IWAS and World Disability Union join forces


The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) and the World Disability Union (WDU) have signed an agreement to promote Para sports, accessibility and inclusion through the IWAS World Games.

Established in 2011, the WDU supports the delivery of the United Nations’ Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities through its 150 members from almost 70 countries.

IWAS and the WDU plan to use the IWAS World Games – one of the biggest gatherings of athletes with physical impairments – as a platform for promoting accessibility in host countries as well as the basic rights of people with disabilities.

IWAS President, Rudi Van Den Abbeele, said: “We are delighted to be formalising our relationship with the WDU after several years of working together.

“The IWAS World Games are held in different countries and cities and offer a real opportunity to spread the importance of accessibility and open the eyes of the community to equal rights. We believe this is a great way of helping to secure a legacy for everyone who lives in or visits these places.”

As well as promoting equality of opportunity, other key parts of the agreement include offering host cities the chance to be assessed for accessibility according to WDU standards and given a certificate of compliance.

Dr. Tariq Sultan bin Khadim and Rudi van den Abbeele sign an MOU
Dr. Tariq Sultan bin Khadim and Rudi van den Abbeele could not meet in person to sign the MOU, but did so virtually

Dr. Tariq Sultan bin Khadim, First Vice-President of the World Disability Union, emphasised that the memorandum of understanding stemmed from the two parties’ desire to work together and their eagerness to enhance the services provided to people with disabilities at global levels.

Bin Khadim also noted that the articles of the memorandum identified areas of cooperation and mechanisms in a way that serves the plans and strategies of the two sides, strengthens the ties between them and promotes the provision of the best logistics services in all global tournaments hosting people with disabilities.

Bin Khadim added that the World Disability Union seeks to cooperate with all parties concerned with the issues of people with disabilities. This is in order to implement global environmental standards that facilitate the integration of people with disabilities in society and achieve their independence to enjoy a normal life, realising its developmental role in society.

The IWAS Games take place every two years and include a World Games and Youth World Games. Over the years they have helped produce some of the biggest names in Paralympic sport.

In 2021 the IWAS Guttmann Games will be added for sports that are not on the Paralympic Games programme, offering a global platform for the growth and development of Para sports in general.

The WDU has four main areas of work. These are prevention of disability, equal opportunities, improvements in rehabilitation and the uniform introduction of universal standards in accessibility. The organisation evaluates building projects, offers seminars and courses and promotes inclusion.