On January 22 and 23, 2012 the International Conference on Good Policies for Persons with Disabilities takes place for the first time in Vienna, Austria. It is part of the Zero Project - zero as in zero barriers over 250 stakeholders from all over the world. Future legislation for a better world is the main theme. The conference is organised by the Essl Foundation in cooperation with the World Future Council and its founder Jakob von Uexkull, as well as by UniCredit Bank Austria.

One of eight selected laws: the Swedish Act Concerning Support and Service to Persons with Certain Functional Impairments.

Already since 1993 Sweden legally entitles persons with extensive disabilities to cash payments for the purchase of self-directed personal assistance services. The Act concerning Support and Service to Persons with Certain Functional Impairments sets out the right for persons with considerable and permanent functional impairments to "good" as opposed to basic living conditions throughthe provision of ten measures for special support. One of the measures constitutes the right to personal assistance, setting the foundation for ademand-driven and competitive personal assistance market.

"Independent Living means having the same range of options and the same degree of self-determination that non-disabled people take for granted,"explains Adolf Ratzka, Founder of the Institute on Independent Living. "The Act needs to be further developed: recent restrictive court interpretations highlight the need for re-formulating its original intent and to expand its scope. Especially during the present European Year for Solidarity amongst Generations and Active Ageing we need to promote a wider independence of elderly people from institutionalized living."

This law, especially its most important aspects, will be discussed at the Zero Conference in Vienna by Adolf Ratzka in view to develop model legislation. Participating in the workshop will be Jamie Bolling - ENILs Executive Director who says, "Initiatives like the Zero Conference are important even more so now during times of cuts or barriers affecting people with disability throughout Europe. We depend upon good legislation and respect for our rights to be able to live lives with full participation in our democratic societies."

The Zero Project: establishment as long-term think tank.

The aim of the Zero Project is to be a leading international think tank for the elimination of barriers in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in May 2008. This is to be achieved by regular publication of a novel international comparative study, the so called Zero Report, congresses like the current Zero Conference and a comprehensive website. The Zero Project website at www.zeroproject.org will be officially launched at the conference in January 2012 and will have a focus on the Good Practices and Good Policies identified in the current Zero Report. As an interactive platform for persons with disabilities, NGOs, policymakers, research and business, the page will facilitate a variety of forms of participation.

Published 23/01/2012