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WBU Priorities and Goals

There are key issues that we focus on in order to make advancements in the mobility, education and independence of blind and partially sighted persons. We work to make the world easier to navigate by advocating for greater accessibly through Universal Design for both liveable cities and indoor household products. 
We also want improved public transportation options and access; sidewalks that are safe to walk, and roads safe to cross. We need access to affordable technology that makes communicating and receiving information as easy as it is for sighted people. We actively promote Braille so blind students can learn alongside their peers.

We support the worldwide implementation of the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in every country in order to protect the basic human rights of those who due to their physical or sensory disability face greater challenges than the average person in trying to live their​ lives with dignity and respect. These and others issues, are the objectives we seek in order to advance the rights and abilities of blind and partially sighted people around the world. Below are descriptions of some of our key campaigns: 

The Right to Read (R2R) - Access to literacy and education via the Marrakesh Treaty

WIPO Treaty posterDid you know that over 90% of all published materials cannot be read by blind or low vision people? We are asking for the right to read the same newspapers, magazines and books that sighted people have access to. We need to have the rights in all countries to reproduce these materials into accessible formats, such as Braille, large print, and audio editions. 
The Marrakesh Treaty is an international agreement signed by over 70 countries that provides exceptions to current copyright rules that ban publishing in accessible formats. It also allows for sharing books across borders.
MARRAKESH TREATY for Blind -WBU FAQ sheet -eng.docMARRAKESH TREATY for Blind -WBU FAQ sheet
The campaign includes working with publishers to increase the amount of books published in accessible formats. This campaign has its own page with more links and resources. In the News Section​ are the updates on the progress of countries that have ratified this treaty.  

The Right to Work (R2W) - Employment and independence

In developed regions like North America & Europe, employment of blind people is only about 25% and in developing areas of the globe like Africa, Asia & Latin America, the number of blind people employed falls below 10%. With figures like these, blind and partially sighted people cannot live as equals in society. That is why this issue is a priority for the members of the World Blind Union. Thanks to a grant from the Trillium Foundation, WBU created a website dedicated to provide skills and resources for employment. It's called Project Aspiro: www.projectaspiro.com/en/Pages/default.aspx WBU continues to work on strategies to improve the employment situation of blind and partially sighted persons around the world. Despite advances in education, rehabilitation, technology and social attitudes, blind and partially sighted persons are among the most likely to be unemployed in all parts of the world. 
 

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Marketing poster for CRPDThis convention can be accessed directly in the United Nations website: www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html​
  It is the main instrument for providing basic human rights to the world's disabled peoples, who number about 15% of the global population.  While the UN Convention is an international instrument, its success in making a difference in the lives of a billion people rests with its implementation taking place at the national (country) level
 
WBU works closely with our national members, through its region offices to ensure that everyone understands the Convention, its implications and opportunities for blind and low vision people. We have created an FAQ sheet: UNCRPD general-WBU FAQ sheet.docUNCRPD general-WBU FAQ sheet and a toolkit: CRPD Toolkit - Final Mar 2012.docCRPD Toolkit - Final Mar 2012 for members to use to work with their own governments around the ratification and implementation of the Convention. 
 
The WBU continues to work closely with other international disabled persons organizations through the International Disability Alliance ​(IDA) www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org, monitoring CRPD progress and sharing successes and concerns with the UN bodies tasked with monitoring the use of the convention in all countries that have signed on to support the CRPD.  
 

Technology: providing the ability to access and interact with society.

People who are blind or partially sighted need access to the same technology as others: to use mobile phones or computers and access websites on the internet, the use of automated bank machines and direct payment machines in stores, or the ability to read the screens in airports, bus terminals, or government kiosks in order to access important information, as well as the ability to vote with a secret ballot (like others) and have their vote be counted and still be private. All of this should be provided without incurring extra financial expenses to be able to access society in the same manner as others. 
 
WBU promotes the idea of universal design that incorporates the needs of disabled persons, and we consult with companies like Apple to let them know how user-friendly their products are for blind people. We also promote companies that create affordable means to interface with technology and make websites accessible like NVAccess: www.nvaccess.org, which provides a free open-source screen reader program. 
We have links to this group and other technical tools under the Resources/Useful Links​ section of the website.


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