International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), also known as World Disability Day is annually observed on 3 December each year. This Day aims to promote an awareness of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Theme for 2016

The theme this year is ‘Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want.’ This theme refers to the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. The observance of the 2016 IDPD coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

SDGs and Disability

The disability-inclusive 2030 Agenda includes 11 explicit references to persons with disabilities. This is particularly significant because the previous UN development goals – the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – excluded persons with disabilities. While there is much to celebrate, gaps remain with the new agenda. Persons with disabilities are not explicitly included in either the health or gender goals. In addition, many of the practicalities have yet to be worked on how to ensure that all of the agenda is inclusive to persons with disabilities. CBM over the coming years will continue to work with its allies at international, regional and national level to ensure the implementation of the new agenda is fully inclusive of persons with disabilities.

How do we achieve the 17 Goals?

Some of the CBM technical advisors, advocacy and emergency experts give their input on how some of these goals can be attained.

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being

“Universal Health Coverage is an important principle embodied in the SDGs, highlighting that we must strive to change the scandal of health being dependent on wealth. The inclusion of well-being recognises that while important, attainment of good physical and mental health is only one part having a satisfying life. CBM’s comprehensive approach to health and social inclusion means that we recognise the relevance of both promoting good health and access to evidence-based health services, and working with people and communities to makes sure that other priorities for well-being are achieved. Main priorities for all would be:

  1. Climate change - the most important global issue by far.  Unless we address it, all our efforts to promote inclusive development will be overshadowed by this one catastrophe.
  2. Supporting countries to take ownership of their mandate to provide health care to their populations.” – Julian Eaton, CBM Advisor on Mental Health

“The new 2030 Agenda connects persons with disabilities to global poverty reduction efforts, measures access to equitable education and promotes accessible and inclusive cities. However, persons with disabilities are not explicitly included in either the health or gender goals, and the agenda is yet to ensure that is inclusive to and of persons with disabilities.

Priorities for Ear and Hearing Care advisors:

  1. The commitment to data disaggregation by disability and support the assessment of how inclusive the implementation of the 2030 Agenda will be for persons with hearing disability.
  2. The continuation to work with its allies at international, regional and national level, to ensure that the implementation of the new agenda is fully inclusive of persons with disabilities, particularly those with, or at risk of, hearing disability in our area of work.” – Diego Santana Hernandez, Senior Global Advisor for Ear and Hearing Care.

Goal 1 and 8: Addressing poverty and promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

The SDGs provide a realistic opportunity for persons with disabilities to move from the periphery to the centre of inclusive development processes and break out of the cycle of disability and extreme and chronic poverty.

By working with all stakeholders to achieve full and equitable inclusion in skills development and employment programmes, persons with disabilities can secure decent work and become productive and contributing members of society.

Attainment of the goals can turn the promise to leave no one behind into reality and will provide persons with disabilities the opportunity to realise their full potential as equal, empowered and respected citizens. – Hubert Seifert, CBM Advisor on Livelihood.

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

An empowering approach within ‘Disability Inclusive Development’, which sees people with disability access their right to clean water and safe sanitation, is essential for improved health, quality of life and also the prevention of impairments connected to water borne diseases. – David Lewis, Director for Strategic Programmes, CBM Australia.

Goals 9 and 11: building resilient infrastructure and making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Accessibility is a right and a prerequisite for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society. The principles of accessibility and universal design underlie all articles of the CRPD to safeguard and promote the rights of all persons with disabilities regardless of impairment, age, gender, or any other characteristic to equally access all areas of social, economic, cultural, and political life. Universal and equitable access is also a core foundation of sustainable development and enshrined in Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the core commitment of “leave no one behind”. For instance, the Sustainable Development Goal No. 11 states that cities should be “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. This calls for actions and measures to ensure universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces, adequate and affordable housing, urban and peri-urban transport and basic services for all urban dwellers, whether or not they live with a disability.

It emphasizes the need for governments, policy makers, development and humanitarian actors to address accessibility across all interventions, policies, and programs facilitating and supporting capacity-building, including through the exchange and sharing of information, experiences, training programmes and best practices. It also means that persons with disabilities have access to physical and digital environments and are included as full and equal participants in the social, political and economic life of their communities, including representation in civil society and political decision making and access to education, employment and income-generating activities on an equal basis with others. Delivering on these commitments will mean true alignment with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. – Benjamin Dard, CBM Technical Advisor for Accessibility.

Read the key recommendations for an inclusive urban agenda.

Advocating for the 17 Goals

“The successful implementation of the SDGs will only be achieved if all stakeholders respect its unique holistic approach, based on three pillars: people, planet and sustainable economy. Aligning international frameworks with SDGs will ensure the promotion and the protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities.” – Alba Gonzalez and Ariane Lignier, CBM Advocacy officers.

Inclusion in emergency and disaster situations

In these last few years we have seen the development of ground-breaking global agendas, including the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the Charter On Inclusion Of Persons With Disabilities In Humanitarian Action, which was endorsed at World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. The Sustainable Development Goals, in line with these plans, recognise that the meaningful participation of all of society - including persons with disabilities - is essential if they are to succeed. This participatory approach must not be seen as a challenge, but as an opportunity, as it not only benefits marginalised groups, but everyone in their communities. – CBM Emergency Response Unit.

CBM at the European Parliament

As part of the European Disability and Development Week (Dec 3 – 10), CBM is organising an event on December 7 at the European Parliament to launch the second book in its series on disability-inclusive development (DID): “Inclusion Counts: The Economic Case for Disability-Inclusive Development”. The publication highlights the economic implications of disability-inclusive policies and challenges the perception that disability-inclusive development interventions lead to financial loss and, in fact, shows how inclusion can create economic gains at all levels, particularly in low-income countries.

The UNCRPD celebrates its 10th anniversary this year

A resolution that established the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted on 13 December 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The Convention’s aim is to “protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”

Its main message is that persons with disabilities are entitled to the full spectrum of human rights and fundamental freedoms without discrimination. To that end, the Convention promotes the full participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of life, challenging customs, stereotypes, prejudices, harmful practices and stigma relating to persons with disabilities. In the 10 years since its adoption, the Convention has been one of the most quickly ratified of all the international human right treaties and, to date, more than 160 States have ratified it.

Watch this CBM-supported video on the Members of the UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability to know what the Convention means to them, how it has changed their lives and what challenges lie ahead.