Standards are needed to describe what requirements should be made and how to get an accessible and equal society. Standards are also needed for different products and services to work together. In addition, all 177 countries that have adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities must take part in the development accessibility standards.
It ought to be obvious to all that a society should be designed so that everyone can participate. This requires right thinking from the start. Involve users who experience barriers in community planning as well as in product development and decision making. We hope that a new European standard for integrating accessibility and universal design into organisations will be approved by the end of 2018 and support that work.
The Swedish Standards Institute has convened a coordinating group on accessibility in order to create an overview of what is going on.
Internationally, a lot of work is taking place. Standards used to impose procurement requirements directly affect Sweden through their links to EU legislation. The EU has also adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is active within the standardisation field. Other countries, such as Canada, are reinforcing their accessibility laws, and the need for common standards is increasing.
In Sweden, the Swedish Standards Consumers & Workers Council finances project fees and travel for non-profit organisations, with the aim of balancing out the dominant position of trade and industry. The problem is that the money provided by the state has already been used up for 2018. The Swedish Disability Rights Federation and the Swedish Consumers' Association have taken steps to increase the budget.