describes the UNCRPD and the enforcement mechanisms that can be used if they consider their rights have been denied.
For more information on the REC16 work programme, please contact Romain Ferretti, EBU Project Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This work programme was co-funded by the "Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme" Programme of the European Union.