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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

  The United Nations and Disabled Persons -The First Fifty Years

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Chapter X

Looking to the future

Clearly, the achievement of global human rights for all citizens is a matter of securing justice. While Governments as well as individual citizens bear a moral responsibility toward this goal, it should be "common sense" for civil society to recognize the human resource potential in all of its members. It is imperative that planners remain sensitive to the disability dimension early and throughout the development process.

One of the major development goals of the United Nations continues to be promoting the quality of life of the world's disadvantaged, including people with disabilities. One of the most significant issues still to be addressed is the accessibility of the disabled to new and emerging information technologies through computer literacy. The enormous international resources provided online by the Internet remind us that one of the most effective ways to share power is by linking minds across cultures and geographical/economic boundaries. A new global community, creative and effective strategies for a "society for all", may be brought forth through its engagement in newly established discourse on human rights of all, especially people with disabilities.

A manual published on behalf of the United Nations by the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES), in Helsinki, Finland, entitled Disability Dimension in Development Action: Manual on Inclusive Planning, is expected to help guide development planners as they work to find effective ways of incorporating people with disabilities into the process, through new knowledge, new technology and new methodology.

The United Nations’ future efforts will consist of reinforcing current programmes in cooperation with various Departments within the United Nations and specialized agencies as well as in incorporating newly emerging needs of disabled persons and requirements for society to adapt itself to these needs. The issue of accessibility to various new technologies, such as information technology as well as to physical environment will remain as one of the most significant issues.

For the next 50 years, the United Nations’ commitment to "a society for all" will continue to make a difference in the lives not only of people with disabilities, but among all people.

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development