The Zero Project
One billion people live with a disability worldwide. Many of them live in extreme poverty, survive in large institutions, go (if they do) to segregated schools and have no access to decent work opportunities. In May 2008 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) entered into force and highlighted the importance of an inclusive society, in which persons with disabilities actively participate in the political, economic, social and cultural life. However, the lack of expertise on how to plan and execute policies that protect the rights of persons with disabilities, remains a major challenge. In response to this situation, the World Future Council became long-term partner of the Essl Foundation's Zero Project – For a world without barriers, a project which researches and presents Innovative Policies and Practices:
You will be able to browse our full research at:www.zeroproject.org
Zero Project 2016: Inclusive Education
"The right to education is the right to inclusive education." In 2015-6, the Zero Project will focus on best practice and policy advancing inclusive education (UN CRPD Article 24). As in previous years we will reach out to representative organizations of persons with disabilities, civil society, CRPD Committee members, the OHCHR, the Special Rapporteur on Disability, academics, policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders from around the world for nominations of Innovative Practices and Policies.
On 16th April we organized our first informal consultation with the experts of the CRPD Committee: Flyer.
Watch out for our call for nominations in June at the Zero Project website's Download section! By the end of September 2015, the Zero Project Committee will have selected the most promising ones as "Innovative Policy 2015" and "Innovative Practice 2015". Participate!
5 March 2015, Geneva: Side event at the Human Rights Council
On the occasion of the 28th session of the Human Rights Council, the Permanent Mission of Austria and the International Disability Alliance, together with the ten other Permanent Missions, as well as the European Network on Independent Living, with support of the Zero Project, held a side event on “Independent Living for All: Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Societies”. The event, which took place at Palais des Nations, on 5th March 2015, was attended by about 60 representatives from permanent missions, including seven Ambassadors. Moderated by H.E. Thomas Hajnoczi, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN in Geneva, the following speakers took the floor:
Captioning was provided. A video in international sign language is forthcoming.
25-27 February 2015: Fourth Zero Project Conference at UN Vienna
About 500 participants from 70 countries joined the fourth Zero Project Conference "Independent Living and Political Participation: Innovative Policies and Practices for Persons with Disabilities" held from 25th to 27th February 2015 at the United Nations Vienna International Centre. 50 Innovative Practices and Policies from around the world advancing the right of persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the community, as well as their right to participate in political and public life, were presented. Topics included: supported decision-making; community living; innovative assistive devices; the right to vote for everyone; accessibility of voting and electoral processes; and self-empowerment, amongst others. Amongst the 150 outstanding speakers and chairs were:
English-German-Russian simultaneous interpretation, International sign language interpretation as well as Captioning in English and German was provided. Programme in English (HTML / DOC) / Deutsch (DOC) - Programme at a glance (HTML / DOC / PDF) / Deutsch (DOC) - Biographies of Speakers (HTML) - Participants List (PDF) - News posts (1 2 Coverage) - Photos - Conference website
24 June 2014: Side Event in Maputo, Mozambique
Some 40-50 delegates of the Third Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in Maputo attended our side event on Creating accessible and inclusive societies for Accessibility under victim assistance norms organized together with the Permanent Mission of Austria on 24th June 2014. The event focused on the implementation of accessibility measures as part of victim assistance norms. Moderated by Ms. Caroline Wörgötter, Delegation of Austria, the event started with the opening keynote speech of H.E. Iolanda Maria Pedro Campos Cintura, Minister for Women and Social Affairs of Mozambique. Subsequently, the following panel speakers intervened:
11 June 2014: Side Event at CoSP in New York
On 11th June 2014, the Zero Project supported a side event on Creating accessible and inclusive societies for all: progress and challenges in implementing article 9 of the CRPD, organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Missions of Austria and Mexico, to highlight the importance of accessibility measures for persons with disabilities. Michael Fembek, Head of the Zero Project, was presenting the Zero Project Report 2014. The event took place at the UN Headquarters in New York on the occasion of the Seventh Session of the Conference of the State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Zero Project 2015: Independent Living and Political Participation
The Zero Project Report and Conference 2015 focus on UN CRPD Articles 19 (Independent Living) and 29 (Political Participation). As in previous years we reached out to civil society and disabled peoples’ organizations, CRPD Committee members, academics and policy-makers from around the world for nominations of innovative practices and policies. By the end of September 2014, the Zero Project Selection Committee selected the most promising ones as "Innovative Policy 2015" and "Innovative Practice 2015". Nomination forms and instructions were available in all UN languages and in accessible formats (easy language, etc.), and can be found here. Browse the results online or download the Zero Project Report 2015!
