Disability inclusion

At least 1.3 billion people, or 16 percent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability – a figure that is proportionally higher in developing countries. Persons with disabilities often experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes such as lower levels of employment, less education, poorer health, and higher poverty rates. They are more likely to fall into and stay in poverty through a lack of employment and education opportunities, lower wages, and the increased costs of living that often come with a disability. Poverty itself can increase rates of disability through malnutrition, unsafe working conditions, inadequate access to health care, a polluted environment, and lack of access to safe water and sanitation.

Upholding the rights of people with disabilities is not only a moral imperative; it is a practical necessity if humankind is to overcome the many existential challenges it faces. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will require everyone’s active participation in developing and implementing innovative solutions. We cannot afford to leave 15 percent of the population out of the equation. Persons with disabilities must be supported in fulfilling their intellectual and creative potential at par with everyone else in society so we can all work together to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people everywhere enjoy peace and prosperity.

UNDP supports Member States in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and relevant sections of Agenda 2030 through transformational cross-sectoral work and by mainstreaming the principles of disability inclusion within its policy and programme work. UNDP also supports UN system-wide coordinated actions on disability. For example, UNDP led the conceptualization and operationalization of the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) in 2011 and has been hosting its Technical Secretariat.

UNDP is actively engaged with countries facing challenges in translating the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) into tangible policies, systems, and services. Recognizing that a critical first step in this process is to identify the main bottlenecks and priorities specific to each country's efforts in fulfilling the CRPD, UNDP's approach involves working closely with these countries to understand and address these unique challenges. This effort underscores UNDP's commitment to advancing disability rights and ensuring effective implementation of the CRPD globally. Please check the following resources for a deeper dive into our work into this important area:

  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [ UN Treaty Collection ]
  • UNDP is a member of the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD), a unique partnership that brings together UN entities, governments, OPDs and broader civil society to advance the rights of persons with disabilities around the world.  For more information, visit the UNPRPD website.
  • Guidance Note: Disability Inclusive Development in UNDP
A selection of our resources: