DOHA: The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SCDL) launched its first Accessibility Forum today in Doha, an initiative that will regularly bring together private organisations, NGO’s, Government representatives and people with disabilities in Qatar to discuss what needs to be done to ensure a seamless fan experience is delivered for people with disabilities attending the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.
The first Forum was attended by stakeholders charged with delivering infrastructure and services required for the tournament, including the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC), Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MoME), Ashghal, Qatar Rail, Hamad International Airport (HIA), SASOL Qatar, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and the SC. It was also attended by the Arab Blind Federation and representatives from the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at Rumailah Hospital-HMC.
The Accessibility Forum will act as an independent consultation group that will advise the SCDL and its stakeholders on specific disability requirements to ensure the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar is the most accessible and inclusive tournament ever, leaving a lasting legacy for people with disabilities in the country. Forum members, who will meet three times a year for small focus groups and thematic information sessions, will discuss issues with stadiums, hotels and public spaces linked to the 2022 tournament and make recommendations that will be assessed and implemented across a variety of projects.
After opening remarks at today’s inaugural Forum from SCDL Secretary General, HE Hassan Al Thawadi, representatives from MoTC, MoPH and a number of other key stakeholders involved in the delivery of the 2022 FIFA World CupTM gave presentations to the Forum members in attendance. These includedEid Hamad Al Qahtani, SCDL Project Manager, Qatar Foundation Stadium, Noora Ali Al Suwaidi, Team Leader at Qatar National Master Plan, Abdulaziz Saleh Alyafei, Senior Project Engineer at the MoTC, and DrWafa Al Yazeedi, Chairperson of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at Rumailah Hospital-HMC.
Dr Khalid Al Naemi, President of the Arabic Blind Federation, also moderated a panel discussion and Q&A session with the SCDL, Ashghal, Qatar Rail, HIA and QTA. After listening to the presentations and participating in the panel discussion and Q&A, Forum members in the audience were tasked with identifying five key priorities that they wish to see addressed by the stakeholders in attendance. The five priorities that came from today’s first forum were as follows:
Adopting the masterplan criteria guide for people with disabilities in buildings and installations – MoME.
Adopting the motor disability guide on how to use public transport from and to the airport – MoTC.
Training airport and hotel personnel on ways to deal with the disabled community in general – HIA and QTA.
Integrating people with disabilities in the Volunteer Programme of 2022 FIFA World Cup – SCDL.
Setting up a mechanism to involve the disabled community in the planning and implementation of projects by the participants in the Forum through workshops to be held all year long – All participants in the Forum.
Over the next 12 months, the SCDL and other stakeholders involved will assess the recommendations from the inaugural Accessibility Forum. There will then be a meeting in 12 months’ time where the stakeholders involved will update the Forum members on progress against the five recommendations and update on how they have helped shape policy and procedural matters connected to their specific projects.
SCDL Community Engagement Manager, Khalid Al Jumaily, said: “The Forum’s purpose is to provide a platform for meaningful engagement between Qatar’s disabled communities and the various organisations and government departments that are delivering infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Our goal is to ensure that everyone attending the World Cup in six years’ time has a truly seamless fan experience, whether that’s entering stadiums, staying at hotels or enjoying Qatar’s public spaces. We are also committed to ensuring the tournament leaves a lasting legacy for disabled communities in Qatar. The Forum and recommendations that came from this inaugural session will help us achieve that goal.”
Dr. Salih Ali Al Marri, General Secretary Assistant from the Ministry of Public Health, who spoke at the Forum, said: “Qatar has gone a long way in enabling people with special needs. This was evident in the vision I presented at the 9th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in June 2016.”
He added: “Challenges facing persons with disabilities can only be addressed through the integration of these people into society. We at the Ministry of Public Health are working to overcome this challenge by removing the social and environmental hurdles that prevent the disabled community from leading an active life in society. In this respect, we modernised the Qatari engineering guide on access of people with disabilities. We trust that this forum and other similar initiatives will effectively help achieve equality and fairness for all groups of the society as envisioned by the Qatar National Vision 2030.”
Eid Al Qahtani, Project Manager at Qatar Foundation Stadium, one of the host venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, said: “The built environment should be barrier-free and adapted to fulfil the needs of all people equally, enabling everyone to participate in Qatar’s World Cup celebrations equally, confidently and independently with choice and dignity. The Forum will outline what is necessary to ensure the delivery of a seamless fan experience for people with disabilities attending the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup - including the stadiums, hotels and public spaces.”
Accessibility Forum members represent individuals with different types of visible and invisible disabilities, ranging from physical (visual, speech, hearing, deaf, brain injury, use of a wheel chair); cognitive (intellectual impairments); perceptual (learning disability) and mental health disabilities. Other members, who may not have disabilities, come from organisations representing disabled people across Qatar and the region. They have been selected on the basis of the nature of their work, their experience, availability, expertise and interest in participating in accessibility and community matters related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
For further information about the frequency of meetings of how to get involved with the Accessibility Forum, please contact Community@sc.qa. -- www.sc.qa