1 April 2014, Geneva: Roundtable “Philantrophie & Handicap”
On 1 April 2014, Ingrid Heindorf, Zero Project Head of Policy Research, participated at the Roundtable “Philantrophie & Handicap”, organized by the Chancellerie d’Etat du Genève and SwissFoundations, and hosted by Fondation Lombard Odier. About 50 representatives of foundations and public authorities attended and discussed how public-private partnerships can further improve the situation of persons with disabilities.
After the welcome and introduction by Mauro Poggia, Geneva State Councellor, and Anja Wyden Guelpa, Geneva State Chancellor, the roundtable speakers Marc Maugué, Fondation Wilsdorf, and Stephan Eliez, Fondation Pôle autisme, elaborated on their experiences with public-private partnerships in the area of disability. This first part was moderated by Karin Jestin, Secretary General of Fondation Lombard/Swissfoundations.
The second part of the roundtable was moderated by Anja Wyden Guelpa, Geneva State Chancellor. It discussed, firstly, selected innovative practice examples from the Zero Project Report 2013 and, secondly, the current work of Geneva’s Disability Directorate with Michel Blum. From the Zero Project Report 2013, Ingrid Heindorf presented in particular Discovering Hands, which engages blind women to detect breast cancer, and Specialisterne, which provides meaningful jobs to people with autism. Both examples caught considerable attention from participants. >>Invitation >>Programme >>Presentation >>Article in Feuille d'avis officielle de la Republique et Canton de Genève (in French, PDF)
20 March 2014, Geneva: Side event at the Human Rights Council
On the occasion of the 25th Human Rights Council, the Permanent Mission of Austria and the International Disability Alliance, together with the Permanent Missions of Ethiopia, Finland, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Thailand, supported by the Zero Project, the Essl Foundation and the World Future Council, held a side event on “Re-engineering society for inclusion: Implementation of the CRPD and other international obligations on accessibility”. The event, which took place at Room 27, Palais des Nations, on Thursday 20th March 2014, at 1-3pm, was moderated by H.E. Thomas Hajnoczi, Ambassador of Austria, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations Office at Geneva. Speakers were:
27-28 February 2014, UN Vienna: Third Zero Project Conference
The third Zero Project Conference "Accessibility: Innovative Policies and Practices for Persons with Disabilities" was held on 27 and 28th February 2014 at the United Nations Vienna International Centre. More than 55 innovative practices and policies from around the world covering all areas of accessibility were presented. Topics included disability-inclusive development, barrier-free cities, ICT accessibility, accessible products and services, and much more. Amongst the many outstanding speakers were:
9 October 2013, Geneva: Statement at 129th IPU Assembly
The Zero Project has participated at the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which was held on 7-9th October 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. In particular, the Zero Project's representative in Geneva, Ms Ingrid Heindorf, highlighted the project's policy work during the Assembly's panel discussion on the promotion of international commitments and defending the rights of vulnerable groups on Wednesday, 9th October. At the panel discussion parliamentarians with disabilities, including Mirko Tomassoni, MP and former Head of State from San Marino, launched a Call to Act: Ensuring the Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Political and Public Life which comprises recommendations to the IPU and IPU Member Parliaments for how to best promote the rights of persons with disabilities, in particular concerning their participation in political and public life. To this latter document the World Future Council's Geneva representative, Ingrid Heindorf, provided considerable input. Please find the document in English and French here below: CALL TO ACT / APPEL A L’ACTION
Zero Project 2014: Accessibility
No one can enjoy a human right to which one does not have access. For this simple reason Accessibility will be at the core of our third Zero Project Conference in 2014 and specifically we will focus to research about innovative policies implementing UN CRPD Article 9 and thus providing for the accessibility of the built environment, transport, information and communication as well as other goods and services available to the public. As in previous years we reached out to civil society and disabled peoples’ organizations, CRPD Committee members, academics and policy-makers around the world for nominating innovative practices and policies. By the end of August 2013 we had received over 65 policy nominations and about 250 practice nominations from about 60 countries!! Thanks to everyone who participated!
