Pradeep Bagival

One of the reasons for AT not being a global priority is that it is yet to become a national priority for 80% of persons with disabilities living in developing countries . Access to assistive technology as a human right is an underlying factor for the realization of the twenty one articles of the CRPD ( Art, 5,6, 7,9,10,11,12,13,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29 and 30) and  an enabling factor for persons with disabilities in enjoying fundamental rights and freedoms on an equal basis with others. UN entities such as WHO have a significant role in contributing to the AT from becoming a global and a national priority along with other entities such as ILO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA , UNWOMEN and UNOHCHR. We would like to see more proactive role of UN especially in developing countries in prioritizing AT in the form of international cooperation as envisaged in art 32 of the CRPD.

Donor agencies who have been supported development programs need to consider the fact that  access to AT is a means to  achieve inclusive development and to transform the SDG principle  ‘leave no one behind’ from precept to practice. Access to AT should be an integral part of the national policy on disability in developing countries. Though majority of the national disability legislations uphold the right to assistive technology, national governments should under article 32 seek international cooperation in transfer of technology, exchange and sharing of information through training and research. When national governments become proactive, we will certainly see access to AT becoming a national and eventually a global priority.

We need more  individuals like Chapal to lead local , national  and global movements in making assistive technology a priority.  Before I conclude , I would like to recall accompanying Chapal and his team from Mobility India to the remote villages when I served as Assistant Commissioner for Disabilities in India and it was indeed a learning experience on how assistive technology can transform lives for persons with disabilities in developing countries.