Development and human rights for all

Panel Discussion on "Mainstreaming Disability in Development Cooperation; experience, vision and future"

United Nations Headquarters, New York
06 February, 2009


In December 2006, the work of the United Nations in disability and development saw the culmination in its adoption of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities.  With the entry into force of the Convention in May 2008, there is a new impetus to mainstream disability into development cooperation by a wide range of stakeholders, involving national, regional and global action and networks.

The Convention, in its article 32, recognizes the importance of international cooperation and its promotion realization of the rights of persons with disabilities and their full inclusion into all aspects of life. The Convention stipulates that international cooperation measures should: be inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities; facilitate and support capacity-building, including through the exchange and sharing of information, experiences, training programmes and best practices; facilitate cooperation in research and access to scientific and technical knowledge; and provide technical and economic assistance, including by facilitating access to and sharing of accessible and assistive technologies, and through the transfer of technologies.

At its 63rd session General Assembly, through its resolution 63/150 of 18 December 2008  recognized an  urgent need to include disability in all aspects of monitoring and evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals. 

Despite national initiatives and experience accumulated in the field, mainstreaming of disability has only occurred in a very compartmentalized and limited manner within development cooperation.  Over 10 % of the world’s population has yet to be integrated into international development cooperation.

The United Nations system is currently developing strategies for mainstreaming disability based on what may be called the "United Nations Global Development Framework on disability" with a set of implementation guidelines, developed from the international policy framework on disability.

The Panel consisted of key speakers from the major bi-lateral and international funding agencies and shared their experience and visions for inclusive and barrier- fee development cooperation through the twin track approach to disability.

The Panel discussed good practices adopted by bilateral and multilateral funding agencies about disability mainstreaming and empowerment of PWD in operational activities.

The panel discussion contributed to the on-going discourse on mainstreaming disability into United Nations operational activities to be carried out at the country level, including all aspects of the MDG process and other internationally agreed development goals.

Panel Discussion

Ms. Akiko Ito, Chief, Secretariat for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN DESA)

Ms. Maria Veronica Reina, Director of International Programs, Burton Blatt Institute (Syracuse University)

Mr. Aiichiro Yamamoto, Chief Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency

Mr. Lloyd Feinberg, Disabilities Coordinator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Mr. Ronald Wiman, Senior Advisor, Department for Development Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Ms. Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Senior Operations Specialist, World Bank