Globally one billion people live with disabilities, making them the largest minority in the world, said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Achim Steiner on Monday, while calling on countries and governments to empower them and work for their betterment.
“On this day, let’s commit to working together to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access and voice in society, and can realise their fullest possible potential,” Steiner said in a statement.
December 3 is annually celebrated as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
This year’s theme is “empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”, and speaks to the heart of UNDP’s work to achieve inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, the statement said.
The landmark 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, implemented in 177 countries, demonstrates how countries can come together on an issue and move the needle quickly for change.
But “to realise the promise of the 2030 Agenda and its core pledge to leave no one behind, it is essential that all people, particularly those facing discrimination and exclusion, have access and voice and can participate equally in every aspect of life”, Steiner said.
In a bid to support governments and organisations in achieving this, UNDP also launched a guidance note on persons with disabilities which highlights practical ways it is working in countries around the world to support disability inclusion.
“We are also taking forward a number of initiatives within UNDP to help reduce barriers and foster an enabling environment for the employment, retention, and closer collaboration with persons with disabilities,” Steiner noted.