17 July 2013, New York: Side Event at CoSP
On 17th July 2013 the World Future Council and the Essl Foundation supported hosting the side event “Economic empowerment of persons with disabilities: where we are now and the way forward post-2015″ at the 6th Conference of the State Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The event was co-organized by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights as well as the Permanent Missions of Austria, Finland, Thailand and New Zealand. More than 140 participants attended the event, which focused on ways to include the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 agenda in light of the forthcoming High-level Meeting on Disability and Development and beyond, with a focus on promoting decent work opportunities and ensuring the realization of employment rights (Article 27 of the CRPD) as essential means to achieve economic empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities.
The discussion was opened and led by H.E. Jim McLay, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations in New York.
Among the speakers were:
25 March 2013, Quito: Statement at the IPU 128th Assembly
On 25th March the 128th IPU Assembly held a panel discussion on the rights of children with disabilities. According to the first ever World Report on Disability, the number of children aged 0–14 years experiencing disability is estimated at 95 million, with 13 million children experiencing severe difficulties. Most of these children face obstacles in terms of access to education, health care in general and rehabilitation and reintegration in society. For some children, their disability means being stigmatized and excluded. In low-income countries, the situation is even more worrying. Meaningful action involving all stakeholders, in particular parliamentarians, must be taken. Such action should result in the provision of better care and assistance to these children and should include ensuring equal opportunities for them and their rehabilitation and integration into their community. Click to read the full Concept note
The panel as well as the debate afterwards was moderated by Mr Ian Liddel-Grainger MP, United Kingdom. Speakers included:
The World Future Council got the opportunity to highlight its work in the field of children with disabilities. Click to read the Statement by Ingrid Heindorf.
7 March 2013, Geneva: Side Event at the Human Rights Council
The side event Promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities: Where are we now and the way forward post-2015 on 7th March at the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council was a great success! It was held by the Permanent Missions of Austria, Finland, New Zealand and Thailand to the United Nations, as well as the International Disability Alliance, with the support of the Essl Foundation and the World Future Council.
About 40 representatives from Permanent Missions such as the US, UK, Spain, Lithuania, Australia, Norway, Thailand, New Zealand, Austria, Finland and other countries as well as representatives from international organizations such as the ILO, OHCHR, Council of Europe, UNICEF, the International Campaign for the Ban of Landmines and others attended.
At the event we could present the Zero Project's work on innovative policies and practices that promote employment rights of persons with disabilities and discussed how to best enhance the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 MDG agenda.
18-19 February 2013, Vienna: Second Zero Project Conference
In collaboration with the International Labour Organization, the World Future Council, the Essl Foundation and Bank Austria held their second Zero Project Conference on "Employment Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Innovative Policies and Innovative Practices" on 18-19th February 2013.
Coming to Vienna, Austria, from around Europe and around the world, we welcomed, amongst others:
New Policy Toolkit for Human Rights on FuturePolicy.org
Good political solutions exist for most of the essential challenges to humanity. To highlight these already existing solutions the World Future Council has launched a new toolkit on policies protecting and advancing the rights of persons with disabilities at www.futurepolicy.org.
The objective of the FuturePolicy.org website is to present sustainable solutions to decision makers and other users and provide them with helpful tools, such as sample texts, case studies, key policy principles and background information.
