Delegations from other nations periodically consult the Access Board on accessible design in the U.S. and its accessibility guidelines and standards. Recently, the Board received representatives from China and from Norway. Many of these meetings concern access to the built environment and, increasingly, information technology. The global standardization necessary for a world wired for the "Information Age" has sparked international interest in the Board’s accessibility standards for electronic and information technology. In light of these trends, the Board is developing plans to become more proactive in international efforts of outreach and coordination and the advancement of accessibility worldwide. Recent activities include participation in projects involving the European Commission and the World Bank.
In March, the Board participated in a video conference organized jointly by the U.S. and the European Commission on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) standards and the possibilities for governmental cooperation to move toward global requirements. The conference kicked off a transatlantic exchange of information on the planned use of ICT standards in support of regulations and other public policies. The objective of the exchange is to minimize the potential for bilateral trade friction and facilitate a better understanding of the respective U.S. and European Union goals in the ICT sector, the range of regulatory and alternative tools that are available to meet these goals, and the methods by which technical standards and other documents are identified and developed to provide the underlying technical solutions in support of a specific regulatory tool or public policy goal. Issues to be explored include ICT accessibility, security, and biometrics. In addition to Board staff, participants included representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce, State Department, General Services Administration and their counterparts in the European Commission.
The Board is also participating in a new program on accessibility organized by the World Bank. Established to fight poverty and improve the living standards of people in the developing world, the World Bank provides loans, policy advice, technical assistance and knowledge sharing services. It undertakes much of its work through partnerships with other international institutions and donors, the private sector, civil society, and professional and academic associations. Through a new partnership effort, the World Bank seeks to heighten awareness of, and develop guidance on, accessibility and disability in funded projects, particularly those relating to civil works and infrastructure. The Board is serving on an advisory committee organized by the World Bank to oversee this program.
The Board is exploring additional opportunities to work with international groups and nations in promoting accessibility worldwide through enhanced cooperation and partnerships. For further information on this Board effort, contact David Capozzi at (202) 272-0010 (voice), (202) 272-0082 (TTY), or email@example.com (e-mail).