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European experts underline the key role of standards in public policies on accessibility


  • The first European standard on accessibility for the built environment, EN 17210:2021, was presented at this event. This new standard, a milestone in accessibility, will be added to the Spanish catalogue in the near future.
  • Technical standards provide a strong support for governments in the effective deployment and regulation of public policies, helping them to meet the requirements of society in terms of accessibility.

22 March 2021. During the event, leading European accessibility experts underlined the decisive role of technical standards in promoting accessibility policies in Europe. This is one of the main conclusions of the virtual workshop 'Common accessibility criteria for the built environment: results of Mandate M/420', organized by Fundación ONCE and the Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE, took place today.

The experts participating in the workshop included government representatives, people with disabilities, consumers and architects, who highlighted the importance of these documents as effective tools for the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities and society in general.

These standards, which are being developed under the framework of the European Commission, will promote the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the EC Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030.

At the event, the first European standard on accessibility in the built environment, EN 17210:2021 Accessibility and Usability of the Built Environment, was presented. Functional requirements .This new standard, which is a milestone for accessibility, is of great help to all those professionals involved in the commissioning, design, construction or management of buildings and urban spaces. The standard defines the functional requirements, which provides great flexibility to choose between the different possible technical solutions.

This standard, which will soon be adopted in the Spanish catalogue, has been developed in the European standardization committee CEN-CENELEC JTC 11, which is responsible for the development of European standards for accessibility in the built environment. Spain has played a leading role in this European standard, both from the UNE secretariat, as well as the leadership of the project by Fundación ONCE, among others.

In addition, the future normative documents in this area were announced at the workshop: the Technical Reports FprCEN/TR 17621 and FprCEN/TR 17622, which are in the final approval phase. These show the technical criteria required to meet the standard, and explain how to evaluate compliance.

The meeting was attended by, among others, Katarina Ivankovic-Knezevic, the European Commission's Director at the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion; Jesús Hernández-Galán, Director of Universal Accessibility and Innovation at Fundación ONCE and Chairman of CEN/CLC/JTC 11; Cinzia Missiroli, Director of Standardisation and Digital Solutions at CEN-CENELEC; Tatiana Alemán, Managing Director of Ceapat and Javier García, Director General of the Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE