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María Teresa Donoso, representative of the Global Universal Design Commission in Ecuador, participated in the VI Latin American Conference of RIADIS "Inclusive Latin America in Unity, Development, Peace and Hope" held in Havana, Cuba on March 14 and 15 Of 2017. She presented in the Introductory Table: Universal Accessibility what Universal Accessibility is and how Universal Design is the most effective instrument for its achievement. Accessibility is a right enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is included in the Sustainable Development Objectives in Objective 11 of Sustainable Cities and Communities, as well as in the New Urban Agenda adopted in Habitat III, having 12 mentions of people with disabilities because "it invites us to rethink the way we build, manage and live in cities, with the great objective of advancing in inclusive and accessible urban development for all, and reach the goal of full participation of all people, regardless of their status as beneficiaries and agents for transformative changes in society and development. "
Universal Design increases practical value, safety and health through the design of buildings, environments, products, services and systems in response to the diversity of people and capabilities, so that they can be used by all people to the greatest extent possible.
The demand for universal design considers people with disabilities (15% of the world population according to WHO, 2011), people over 60 years old (22% according to the UN by 2050), and people as lefties, at the extremes of height, international travelers, who have catastrophic illnesses like cancer or diabetes, pregnant women, children in strollers or people with reduced mobility.
The principles of Universal Design are 7: Equality of use, flexibility, simple and functional use, understandable information, error tolerance, low physical effort, and space and size for approach and use.
María Teresa showed initiatives that have worked on Universal Design in several countries such as the Global Universal Design Commission, its Universal Design Standards and the first certification given to the YMCA Mary Free Bed Building in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the updating of the Ecuadorian regulations on accessibility carried out by the Technical Secretariat for Disabilities SETEDIS, the Ecuadorian Institute for Standardization INEN and the National Council for Equality in Disabilities CONADIS; the Training Course on Accessibility to the Physical Environment and Normative Technical of CONADIS and the University San Francisco de Quito; and the milestones of Habitat III such as the approval of the New Urban Agenda, the Roundtable of Persons with Disabilities focused on Urbanism as Catalyst for Inclusive Development in Disability; the creation of Disability Inclusive Development Collaboratory DIAUD Network and the INCLUSION event that brought together more than 500 people with and without disabilities, thanks to World Enabled, to form this word in Habitat III seeking to raise awareness of the importance of considering everyone in the Community life in cities.
After its presentation, the RIADIS member assistants, who belong to 20 countries, emphasized the importance of accessibility to achieve a truly inclusive society.
The Global Universal Design Commission, Inc. (GUDC) is a not-for-profit corporation. It was established to develop Universal Design (UD) standards for buildings, products and services. The GUDC promotes understanding and use of UD so that all environments may be useable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation, retrofitting, or specialized design. Learn more at http://www.globaluniversaldesign.org/