The Government reported on the first steps towards a barrier free environment
On October 27, the third meeting of the Barrier-Free Council was held under the chairmanship of the Minister for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine – Oleksiy Chernyshov. The EBA Representatives also joined the meeting, as the community supports the development of a barrier-free environment in the country.
Thus, the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the National Agency of Ukraine for Civil Service Affairs, and the Ministry of Veterans Affairs presented the first progress with the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy for Creating a Barrier-Free Environment in Ukraine.
The Ministry for Communities and Territories Development reported on the main regulatory initiatives that should improve the accessibility of buildings:
1. Approved Guidelines for assessing the barrier-free degree of the physical facilities. The document introduces annual monitoring of buildings and structures for their accessibility for people with disabilities. Thus, by October 15, the owners and tenants of the facilities designated by the Ministry of Regional Development shall submit the results of the inspection of the facilities and assessment of their accessibility to the relevant local body for urban planning and architecture. All data will be sent to the Ministry of Regional Development, which then based on these data forms a rating of accessibility and develops the necessary recommendations to improve the situation. Although the document contains clear requirements (on the angle of the ramp, the minimum width of the passage, etc), it is recommended to involve representatives of public associations of people with disabilities to participate in the assessment of the degree of accessibility of physical facilities.
2. Draft law №5655 on the reform in urban planning was adopted in the first reading. The document obliges to consider the legal requirements for accessibility for people with disabilities and other low-mobility groups during construction. Besides, draft law №5877 will soon be submitted to the first reading. It implies strengthening administrative liability, including in the form of a fine of up to 45,000 hryvnias for violations against a barrier-free environment for people with disabilities.
The Ministry of Digital Transformation is currently working on two major areas of accessibility. First, the Methodology for assessing the accessibility of websites is being prepared, including a digital accessibility standard similar to EN 301 549 – the European requirements that define the accessibility of information and communication technologies for people with disabilities. It is planned that websites and mobile applications developed by government agencies should comply with it. Secondly, the Diia. Barrier-free is being filled with the content that facilitates access of people with disabilities to the necessary services (job search, resume drafting, etc.), as well as provides advice for businesses on creating a barrier-free environment.
The Ministry of Veterans Affairs continues to work on the G2VEI pilot project, a platform to promote veteran employment. It is expected that early next year the site will publish information on how to start a business and what are the support programs for veteran entrepreneurs, and later – in March – plan to post vacancies, resumes, and training opportunities for veterans.
The National Civil Service Agency (NADS) also presented its achievements. In order to comply with the principles of non-discrimination and equal access to the civil service, the National Agency of Ukraine for Civil Service Affairs has developed a Methodology for providing people with disabilities who wish to participate in the competition for civil service positions with reasonable accommodation. The document offers a set of tools for government agencies regarding the algorithm for considering the application of a person with a disability for public office, the types of reasonable accommodation, and a list of the key accessibility criteria of premises where competitions are held for such persons.
Particular attention was paid to the “Barrier-free Handbook” – an online platform that contains information on the barrier-free components: a glossary, barrier-free calendar, as well as recommendations for proper and non-discriminatory communication. For example, in phrases and expressions, it is recommended to follow the principle “first we talk about a person, not about his difference”. Thus, it is important to focus on the person, and then on his/her specific if needed. For example, a person with a disability, a person with cerebral palsy, a person with Down syndrome, and so on. Other terms such as “disabled” only depersonalize a person, reduce his personality to a single characteristic.
For reference: The National Strategy for Barrier-Free Space in Ukraine 2030 was developed on the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska and in pursuance of the Decree of the President of Ukraine of December 3, 2020 “On Ensuring the Creation of Barrier-free Environment in Ukraine.” The Barrier-free Council is an advisory body of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine established to monitor and control the implementation of the National Strategy.
Be the first to learn about the latest EBA news with our Telegram-channel – EBAUkraine.