RIYADH, 3 May 2006 — As part of his effort to integrate the disabled people into mainstream society, Prince Sultan ibn Salman, head of the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research (PSCDR), signed three agreements with international institutions here.
The move will help to build a global network that will help the PSCDR to share experience and deliver more in the fields of disability research, policy planning and legislation.
"The first agreement was signed by Prince Sultan and by the representatives of a UK-based organization called Autism Speaks, which struggles with autism spectrum disorders," said a PSCDR press statement.
Autism Speaks is dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatment, and cure for autism, while it also works to raise public awareness about autism globally.
Referring to other agreements, the statement said that Prince Sultan and the India-based National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) signed another major agreement for promotion of employment of disabled people of India.
Javed Abidi, NCPEDPÕs executive director, who visited Riyadh on the invitation of Prince Sultan, inked the agreement. This agreement will help to explore opportunities for exchange of information and consultations on issues related to policy development and strategies to influence legislation.
Spelling out the salient features of this agreement, NCPEDP chief Abidi said: "The PSCDR and its Indian counterpart would exchange ideas in policy development to bring about structural changes to make cities and towns disabled-friendly. The two institutions would maintain their underlying focus on policy development and legislation."
He urged the governments of India and the Gulf countries to make all settlements disabled-friendly. In this context, he gave the example of the two holy mosques of Makkah and Madinah, where elderly people use 95 percent of the wheelchairs.
"Hence, the implementation of standard building codes will greatly help elderly people also in terms of accessibility," said Abidi.
He also urged the corporate world of India and Gulf states to provide more employment opportunities for the disabled people.
Another major agreement was signed with the International Commission on Technology and Accessibility Arab region chair.