Centre for Internet & Society

WSIS Forum 2017 was held 12-16 June in Geneva, and included the participation of more than 85 high-level government and civil society representatives, as well as 500 remote interventions and thousands following the webcast. The forum was chaired by Mr Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and ICT, Government of Rwanda, and co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, in close collaboration with all UN agencies. Nirmita Narasimhan participated in the forum.

The moderator, Ms Andrea Saks (Chair, Telecommunication Standardisation Sector (ITU-T) Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF)), welcomed the audience and introduced the five panellists, two of whom were remote participants.

The first speaker, participating remotely from India, was Ms Nirmita Narasimhan, Policy Director, Centre of Internet and Society (CIS). Narasimhan heads the CIS accessibility inclusion programme and specialises in policy research and advocacy related to technology access for persons with disabilities. Narasimhan focused on a report (link is external) jointly prepared by ITU and CIS, on how to leverage ICTs in an accessible manner to ensure that persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups are included in planning and responding to disasters and situations involving emergency situations.  She raised four stages of preparedness (link is external) for disaster management: (1) early warning planning including creating awareness, education, and training material as well as setting up technological infrastructure; (2) alerts as to when a disaster is happening and where to go for help; (3) recovery, what happens after the disaster; and (4) mitigation which leads back to planning and preparedness. Full report here. More information on the event here.

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