The UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development 2018 – Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities shows that people with disabilities are at a disadvantage regarding most Sustainable Development Goals, but also highlights the growing number of good practices that can create a more inclusive society in which they can live independently”, noted UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The report further underlines the digital divide between persons and disabilities who still can’t share the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICTs). This gap amounts to 30% for internet use and 10% in access to internet in the household in some countries due to accessibility and affordability issues. This further poses challenges for disabilities to reap the benefits of internet technologies to improve their lives and hence realize the various SDGs for persons with disabilities. The report pinpoints some recommendations to strengthen the ICT ecosystem to ensure inclusion and accessibility for persons with disabilities which includes: promoting the principles of Universal Design in the mainstream ICT industry and the public sector, adopting national ICT accessibility policies and regulations, involving all relevant stakeholders and increase funding to support low-cost ICTs for persons with disabilities, and develop and publish comparable data on access to and use of ICTs disaggregated by disability as well as on accessibility of ICTs.
The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.