Barcelona, Spain, February 20, 2023 – United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the World Blind Union (WBU) are pleased to announce the signing of a historic Memorandum of Understanding to solidify and enhance the partnership between the two organizations.
Over the next three years, this agreement will guide the work of UCLG and WBU, resulting in an increased focus on the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of local governments and greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in urban development and city planning processes.
The MoU represents the first such agreement between UCLG and an organization of persons with disabilities. It will be signed by UCLG Secretary General Emilia Saiz and WBU CEO Marc Workman on February 20, 2023, during the UCLG Annual Retreat.
"UCLG is committed to promoting inclusion, accessibility and universal design, and it is through partnerships with organizations like the WBU that we will translate our commitments into action," said Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretary General. "We are proud to sign this MoU with the WBU to work together with our members to ensure that cities and communities around the world are inclusive and accessible for all.”
The MoU highlights the need to ensure the active and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in the design and implementation of urban policies, programs and services, and the vital role of local and regional governments in removing barriers to inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities.
"We are thrilled to sign this MoU with UCLG and believe that it represents an important step towards addressing accessibility barriers and ensuring inclusion of persons with disabilities in cities and communities around the globe," said Marc Workman, CEO of the World Blind Union. "We look forward to working with UCLG and its members to ensure that cities are designed and planned with the needs of all people in mind, including those who are blind or partially sighted."
Together, the WBU and UCLG will leverage their respective mandates and strengths to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in urban development and support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This partnership will result in the improved exchange of information and best practices as well as the establishment of joint advocacy efforts and projects.
The WBU, a founding member of the International Disability Alliance, is a global organization that represents an estimated 253 million people who are blind or partially sighted. UCLG represents and defends the interests of local and regional governments and is committed to promoting equitable and sustainable societies characterized by solidarity and local democracy.