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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons

Report of the Secretary-General

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I. Introduction

II. Overview of recent policy and programme activities

III. Progress in equalization of opportunities by, for and with persons with disabilities

  1. International norms and standards related to persons with disabilities
  2. Global statistics and indicators on disability
  3. Accessibility of the United Nations
  4. United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability
  5. Development Account for the biennium 2000-2001

IV. Regional cooperation for equalization of opportunities

V. Perspective framework for the fourth review and appraisal and emerging issues

Projects supported by the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability for the period November 2000-June 2001

III. Progress in equalization of opportunities by, for and with persons with disabilities

A. International norms and standards related to persons with disabilities

1. Selected national experience

38. Several Governments have reported on the enactment of legislation addressing the rights of persons with disabilities. Finland made a revision to its constitution that entered into force on 1 March 2000, which specifically recognizes the rights of persons with disabilities. In April 2000, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland set up a Disability Rights Commission to advise the Government on comprehensive enforceable civil rights for disabled people. The Commission has four duties: to work towards elimination of discrimination against disabled people; to promote equalization of opportunities for disabled people; to encourage good practice in the treatment of disabled people; and to keep under review the implementation of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act. In July 2000, the Republic of Cyprus enacted a law providing for persons with disabilities, which provides for general protection of disabled persons, including the safeguarding of their equal rights and equal opportunities and the promotion of their social and economic integration. The law also provides for establishment of a Rehabilitation Council as an advisory body to Government. Lebanon adopted a law concerning the rights of persons with disabilities on 28 May 2000.

2. International cooperation

39. The principle of the universality of human rights provides persons with disabilities with the fundamental framework for the application of international norms and standards to protect and promote their rights. Within this framework, not only civil and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights should be promoted as an inalienable and integral part of their human rights.20 In this sense the international norms and standards relating to disability refer to the spectrum of international norms that could promote a broad human rights framework for the rights of persons with disabilities, addressing disabling attitudinal, environmental or economic realities affecting the lives of the persons with disabilities.21 In brief, the international normative system is becoming a complex, dynamic web of interrelationships between international norms — binding and non-binding — national and international laws and various institutions. These increasingly complex processes, institutional arrangements and norms and standards form a nexus of institutions and mechanisms that address the situation of persons with disabilities and ways and means to promote their rights.

40. General Assembly resolution 54/121 urged relevant bodies and organizations of the United Nations system to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. A great deal of that work was carried out in close collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development. As noted briefly in the interim report to the thirty-ninth session of the Commission (E/CN.5/2001/7), the Special Rapporteur organized an international seminar on human rights and disability, "Let The World Know" (Stockholm, 5-9 November 2000). The report on that seminar has been published on the "Persons with Disabilities" web site at the United Nations — Seminar participants focused on means to make international norms more accessible and to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. Participants expressed the view that:

(a) United Nations human rights mechanisms and their present constraints and potential for adjudication of the human rights of persons with disabilities have not been fully explored by legal experts and advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities;

(b) Accessibility to institutional resources for utilizing legal, administrative or other official procedures to adjudicate the rights of persons with disabilities is vital;

(c) Improved access to and enhanced use by national judicial systems, as appropriate, of relevant international law in domestic courts is needed;

(d) Capacity-building in the disability community as well as in other concerned sectors of society is important in order to improve consideration of disability rights issues in the judicial and administrative forums and to promote general awareness and inform both the disability community and society as a whole about the human rights of persons with disabilities;

(e) Networking among disability organizations and their advocates with NGOs, academic institutions, legal experts and practitioners can contribute to creation of a sense of an integrated community of interests, from which an agenda for action could be formulated and priorities set to protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities.

