On Monday 23rd September, Handicap International will take part in a high-level meeting on disability and development (HLMD) of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Held days before the Millennium Development Goals 2000-2015 Review Conference on 25th September, this meeting represents an unprecedented opportunity to inform the debate and advocate for the inclusion of disability issues in future development goals.

Through the advocacy efforts of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and Handicap International, one of its founding members, the issue of disability has been placed on the agenda of a high-level meeting organised by the Assembly General of the United Nations on “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond.”

This is the first time disability has been the subject of one of these meetings. Held days before the MDG 2000-2015 Review Conference, this summit meeting represents a unique opportunity to ensure disability issues are included in any future development goals. As Member States meet to review progress on the MDGs and agree on future goals, this is the moment to influence the direction of the review.

A delegation from Handicap International will be present to ensure the commitments made by Member States adequately reflect needs on the ground. The organisation has called on the governments in attendance to ensure that people with disabilities are no longer excluded from development policies, and will act accordingly during the meeting. The organisation supports in particular the participation of disabled people from developing countries at this event to express their needs directly to the UN authorities.

According to the World Report on Disability published in 2011 by the World Health Organisation and the World Bank, one billion people worldwide (about 15% of the world population) currently have a disability. 80% of them live in a developing country and are often excluded from access to education, work, healthcare, social assistance and the legal system. They generally have no income and are among the poorest. When a crisis occurs, people with disabilities are often invisible and forgotten victims, left in a very precarious situation.

People with disabilities are more likely to suffer from poverty. However, their inclusion is still not considered a priority in the implementation of development programmes. Following the adoption of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), progress has been made on improving the situation facing people with disabilities. However, more effort still needs to be made. To improve the situation sustainably and effectively, it is necessary to ensure the development process includes people with disabilities and guarantees their full inclusion in society. This obligation is reflected in Article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The high-level meeting will result in a concise, action-oriented Outcome Document to support the convergence of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Millennium Development Goals, and is therefore vitally important. This document will be ready for the MDGs Review Conference two days later, on 25th September in New York. The MDGs set development priorities for the period 2000-2015. However, as we approach 2015, it is clear that the progress made has not benefited everyone equally and has left out the most marginalised groups, including people with disabilities.

Source Article from Humanity & Inclusion

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