Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to Persons with Disabilities

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Learn more about the four main topics that we will discuss at the summit.

During the virtual summit, the focus will be on the following topics:

Panel 1: European Accessibility Act

EU member states have to transpose the European Accessibility Act (EAA) into national law by 2022. The EEA introduces significantly stricter requirements regarding accessibility and duties, including for the private sector. Germany has started with initial work on the necessary national law. Pursuant to the EEA, newly-launched products as well as services must be accessible no later than 28 June 2025.

The panel on the European Accessibility Act will feature two projects from Sweden and Austria which will show how they are already realising accessibility in the private sector today. The aim is to discuss which incentives would be helpful in order to bring about accessibility for private goods and services more quickly and comprehensively. In addition to the two practical examples, different government commissioners and ombudspersons from European countries will enter the discussion to report on their existing work and their experiences with the EAA.

Panel 2: Protection of Women and Children with Disabilities Against Violence

Women, girls and children with disabilities are affected disproportionately by violence. This is why the protection of this vulnerable group against violence is part of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and why the Convention also comprises prevention and intervention strategies. These include concepts for the protection against violence in institutions, access to individual assistance as well as monitoring.

During the panel “Protection of Women and Children with Disabilities Against Violence”, a project fighting gender-specific violence will present its practical work. Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, the German Government’s Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues, will inform panel participants about current needs for action. In addition, the government commissioners and ombudspersons from different European countries will take part in the debate in order to discuss additional political demands as well as legal options for affected persons.

Panel 3: Digitalisation

The digital transformation offers new opportunities and simplifies many processes. It also provides persons with disabilities with new participation opportunities. However, these opportunities will only materialise if digital processes and applications are designed in an accessible manner from the outset. Otherwise, there is a major risk that persons with disabilities will experience even more exclusion.

During the panel on digitalisation, projects from Germany and Italy will report on their work and show how they are implementing digitalisation in an accessible manner. In addition, there will be a debate about the societal and political dimension of an accessible digital transformation. For this purpose, we will not just hear from practical projects but also from Dorothee Bär, Minister of State and Federal Government Commissioner for Digital Affairs, and from government commissioners and ombudspersons from across Europe, who will exchange views on opportunities and challenges for persons with disabilities in connection with the digital transformation.

Panel 4: Inclusive Development Cooperation

Worldwide more than a billion people live with a disability – roughly 80 percent of them in developing and emerging countries. Persons with disabilities are affected disproportionately by poverty and are less likely to have access to education, labour markets as well as health and social benefits. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires its contracting states to make their international aid inclusive.

The panel “Inclusive Development Cooperation” will showcase projects from Finland and Germany that illustrate how inclusion can systematically become part of international aid efforts thanks to innovative approaches and strategies. Dr. Bärbel Kofler, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance as well as government commissioners and ombudspersons from European countries will also participate in the discussion and share their expectations and experiences with this topic.