41. To provide a forum for the exchange of views on emerging issues concerning a broad human rights framework and persons with disabilities and to identify further options to promote their rights, on 9 February 2001, the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Secretariat organized an Informal Consultative Meeting on International Norms and Standards for Persons with Disabilities. The meeting brought together members of Permanent Missions and substantive representatives of concerned intergovernmental organizations, and the United Nations system, as well as the non-governmental community, for an exchange of views. The Special Rapporteur on Disability, who chaired the meeting, noted in his closing remarks that the focus of further work should be on identifying: (a) what actions are required to further the rights of persons with disabilities; and (b) harmonizing options to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, for which the elaboration of a convention represents a special issue. He added that, as efforts are made to use existing instruments to further more effectively the rights of persons with disabilities in mainstream human rights mechanisms, the issue of elaborating a convention requires careful study. The report of the meeting is available at the "Persons with Disabilities" web site of the United Nations —

42. During the fifty-seventh session of the Commission on Human Rights in April 2001, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights organized informal consultations on human rights and disabilities with members of Permanent Missions and delegates to the Commission, including national human rights commissions, representatives of intergovernmental organizations, United Nations bodies and organizations as well as NGOs and national institutions. The consultation reaffirmed the importance of the human rights dimension in issues related to disability and recommended a strengthened link between the activities of the Special Rapporteur on Disability, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Commission on Human Rights. The consultations provided a forum for national institutions to share national experiences in protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities and further strengthened efforts of the non-governmental community to work more closely with international human rights mechanisms and national human rights institutions.

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B. Global statistics and indicators on disability

43. The critical role of disability statistics and indicators is emphasized in the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons: "Monitoring and evaluation should be carried out at periodic intervals at the international and regional levels, as well as at the national level. Evaluation indicators should be selected by the United Nations Department of International Economic and Social Affairs in consultation with Member States and relevant United Nations agencies and other organizations".22 In 1993, the General Assembly adopted resolution 48/96, which contains the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities — Rule 20, National monitoring and evaluation of disability programmes, notes that "States are responsible for the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of national programmes and services concerning the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities". In the third review and appraisal of implementation of the World Programme of Action (A/52/351;, conducted in 1997, the Secretary-General noted that establishing a set of indicators to compare the situation of persons with disabilities and non-disabled persons is recognized to be of critical importance if States were to implement rule 20 successfully.23

44. In recognition of this and other issues at its twenty-eighth session, the Statistical Commission requested that the United Nations Statistics Division prepare a minimum set of tabulation items and core tables on disability issues for consideration by an expert group on the 2000 World Population and Housing Census Programme.24 The Statistics Division issued several recommendations for the 2000 round of censuses, endorsed by an expert group in September 1996 and issued as a technical monograph.25 The Secretary-General endorsed the recommendations, specifically endorsing a disability approach, rather than one focusing on impairments or handicaps, as it related to the WHO International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps.26 The Statistical Commission, at its twenty-ninth session, endorsed the principles and recommendations and supported the new and revised sections.27 For the first time, disability was included as a topic in the revision of the Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses.28 The following broadly defined categories were recommended: seeing, hearing, speaking (talking), moving, body movement, gripping/holding, learning, behaviour and personal care.

45. With established principles on how to measure the population with disabilities, the third review and appraisal recognized four new issues of critical importance to assess the situation of persons with disabilities: "First, although comprehensive monitoring of all aspects of the environment as it facilitates the achievement or hindrance of all three goals of the World Programme of Action is clearly important, few countries systematically collect data on environmental variables. Likewise, the areas of life where the environment can hinder equalization of opportunity, such as independence, use of time, social integration, economic self-sufficiency and life-cycle transitions, also have not been systematically measured. Third, resource constraints can hinder the collection of data on all important topics related to disability. Fourth, the success of certain data collection efforts under conditions in which resources are scarce suggests the wisdom of setting clear priorities in any data collection effort".29 Since the third review and appraisal, however, there has been growing recognition that consensus has not emerged as to how to statistically identify the population with disabilities.

46. Although neither instrument officially adopted it, both the World Programme of Action and the Standard Rules recognized the definition of disability of WHO: "any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered normal for a human being".30 The Standard Rules notes that the term "... summarizes a great number of differential functional limitations occurring in any population in any country in the world. People may be disabled by physical, intellectual or sensory impairment, medical conditions, or mental illness".31 This was the approach endorsed by the Secretary-General.32

47. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 54/121, a substantive accomplishment of the Statistics Division was the completion of the "Guidelines and principles for the development of impairment, disability and handicap statistics", a forthcoming publication oriented to national statisticians to assist them in responding to the growing demand for data on disability. The publication addresses special issues raised by collecting and compiling statistics on persons with disabilities in national censuses and surveys, and in their analysis and dissemination for policy purposes. The expected publication date is late 2001.

