Unleash potential of children and adults with disabilities today to shape richer, more inclusive global agendas
Joint press release
New York – As the 2013 UN General Assembly for the first time convenes a special meeting on the issue of children and adults with disabilities, UNDP and UNICEF, along with the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPcwd), are urging Member States, UN agencies, civil society groups and other partners to engage more with people with disabilities themselves in the crafting of global agendas.
People with disabilities – including children -- are too often judged by what they cannot do, rather than what they can do,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “This meeting provides a great opportunity to harness the advice, ideas and vision of people with disabilities to improve not only their lives, but our own, as well.”
The evidence provided by the World Report on Disability shows that compared to non-disabled people, children and adults with disabilities experience less legal protection, higher rates of poverty, lower educational achievements, poorer health care and less political and cultural participation. Disability disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, with higher disability prevalent in lower income countries, and among women, children and older people. Adults with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed and to earn less when they are. Children with disabilities are less likely to attend school, which in turn decreases their chances of developing skills for future employment.
With the General Assembly as a backdrop, a series of events will give a strong voice to children and adults with disabilities. A high level meeting on 23 September will focus on disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond, building on the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006.
“One billion people—one seventh of the world's population—are calling on us to act. Calling on decision-makers worldwide to take action, in partnership with persons with disabilities, to make decisions that will affect every aspect of their lives and those of their families,” said Yannis Vardakastanis, Chair, International Disability Alliance.
“Some progress has been made in improving the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society. However, in spite of such gains, the rights of persons with disabilities remain largely invisible in most mainstream development processes,” said Vardakastanis. “That must change.”
Such global processes should include persons with disabilities, making full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society a reality, and not just an ideal.
In conjunction with the high-level meeting, the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities will hold its second annual Forum. Convened by UN agencies to partner with civil society, the GPcwd is a network of more than 240 organizations, including international NGOs, national and local NGOs, Disabled People’s Organizations, governments, academia and the private sector, working to advance the rights of children with disabilities at the global, regional and country level.
During a luncheon at the GPcwd, the United Nations Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) will launch a publication that documents the perspective of people with disabilities on the post-2015 development framework. The UNPRPD is a unique collaborative effort that brings together UN entities, governments, organizations of persons with disabilities and the broader civil society to advance disability rights around the world.
The publication, “Towards an inclusive and accessible future for all: Voices of persons with disabilities on the post-2015 development framework,” documents the perspectives of persons with disabilities on inclusive development in ways that are directly relevant to on-going discussions on the post-2015 agenda and compelling for policy makers, mainstream development practitioners and other key stakeholders. Interviewees stress that the human-rights approach must understand disability as an expression of human diversity, and as such is a crosscutting issue that is relevant to all domains of human life. The publication calls for disability-disaggregated data, accessible physical environments, and mechanisms of accountability.
“The first step in shaping a future that builds on the potential of people with disabilities is inclusion,” said UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan. “As the world starts to put together its roadmap for a post-2015 era, the call Nothing about us without us has special resonance.”