Technology and Grassroots Inclusion in Global Governance: A Survey Study of Disability Rights Advocates and Effective Participation

AbstractThe effective participation of the disability community in global governance is essential to ensure that key development initiatives empower the world’s one billion people with disabilities. Technology can play an important role in the creation of a more inclusive global governance. This paper discusses the results of the first global survey of Disabled People’s Organizations’ (DPO) leaders on these issues. Three levels of analysis are reviewed, including: (1) accessibility and barriers to effective participation; (2) the role of low-cost accessible technological solutions for remote participation; and (3) the use of online technologies – in particular social media platforms – by DPOs to bridge the gap between disability grassroots and global governance processes. After mapping barriers to participation, the role of technology vis-à-vis these obstacles is reviewed. Although only a small number of international conferences offer accessible virtual participation, responses from DPO advocates that used this technology provide strong evidence of the potential that these tools have to improve accessibility in global governance. Furthermore, disability organizations all over the world have adopted social media platforms as channels to liaise with their constituents and involve them in policy-making processes.

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