There are more than 1 billion persons (15% of the total population) with some kind of disability worldwide, who, as anyone of us, have rights to full and equal realisation of human rights and participation in the society. To help exercise their human rights, in 1993 the United Nations adopted the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, which, among others, sets the right to receive rehabilitation and support services, recreation, training, as well as the possibility to travel and stay overnight where they want to.

The right to tourism is one of the manifestations of the general rights. Accessible tourism requires to review the existing offers and seek for improvements in order to adapt them to all people, irrespective of their age, look and ability to see, hear, feel and move. The UniGreen project implemented by Kurzeme Planning Region is a small, but important step in addressing the challenges of the nature tourism accessibility in border regions of Latvia and Lithuania. UniGreen provides for a naure guides’ training, where the guides learn on how to guide the groups and work with peoples with disabilities, as well as other activities aimed at promoting the accessibility of nature tourism. Out of 13 infrastructure objects to be constructed and developed with the project support, 9 are being adapted for people with disabilities (incl. persons in wheelchairs and the blind). At the moment, there are already 3 objects constructed – a waling trail along Venta river in Skrunda, a seaside trail in Roja and a Plateliai lake viewing platform at Žemaitija National Park. All the objects are adapted for people with disabilities.

The aim of the other project introduced by Kurzeme Planning Region “I See” is to promote equal attitudes towards persons with disabilities and to improve social inclusion of persons with visual impairments, improving the accessibility, efficiency and diversification of socail services. The project provides a complex solution for improving the quality of life for persons with visual impairments and disabilities, for reducing discrimination and ensuring better possibility to participate in economic, social, political and cultural life.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a UN initiative that is being annually observed worldwide. We invite everyone to use this day to debate on the challenges of promoting the equality and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the society, using their rights in full and on equal footing with other people and influencing the programmes and policies affecting their lives.

The Projects “I See” and “UniGreen” are being implemented with the support of the Interreg Latvia – Lithuania Programme.
The above reflects author’s views and the Managing Authority of Latvia-Lithuania Programme is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.”

Information prepared by:
Alise Lūse
UniGreen Project Manager
Kurzeme Planning Region
Tel.: + 371 26567874,