On the eve of Children’s Day, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska together with UNICEF representatives, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov and families with children conducted an audit for accessibility of Boryspil International Airport.
The purpose of this visit was to assess the availability of airport infrastructure and services for various categories of citizens, including families with young children and people with physical or mental disabilities.
Boryspil International Airport is the main air gate of the country. And it should be an example of a barrier-free environment. I want a single standard of barrier-free approach for airports, railway and bus stations to be developed at the state level,” Olena Zelenska said.
The participants of the airport audit inspected the rooms for parents with children, the waiting area for unaccompanied minors, the border control area, toilets and a playground.
The inspection involved families raising children with various developmental disabilities. Their recommendations helped obtain a comprehensive assessment of the arrangement of a barrier-free, child-friendly and disabled-friendly space at Boryspil Airport.
Thanks to the international expertise of UNICEF, professional advice and access to best practices have been obtained, which will be used in the development of a barrier-free infrastructure in Ukraine.
"Creating a barrier-free environment helps realize the right of every child to equal opportunities enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We hope that barrier-free airports will become an example of creating accessible public spaces in Ukraine, including infrastructure facilities - subways, railway and bus stations, checkpoints," said UNICEF Representative in Ukraine Lotta Sylwander.
After the audit, a meeting-dialogue took place. Participants commented on improving the infrastructure, taking into account the necessary services for children with various forms of disability. Obstacles on the way from the airport entrance to the waiting area for the plane were also identified. In particular, the following recommendations were outlined:
improve the provision of information on the opportunities for parents with children both on the airport website and on its territory;
add structured airport route navigation;
give the right of priority pass through customs and passport control to parents with children;
arrange the infrastructure taking into account the needs of people with various forms of physical or mental disability;
create a lactation room.
Based on the comments received from the participants, appropriate recommendations will be elaborated together with the UNICEF team. They must be implemented at the country's airports with the assistance of the Ministry of Infrastructure.
"Quality infrastructure is impossible without meeting the basic needs of all users. Boryspil Airport, as the main airport in the country, has become a pilot project in which we want to create
a barrier-free, comfortable environment for all. In the future, we seek to extend these principles to other infrastructure facilities," said Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov.
The construction of barrier-free infrastructure facilities is one of the directions of the National Strategy for the Creation of a Barrier-Free Space in Ukraine, which was developed within the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska.