LA PAZ – The Bolivian city of La Paz inaugurated on Thursday an international forum to gather ideas and proposals on accessibility with an eye toward making the capital more livable for people with disabilities and eliminating barriers that face them each day.
The capital’s mayor, Luis Revilla, told reporters that the forum, which will conclude on Friday, will feature “a gathering of specialists and representatives of several Latin American cities (who) will discuss the city and the accessibility mechanisms for people with disabilities.”
La Paz, which is located on hillsides surrounding a narrow valley, is a “difficult city,” as Revilla called it, where the many levels make it quite problematic for people with reduced mobility to adapt themselves to daily life.
“Making a city accessible is not an easy task, nor can it be done overnight,” said Revilla during the inauguration of the forum, in which experts from Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Spain and Uruguay are taking part.
At the meeting, where the discussions will be simultaneously translated into sign language, will be many ambassadors, university students, professors and municipal technicians from La Paz and the neighboring city of El Alto.
With the ideas provided by the specialists, “the municipal government is going to be able to outline its policies regarding people with disabilities, taking into account that we’ve already approved a law and that we have a citizen council of people with disabilities and now what remains is to establish the working plan in the medium and long term,” the mayor said.
“Right now we’re making adjustments ... placing ramps for wheelchairs, but it’s clear that there’s much yet to be done,” he said.
In addition, the city government launched a contest in which university students can prepare proposals for projects to facilitate accessibility in La Paz and the winning project, which will be announced on Friday, will begin to be implemented next year.
The first meeting of the accessibility group of countries belonging to the Ibero-American Capital Cities Union (UCCI) will meet on Thursday afternoon.