48. The Statistics Division organized and hosted the International Seminar on the Measurement of Disability, in collaboration with UNICEF, the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States of America (United Nations, 4-6 June 2001). The seminar brought together nearly 100 participants from all regions of the world. Participants included experts in disability measurement from government and research institutions, representatives of the disability community and policy makers. The objectives of the meeting were: to review and assess the current status of methods used in population-based data collection activities to measure disability in national statistical systems, with particular attention to questionnaire design; to develop recommendations and priorities to advance work on the measurement of disability; and to contribute to building a network of institutions and experts, including producers and users of disability statistics, to implement the developments in this field. A publication will be issued as a report of the meeting.

49. With regard to national capacity-building, the Statistics Division participated in the subregional workshop on disability statistics for the eastern Asian region (Shanghai, 9-14 April 2001) which was organized by ESCAP, the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific and the National Statistical Office of China. Participants came from the following countries: China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Macao (China), Mongolia, Philippines, Republic of Korea and Singapore. The objectives of the workshop were to address the training needs of national statisticians with responsibility for producing disability statistics and of government personnel who require such statistics for policy formulation. A second aim was to bring together producers and users of disability data in countries of the subregion for dialogue and partnership on the production and use of disability data. A similar training workshop is planned for the African region in September 2001. The workshop will have access to the United Nations "Guidelines and principles for the development of impairment disability and handicap statistics" to use and to evaluate as a training resource.

50. In connection with efforts better to compile and disseminate data on disability, the Statistics Division published an Internet-enabled statistical reference and guide to the available statistics, specifically, on national sources of data, basic disability prevalence rates, and questions used to identify the population with disabilities.33 Work continues on finalization of the United Nations Disability Statistics Database (DISTAT-2). DISTAT is a global database, including statistics, indicators and textual information from national data collected on disability issues.

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C. Accessibility of the United Nations

51. The General Assembly, in paragraph 15 of resolution 54/121, expressed appreciation to the Secretary-General for his efforts in improving the accessibility of the United Nations for persons with disabilities. It may be recalled that the report of the Secretary-General on the capital master plan (A/55/117) noted that the United Nations is a well-constructed landmark building. Bringing the building up to current standards and codes, including barrier-free criteria, will take a number of years depending upon which development option Member States decide on. In the interim, accessibility provisions are implemented in conjunction with needed short-term maintenance and facilities development activities.

52. A study of the entire Headquarters facility was conducted in 1998-1999 in preparation for the proposed capital master plan for United Nations headquarters. The study indicated that the Dag Hammarskjöld Library building contained some of the greatest obstacles to accessibility. A specific plan was developed to correct these conditions. In September 2000, two sets of doors were altered to allow access from the major corridor into the Library at the first basement level. This included a power-assisted control. Similarly, doors were altered on the first floor, separating the Library from a connecting "neck" permitting access to the only accessible at-grade doors to the building. Additional items in the plan providing for better access to the Library include installation of Braille and audible indicators for the elevators, the lowering of controls, call buttons, drinking fountains, light switches and fire alarm controls, the installation of Braille signage and the installation of lower desks in the reading rooms for wheelchair accessibility. The plan also focuses on the replacement of inaccessible furniture in the reading rooms and stack areas and improvements to general access throughout all the floors for wheelchair accessibility. A complete renovation of the first basement men’s and women’s toilet rooms, which will allow for access for wheelchairs, is scheduled for completion by 2002. Modifications to the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium include a wheelchair platform at the top level and a new ramp and access corridor at the second basement level to the stage. Toilet room renovations on second floor of the Conference Building and the first basement Public Lobby of the General Assembly Building will begin during 2001, with completion anticipated for mid-2002. The renovations will focus on wheelchair accessibility, signage and lighting.

