Laws, Guidelines, Policies and Regulations

According to the 2016 CRPD ICT Accessibility Progress Report,[1] 93 per cent of participating countries do not involve organizations who work in the field of e-accessibility in the development of laws and policies. The report clearly shows a low average of general legal and regulatory compliance with CRPD ICT accessibility (42 per cent), a low average of implementation and impact (41 per cent) and a very low capacity for implementation (21 per cent). Furthermore, the report asserts that 69 per cent of countries have a general regulatory framework, while 27 per cent have policies that cover accessibility for specific ICT products or services. Similarly, 16 per cent of countries have clear policies to promote accessible and assistive technologies. Table 1 shows implementation levels of laws, regulations and policies related to accessibility in ICT and assistive technologies. The report confirms that most countries have partial implementation of laws or regulations regarding most disabilities. Notably, 69 per cent have public procurement policies for promoting accessible ICTs.

Table 1. Implementation level of laws, regulations and policies (percentage)

Existing laws, regulations and policies Not implemented Partially implemented Fully implemented
Laws/policies supporting the participation of disability organizations in regulation development 34 63 2
Accessible ICT procurement policy 69 30 0
Existing services and policies for assistive technology (vision and hearing impaired) 32 66 1
Policies for assistive technology and services by type of disability (cognitive) 42 57 1
Existing services and policies for assistive technology (physical and mobility impairment) 33 65 1
Using braille or sign language in official public communications 53 46 0

Source: G3ict (2017). 2016 CRPD ICT Accessibility Progress Report. Available at

The report also indicates that 78 per cent of countries have a dedicated government body for persons with disabilities, but only 20 per cent of those institutions have findings to support digital accessibility.

The creation of WCAG in 2008 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an important and direct result of CRPD. These guidelines have significantly influenced web accessibility and became a reference for other international standards, guidelines, policies, and regulations in the context of web accessibility for disabled persons. Despite some low indicators in many world regions, a United Nations report on accessibility[2] indicates that 64 per cent of countries in the Americas, 95 per cent in Europe, 48 per cent in Africa, and 71 per cent in Oceania have accessibility standards or guidelines. The report also claims that as a direct result of reluctance in adopting or enforcing sound standards or guidelines, 61 per cent of governmental websites are inaccessible.