Many of the policies of the new toolkit have been researched for the Zero Project, which advocates the rights of persons with disabilities internationally. The new section concentrates (for now) on policies in the areas of anti-discrimination and accessibility, independent living, supported decision-making, access to justice, inclusive education as well as work and employment.
3 December 2012, Vienna: Launch of the Zero Project Report 2013
On the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, the Zero Project Report 2013, with its special focus on employment, was launched at the International Film Festival for Human Rights. At the launch, some of the most striking findings and figures of this year’s research were presented and the award-winning Korean movie “Planet of snail” was shown.
The Zero Project Report 2013 includes:
• Survey of 23 Social Indicators on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 55 countries
• Survey of 10 Social Indicators focusing on the employment of persons with disabilities in 82 countries
• 40 Innovative Practices that promote the employment of persons with disabilities
• 11 Innovative Policies that promote the employment of persons with disabilities
Browse this year's results online and download the full report or executive summary! A special report has been published in German. The Zero Project Report is annually published by the Essl Foundation and has been produced in collaboration with the World Future Council.
Zero Project 2013: Work and Employment
After the great success of the first Zero Project Conference held on January 22-23, 2012 in Vienna, for next year’s conference we are focusing on employment rights.
We invited disabled people's organizations and employment experts from all around the world to put forward their nominations of outstanding policies by 15th May 2012 that, under the principles of the UN Convention, realize the Right of Persons with Disabilities to Work, on an equal basis with others.
Out of the 31 policy nominations researched by the World Future Council, the International Scientific Advisory Board selected eleven policies for the Zero Project Report 2013 and the second Zero Project Conference on “The Right to Work: Innovative Policies and Practices for Persons with Disabilities” on 18-19 February 2013 in Vienna.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this important effort!!
21 June 2012, Brussels: Conference at the European Parliament
On 21st June 2012, findings of the international Zero Project Report 2012 were discussed with European parliamentarians, policy experts and disabled people's organizations, underpinning the call for a European solution on accessibility.
This conference, organized by Dr Ádám Kósa MEP, President of the Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament, the World Future Council and the Essl Foundation, in collaboration with the European Disability Forum, hosted a debate on how to unlock Europe’s potential through accessibility led by the members of Bureau of the Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament: Dr Ádám Kósa MEP and Elisabeth Schroedter MEP, as well as, amongst others, Donata Vivanti, Vice-President of the European Disability Forum. In addition, Johan ten Geuzendam, Head of Unit Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the European Commission's DG Justice, opened our final discussion as Keynote Speaker.
The conference took place from 12.30 to 15.00 in JAN 6Q1, at the European Parliament in Brussels.
22-23 January 2012, Vienna: First Zero Project Conference
In 2011, the World Future Council, together with the Essl Foundation, reached out to all the UNCRPD Committee members, to international organizations and to disability rights experts, for nominations of policies that protect the rights of persons with disabilities.
Amongst the 18 laws nominated, eight policies have been chosen in a multilevel selection process. The international policy examples concern the most pressing issues world’s stakeholders will need to address: anti-discrimination; supported decision-making; education; access to justice; and independent living. They were presented and discussed with 250 parliamentarians, representatives from academia, NGOs and foundations from all around the world, at the International Conference on “Good Policies for Persons with Disabilities” on 22-23 January 2012 in Vienna (programme).
"Yes moko, just like the sea which has to move its tides
so we can collect Kaimoana at certain times.
Rules give harmony to our lives
so we live with
Working in harmony with others, ae moko, it’s nature’s
act of saying,
Let us make music all together
if not in reality — then make it your dream."
WFC Councillor Pauline Tangiora
...is about thinking and acting differently, based on respect, dignity and mutual trust
…considers not just what is happening now, but the effects of our actions in the years, decades and centuries to come
… is a means of creating new rules for how we live and work, pass laws and run countries
…is the giving of rights to the poorest, the weakest, the ignored, to the planet and to the other living creatures we share it with
…is a protection for all the people yet to be born, whose lives we are blighting before they have even started
…is about what we do now. Our actions today will determine the conditions of life for centuries to come