International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) - Forum “Listening to the voices of persons with disabilities”

December 1, 2022

Opening Remarks by Ms. Ramla Khalidi, Resident Representative, UNDP Viet Nam at the Celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Forum “Listening to the voices of persons with disabilities”

UNDP Viet Nam

Dr. Nguyen Van Hoi, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs;

Dr. Lam Van Doan, Vice Chairperson of the Committee for Social Affairs of the National Assembly

Mr. Dang Van Thanh, Vice President of Vietnam Federation on Disability;

MS. Dinh Viet Anh, Vice President of Viet Nam Blind Association

Ms.  Duong Thi Van, Chairwoman of Hanoi Association of People with Disabilities

Representatives from Ministries, Organizations of and for persons with disabilities,

Distinguished guests

First of all, from the organization side, we apologize for not having able to make the stage today accessible for people with physical disability. We hear you.

It is my honour to address you at today’s gathering to celebrate The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) and to open our forum on “Listening to the voices of persons with disabilities”. Our choice of the title of today’s gathering is deliberate as we aim to Listen and to Hear the voices of PwD – about their aspirations, their needs and their recommendations.

The theme of this year’s International Day is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world“.

UNDP is proud to work with our national partners to promote equal opportunities for PwDs to participate in all spheres of life. Today, I would like to highlight two examples of how innovation and technology can be leveraged for this purpose.

First, Innovation can support disability inclusive development in employment (SDG 8): New technology can open job opportunities for PWDs. Allow me to share the example of UNDP’s pilot assessment of disability inclusion in local governance, where we hired three enumerators with different types of disabilities for our PAPI survey.

The enumerators used accessible online platforms and assistive technology, including screen readers, to work remotely and collect data from respondents with disabilities. We showed that once provided with reasonable accommodations, PWDs could make valuable contributions to the research. This success convinced the research team to engage more PWDs in our future studies. This creates new jobs for Vietnamese PWDs in many different fields.

Second, Innovation for disability inclusive development can help reduce inequality and enable a disability-inclusive workplace in both the public and private sector. In the past four years, the UN in Viet Nam has made an active effort to diversify its workforce hiring seven PWDs, including two who work for UNDP. With appropriate support, our staff with disabilities work as productively and effectively as others (oftentimes more!).

This should be seen neither as charity, nor as a favor, but as a right that bears benefits for everyone.  The knowledge, skills and perspectives of our PwD colleagues bring great value to the design and implementation of our programmes, in areas related to inclusive e-government or user-centric design in service delivery. This is proving that diversity and inclusion at workplace can unleash innovation and better results for impact.

UNDP is happy to share our experience in creating an inclusive work environment with government partners and enterprises to tap into the talent pool of Vietnamese PWDs. We are also delighted to support capacity building efforts for the government officials and organizations of PwDs to strengthen your abilities to make the rights of persons with disabilities a reality.

A big congratulations to the community of PwDs in Viet Nam for your active engagement, resilience and positive contributions to the country’s socio-economic development. On this special occasion, let’s honor together the significant contributions of PWDs to our national and global development.

And let’s co-create a future where PWDs are in the driving seat of our sustainable development!

Wishing you all a happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities!

Thank you, xin cam on, va chuc suc khoe!