17 November 2020. The European Standardization Bodies CEN and CENELEC, have just approved the first European standard on accessibility of the built environment, led by the Fundación ONCE and the Spanish Association for Standardization (UNE).
The EN 17210 Standard on Accessibility and usability of the built environment. Functional requirements establish the standards built environments, including urban spaces, will have to meet in order to be considered accessible. The ONCE Foundation and the Spanish Association for Standardization have directed the work on this pioneering standard in Europe. It will promote accessibility and equal opportunities, thereby facilitating the social integration of people with disabilities.
This expected standard, which will be published in early 2021 and will be available in Spanish in the first quarter of the year, corresponds to a mandate from the European Commission (EC). It has been drawn up with the participation and consensus of leading European and Spanish organizations representing all the parties involved: governments, national standardization bodies, users, consumers, groups of people with disabilities and businesses.
The document has been drawn up by the JTC 11 Joint Technical Standardization Committee on accessibiliity of the built environment of CEN and CENELEC, chaired by Jesús Hernández Galán (ONCE Foundation) and managed by the UNE secretariat. The standard has been developed with the impetus of the EC under Mandate M/420 in which it requested European standardization bodies to develop a standard that would promote accessibility of the built environment in Europe. The European standard has been based on, among others, the Spanish UNE-ISO 21542 Standard, which was pioneering when it was published.
Technical standards provide an effective response to major business challenges and are a strong support for governments in the effective deployment and regulation of public policies
The document has been approved with broad support from the National Standards Organizations that are members of CEN and CENELEC, including UNE on behalf of Spain. Fourteen European countries have worked very actively on it and the participation of users, represented by ANEC (European Association for the Coordination of Consumer Representation in Standardization); EDF (European Disability Forum) and AGE Platform Europe (European network of non-profit organizations for the elderly), has been essential.
Other key players have been ENAT (European Accessible Tourism Network), SBS (Small Business Standards), which represents SMEs in standardization, and ETSA (European Textile Services Association).
Spain is an international benchmark in drawing up standards that promote accessibility; For example, the future ISO 21902 International Standard on accessible tourism, is led by Fundación ONCE, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and UNE. This is the first global standard in this field and is expected to be published shortly.
Furthermore, Spain has spearheaded the first European ICT accessibility standard that has recently been included in the Spanish catalogue as UNE-EN 301549.