The Bologna Declaration

The Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe has published a declaration calling for access to assistive technology to be improved as a way of realising the human rights of disabled people.  

According to AAATE, people are made more disabled through inaccessible environments, products or services and/or they lack access to appropriate assistive technology. But there is technology available to support the equal opportunities and full participation for everyone in all aspects of their lives. 

This declaration is asking that everyone with influence on policy and practice relating to assistive technology provision, take measures to improve access to high quality assistive technology solutions, for anyone who might benefit from them, everywhere in the world and irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or cause of disability.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that more than 1 billion people worldwide need one or more assistive products. By 2030 more than two billion people will need at least one assistive product, with many older people needing two or more. Today, only one in 10 people in need have access to assistive products, which include hearing aids, wheelchairs, communication aids, glasses, prostheses, pill organisers and memory aids.

The causes of the discrepancy between need for and access to appropriate assistive products include: a lack of sufficient information; of necessary skills; of resources; of well-developed health; social care or educational service delivery systems; of political priority; and of attention to fundamental human rights. These are not just problems in low- and middle-income countries, they are global challenges that require action everywhere. 

What can you do? Endorse the declaration, which is open until December 2019, or learn more about how assistive technologies can increase the health, wellbeing and socioeconomic stability of everyone.