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    EU Agencies Study Web Accessibility and Progress on Green Bonds Rule

    April 13, 2022

    The European Council has agreed its position on the proposal on the European Green Bonds Regulation while the European Commission (EC) published a study on inclusive web accessibility for persons with cognitive disabilities.

    Proposed European Green Bonds Regulation. The European Council agreed its position on European Green Bonds, one of the main instruments for financing investments related to green technologies, energy efficiency, resource efficiency and sustainable transport and research infrastructure. The regulation lays down uniform requirements for issuers of bonds that wish to use the designation "European Green Bond" or "EuGB" for their environmentally sustainable bonds made available to investors in the European Union. The regulation also establishes a registration system and supervisory framework for external reviewers of European green bonds. Moving forward, the Council will start negotiations with the European Parliament to agree on a final version of the text.

    Inclusive web accessibility for persons with cognitive disabilities. This European Commission study provides a comprehensive overview of research on the barriers to cognitive accessibility and the factors that have an impact on the autonomy and participation of persons with cognitive disabilities in the digital environment. The study makes practical proposals to improve independent and inclusive access in the areas of web accessibility requirements, web design, awareness-raising, education, technology, and personalization. The report notes that correct use of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) may improve access for all users, including people with cognitive disabilities. However, the particular obstacles faced by these individuals and appropriate resolutions are not well-understood by developers or designers of technology. To address this, one suggestion made by stakeholders is to make web accessibility knowledge compulsory for information and communications technology students. The study also highlights the following key recommendations and improvement areas to overcome these barriers:

    • Adding more visual support for orientation, navigation, operability, and understanding to help people use websites independently
    • Focusing on requirements that consider the relationship between several elements on the same page or in a process. While many of the existing requirements focus on one element at a time, a common barrier to cognitive accessibility is excessive complexity stemming from the interplay of several elements in an interface
    • Offering support for individual options by making it easier for the user to customize the interface to their needs, including through different modalities
    • Raising awareness that cognitive accessibility benefits everyone

     

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    Keywords: Europe, EU, Banking, Sustainable Finance, Green Bonds, Climate Change Risk, ESG, Green Bond Standard, Disclosures, Cognitive Accessibility, Securities, Web Accessibility, Accessibility, EC, WCAG, W3C

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