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D. United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability

53. The interim report to the thirty-ninth session of the Commission for Social Development (E/CN.5/2001/7) discussed the emerging role of the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability as a source of venture grants to further equalization of opportunities in accordance with priorities identified by the General Assembly in paragraph 4 of resolution 54/121. The interim report also discussed project cycle activities of the Fund through late 2000. The current section provides updated project cycle data through June 2001. During the period of November 2000 to June 2001 the Fund provided an additional US$ 159,676 in grants to six disability-related projects. Projects supported during the period (see annex) were implemented by the non-governmental community (with appropriate endorsement and in cooperation with concerned governmental bodies or organizations) in Africa and in Central and Eastern Europe. NGOs continue to make important and valued contributions to the equalization of opportunities by, for and with persons with disabilities by means of catalytic and innovative projects in capacity-building and institutional development. Several projects deal with pilot (and innovative) action in their respective countries, while others focus on technical exchanges of skills and knowledge and establishment and development of networks for disability action.

1. Accessibility

54. The importance of information and communication technologies for development was considered at the highest levels of the international community during 2000. This is evident in the United Nations Millennium Declaration (resolution 55/2) and in the Ministerial Declaration of the Economic and Social Council on the role of information technology in the context of a knowledge-based global economy.34 Moreover, the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities provides, in rule 5, that "States ... develop strategies to make information services and documentation accessible for different groups of persons with disabilities". While rule 5 does not set forth specific and binding measures to promote accessibility, it continues to provide practical guidance for drafting policy options and technical design standards in the twenty-first century.

55. A major project accomplishment during the period under review was the successful completion of the first Latin American Seminar on Strategies for Implementing the Standard Rules in relation to Internet Accessibility (Mexico City, 4-7 June 2001) — The seminar was the initiative of Fundación Mexicana de Integración Social, and the Government of Mexico (Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia). The seminar brought together nearly 30 participants from 20 Latin American and Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries to review and discuss issues and trends in Internet-enabled goods and services in the Americas and to consider their implications for further implementing international norms and standards related to equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities. The seminar directed special attention to issues of Internet accessibility and usability for all. Seminar participants were knowledgeable and experienced and included specialists in their individual capacity from governmental offices, NGOs and the private sector; all participants had a disability or direct experience of disability. Participation was at a high level, engaged and challenging in the consideration of issues, trends and options for further action. The seminar venue was provided by excellent facilities of Tecnológico de Monterrey — Campus Ciudad de México, in particular its Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. A representative of the Government of Mexico, the president of the National Institute of Social Development, opened the seminar. Other resource persons from Mexico included representatives of Government’s "E-Mexico" initiative (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Trasportes) and its "Civil society" initiative (Secretaría de Gobernación), a representative of Microsoft de Mexico and representatives of advocacy and service organizations in the disability field. Building on the substantive exchanges and workshops, seminar participants formulated country and subregional strategic plans to further realize Internet accessibility for all in Latin America and the Caribbean and adopted a declaration outlining a strategic framework on Internet accessibility in terms of policy advocacy, training and technical exchanges, pilot action and establishment of an open and democratic network to promote Internet accessibility in the Americas. The seminar obtained additional support from the Opera Software Corporation — — which granted the seminar organizers a license to include a copy of its Spanish language browser on CD-ROM compilation of seminar proceedings.

56. In the project pipeline, awaiting final approval, is a United Nations Voluntary Fund-assisted project to promote awareness and capacities for "lean approaches" to accessible information and telecommunication technologies in the entire Central and Eastern European subregion. A subregional workshop on "Internet Accessibility for All" is planned at Ljubljana, Republic of Slovenia, from 3 to 6 September 2001, in conjunction with the sixth European Conference for the Advancement of Assistive Technology, which is being hosted by Institute of Rehabilitation of the Republic of Slovenia.35 The workshop will provide a forum for exchanges of knowledge and national experiences in promotion of information and communication technology for development. The workshop is being organized in parallel with the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe conference in order to leverage substantive exchanges on issues and trends related to assistive devices to obtain new insights on effective promotion of accessible information and communication technology for all. The workshop is expected to produce as a final product a strategic framework for analysis and planning of accessible ICT in the Central and Eastern European subregion. The workshop is expected to facilitate establishment of a network of excellence to promote awareness and build national capacities related to accessible ICT.

