People with disabilities get better access to digital solutions
22nd of March 2023
More and more digital solutions within the social and health sector are being made available to the Nordic Region’s 28 million people. Though this is positive, it’s important that the digital world is accessible to everyone, including those with impaired sight, hearing, mobility, or other disabilities. To this end, the Nordic ministers for health and social affairs have adopted a declaration on digital solutions for people with disabilities.
“With this declaration, we’re initiating closer Nordic co-operation to promote inclusive digital development and prevent people with disabilities from being left behind in the digital world. The Nordic countries can address these challenges together. We want people with disabilities, just like everyone else, to be able to use technology to communicate with companies, institutions, and other people. We must ensure that no person with a disability is left behind as digital development picks up speed,” says Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market.
We must ensure that no person with a disability is left behind as digital development picks up speed
Facilitating independent living
Disabled People’s Organisations Denmark welcomes the ministerial declaration. Sif Holst, vice-chair and spokesperson for development co-operation at Disabled People’s Organisations Denmark, sees this as a step towards the sustainable development of the Nordic welfare societies:
“The ministerial declaration is an important recognition that far too many people with disabilities are put at a disadvantage through the introduction of digital solutions that are not accessible to them. Today, solutions are still being established that do not meet accessibility standards, and all too often people with disabilities are not involved in the development of solutions. This limits the ability of people with disabilities to live independent and dignified lives. Strong Nordic co-operation on the development of accessible digital solutions, with people with disabilities at the centre, will be a step towards the sustainable development of the Nordic welfare societies,” says Sif Holst of Disabled People’s Organisations Denmark.
Strong Nordic co-operation on the development of accessible digital solutions, with people with disabilities at the centre, will be a step towards the sustainable development of the Nordic welfare societies.
Additional accessible solutions must be developed
The signing of the declaration paves the way for further sharing of knowledge, good examples, and new technologies across national borders. Furthermore, it aligns with the European Accessibility Act in the Nordic countries, which requires that authorities and the private sector in each country make certain products and services accessible to everyone. The main aim is to promote the introduction of universal design in the Nordics, which is based on the principle that products and services must be usable to the widest possible extent by all people, regardless of their physical or cognitive ability.