Ms. Shamshad Akhtar Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Remarks at the reception to launch the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) publication TOWARDS AN INCLUSIVE AND ACCESSIBLE FUTURE FOR ALL
24 September 2013, New York
Distinguished guests and colleagues,
On behalf of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (also known as DESA), I thank you for joining us today to launch the publication, “Towards and inclusive and accessible future for all”. This is the first publication produced by the UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for which DESA is a founding member. DESA works to promote inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.
As noted in the publication, 15 per cent of the world’s population or 1 in 7 people live with some form of disability. This is a significant number. Any development path that ignores the barriers facing persons with disabilities cannot be inclusive, equitable or sustainable in the future.
This publication touches on several cross-cutting areas of social and economic development that are important in the work of DESA in its role as the United Nations global focal point on disability. The publication gives compelling evidence of the social, economic, cultural barriers facing persons with disabilities.
Both in developed and developing countries alike, for the majority of persons with disabilities, lack of equitable access to education, employment, health care, social and legal support systems are daily experiences. Despite this reality, persons with disabilities have remained on the periphery of discussions on the international development agenda until now.
Yesterday (23 September) the General Assembly held a High-level Meeting on the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities. The meeting marked an important milestone to readdress the imbalance in opportunities between persons with disabilities and the rest of the population to create a society that is truly inclusive of all.
Heads of State and Government gathered in the General Assembly Hall adopted an outcome document titled the“The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”. The outcome document stresses the importance of giving due consideration to persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda. It is intended to help concretise the vision of fully inclusive society and guide the international community’s work towards 2015 and future decades to come.
As the deadline for the achievement of the MDGs draws close, the international community is presented with the opportunity to finally overcome the significant omission of past years, and to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda empowers and enables persons with disabilities to assume their rightful role, as agents and beneficiaries, in all aspects of development.
We are looking forward to working together with all our partners gathered here today as we embark with renewed vigour on this journey of transforming our society into a just and equitable society that is inclusive of and accessible to all persons.