2. Social services and safety nets

57. "Social services for all" is one of the priority themes of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development. In the context of a broad human rights framework, achieving social services for all assumes special importance: social services are essential investments in the development of human potential, they can further social inclusion and can promote full and effective participation on the basis of equality. For instance, a successful United Nations Fund-assisted project in Uganda implemented by People with Disabilities, Uganda (an NGO) in cooperation with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, developed and tested practical and low-cost approaches to identify and assess children with disabilities to provide training to selected parents in Kampala and Mpigi districts. One result of the project was identification of many more children with disabilities than previously thought — an unidentified group lacking the means to obtain basic social services. A follow-up project assisted by the United Nations Fund will focus on further improvements in identification and assessment of children with special needs and on community approaches to treat more children. This will include systematic development of community support structures and development and testing of training materials to ensure the sustainability of social services for disabled children and their families in Uganda.

58. An emerging area of concern related to the situation of children and adults with disabilities and their families is de-institutionalization. This is particularly true in countries in transition in Central and Eastern Europe and has constituted a focus of United Nations Fund-assisted pilot efforts of the non-governmental community, in cooperation with the concerned governmental offices, during the reporting period. The data suggest a complex process of moving from institutional approaches to care to community-based social services; exchanges of knowledge and experience are advantageous.

59. An initiative of the non-governmental community in Hungary seeks to develop community-based social services for persons with psychiatric disabilities — a key issue for this invisible and often highly disadvantaged social group.36 The Soteria Foundation, Budapest, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and local departments of social services will develop pilot day care services for previously institutionalized persons with mental health problems. It is expected that a practical and effective model will be provided that other countries with economies in transition may wish to consider when formulating their own plans and programmes.

60. Other United Nations Fund-assisted projects awaiting final approvals address de-institutionalization through integrated schooling for disabled persons. Pilot actions will not only confront architectural barriers to accessibility but also psychosocial and cultural barriers to the participation of people with disability in social life. The data suggest that providing integrated education for children with disabilities is a primary mechanism to prevent parents from sending their disabled children to institutions; integrated education eases the transition from institutional life to life in the family and community as well. In Albania, the Albanian Disability Rights Foundation, in cooperation with Ministry of Education and local authorities will promote inclusive education for children with disabilities in Durres for the school year beginning in September 2001. The purpose of the project is to pilot the establishment of inclusive education, based on integrative education concepts. One school in Durres will be made accessible and teachers, students and parents trained in inclusive education. National media activities to raise awareness of disability issues will be organized and the Government will be encouraged to implement legislation on inclusive education for children with disabilities. In Bulgaria, the Institute for Social Policy and Social Work, in cooperation with Ministry of Education and the municipal government of Smolyan, will develop and test innovative assistance to children with sensory and developmental problems, based on integrative education concepts. A holistic approach to inclusion will be developed and, in addition to the provision of direct services, the project will focus on building the capacities of the professionals involved, developing parental attitudes and skills in bringing up disabled children and lifting the social stigma associated with disability.

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E. Development Account for the biennium 2000-2001

61. As described in the interim report to the thirty-ninth session of the Commission for Social Development (E/CN.5/2001/7), one of the 16 approved projects for the Development Account for the biennium 2000-2001, "Project H", involves capacity-building and institutional development for equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities. The project has three priority areas for action: (a) accessibility, (b) sustainable livelihoods and safety nets and (c) promoting a broad framework of international norms and standards relating to disability.

1. Current activities

62. One of the ongoing Development Account-assisted projects is being implemented by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and involves research, training and capacity-building for accessible environments, using the municipality of Aley, Lebanon, as case study. Aley was selected since it was a prominent tourist resort in Lebanon although a great deal of municipal infrastructure was destroyed during the civil disturbances. In an effort to resume its role as centre for tourism, the municipality of Aley is currently renovating its city centre so that it will offer reasonable levels of accessibility for all. ESCWA and the Aley municipality have conducted many meetings to set a strategy on how to conduct the renovation. Accordingly, a section of the old souks (public markets) and the Serial (a public building) have been selected as areas of intervention. The souks stretch along two long streets where the main commercial and recreational activities occur. Intervention here will require tackling the issue of accessibility on an urban scale. Streets, walkways and crossings will be adjusted taking standards for accessibility into consideration. The Serial is a public building owned by the Ministry of Interior. It houses a number of government offices, including the offices of the municipality. It has been designed and constructed with no concern for access or use by persons with disability. Universal design standards will be applied onto the existing structure and modifications will be carried out accordingly. The efforts of ESCWA thus far reveal that considerable technical intervention is in fact needed by, and is continuously being requested by, the municipality; intervention going beyond that allowed in the original design of the project. This may involve a review for further expansion later. The project initiative in Aley will serve as a model both for Lebanon and for other interested countries and territories in the region, particularly when accessibility intervention could be initiated at a local level and could be replicated at a national scale. The results of this project will be shared by means of a subregional training workshop with interested neighbouring countries and authorities where there is great interest but limited national capacity for accessible environments.

