Rebeca Grynspan: Remarks at the reception to launch the UNPRPD Publication “Towards an inclusive and accessible future for all. Voices of persons with disabilities on the post-2015 development framework”

Sep 24, 2013

Remarks by Rebeca Grynspan
UN Under-Secretary General and UNDP Associate Administrator at the Reception to launch the UNPRPD Publication “Towards an inclusive and accessible future for all. Voices of persons with disabilities on the post-2015 development framework.”
UNICEF House, New York

Dear Friends,

It is such a pleasure to be here with you to launch this important publication, celebrate the ground we have covered to date in terms of mainstreaming disability into development and reflect together on how – going forward – we will tackle the many challenges that still lie ahead.

Many of you were with us one year and a half ago, in December 2011, when the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was officially launched.

At that time, the UNPRPD was a little more than an idea. Today, it has become a reality with 11 projects being rolled out on the ground in 13 countries and plans already in place to launch a new wave of projects in the near future.

Through these projects, the UNPRPD is starting to make a difference for persons with disabilities around the world. For instance, it is supporting inclusive education in Togo, the strengthening of national statistical capacity on disability in Indonesia and the Pacific, deinstitutionalization in Moldova and efforts to realize the right to work for persons with disabilities in Costa Rica – just to mention a few examples.

I would like to sincerely thank all the partners that have made this encouraging progress possible: the participating UN organizations; the civil society partners – the International Disability Alliance and the International Disability and Development Consortium; and the countries that generously contributed to the UNPRPD Fund: Australia, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Mexico, Norway and Sweden.

Dear Friends,

It was said before, but let me reiterate. An important step forward was taken yesterday with the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development.

Several commitments that were made by Member States will enable us to significantly advance the disability rights agenda over the next years – and of course for our part we are very happy that the role of the UNPRPD was specifically acknowledged in the Outcome Document. 

But, most importantly, there was a strong recognition that persons with disabilities must be included in all aspects of development. There was an endorsement of the idea that an accessible society is not only a better society for persons with disabilities – it is, to go back to one of the themes of the publication that is being launched today – a better society for all. 

The challenge now is of course action. How do we take this momentum and ensure that it is translated into reality?

All of us have a significant role to play in articulating normative standards into policies, programmes and services that are responsive to the aspirations of people with disabilities. This is certainly not an easy path. It is in fact a path that will require us to significantly rethink the way in which we have been doing things. However, we have an urgent moral imperative to move forward without hesitation.

Much still remains to be done to ensure that persons with disabilities can enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with others. 

There are some messages of the report that I want to emphasize today:

The political leadership of governments is indispensable to the realization of the right of persons with disabilities, but must be accompanied by mechanisms to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement and strong channels of accountability. 

Indeed, a new approach is needed – an approach that recognizes human rights, not charity, as the basis for the inclusion of girls and boys, women and men with disabilities. “Nothing about us without us” is as valid as ever. 

But it is heartening to see so many people here this evening.

We look forward to working with each and every one of you to pursue this important agenda and realize our common goal: an inclusive and accessible future for all.

Thank you. 


UNDP Around the world