63. A major project accomplishment during the period under review was the rapid design, organization and conduct of a pilot seminar/training workshop organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on leadership training for women with disabilities to further international norms and standards. The workshop was proposed in April 2001 as part of the larger "Asia-Pacific Summit of Women Mayors and Councillors" (Phitsanulok, 19-22 June 2001). The project was designed so that a sharper focus would be accorded to gender-based approaches to development and the role of international norms and standards in promoting equalization of opportunities. The plan of operations for the project was finalized in early May 2001 and approval followed shortly thereafter. The seminar/workshop brought together 10 women with disabilities from eight Asian and Pacific countries, who also were full participants at the parallel Asia-Pacific Summit. The seminar/ workshop focused on leadership training and the development of the advocacy skills of women with disabilities in order that they would be better able to engage in dialogue and promote disability sensitive policies, strategies and programmes with the mayors and councillors participating at the Summit, with a view to reinforcing disability concerns at local government levels. As a result of the seminar/ workshop experience and participation in the Summit proceedings and working groups, the women leaders with disabilities contributed to improved understanding of disability-sensitive and gender-responsive policies, strategies and programmes of local governments. The value of these joint exchanges and interventions is evident in the consensus "Phitsanulok Declaration on Advancement of Women in Local Government" adopted by the summit at its closing session on 22 June 2001.

2. Pipeline proposals

64. Discussions are under way with representatives of interested Governments as well as NGOs on further implementation of Development Account Project H (2000-2001). The discussions have focused on technical exchanges on accessibility and on sustainable livelihoods.

(a) Accessibility

65. As follow-up to the Development Account-assisted Asia-Pacific regional training workshop on accessible tourism (Bali, Indonesia, 24-28 September 2000),37 which provided a forum for exchanging knowledge and experience in barrier-free tourism and identifying multi-sectoral policies and strategies to promote it, a participant in that seminar has proposed organizing a regional training workshop for Latin America. The workshop proposal was drafted by the Association for the Development of People with Disabilities (APRODDIS), an NGO, in cooperation with the National Council for the Integration of People with Disabilities (CONADIS) and the Commission for the Promotion of Peru (PromPeru). The workshop is to take place in Lima in late 2001 and will focus on the formulation of a strategic framework for accessible tourism for all, training on the facilitation of equitable tourism for all citizens and creating a network on accessible tourism to encourage the generation of new ideas and the exchange of information.

66. To further equalization of opportunities in social life and development through accessible information and telecommunication technologies in the Central Asian subregion, a subregional expert seminar and workshop on Internet accessibility for all is planned in cooperation with the Academy of Management, under the direction of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic (fourth quarter 2001, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan). The seminar will provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge and national experiences in promotion of information and communication technology for development. In addition to formulating a strategic planning framework for accessible information and communication technology for all in the Central Asian subregion, it is expected that the seminar/workshop will establish a network of excellence to promote awareness and to build national capacities, skills and technologies in this field. The seminar will involve participants from disability-related organizations and Ministries responsible for technological development in the five countries of Central Asia: Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

(b) Sustainable livelihoods

67. Drawing on research supported in part by a grant from the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability, the Institute for Social Development Studies, an NGO, in cooperation with the National Development Planning Agency of the Republic of Indonesia and other concerned governmental departments and offices, undertook a study of the effectiveness and sustainability of United Nations-assisted community-based rehabilitation. The study was carried out following the mid-1997 financial crisis in South-east Asia with a view to examining the extent to which prior technical cooperation had responded to the changed economic and social conditions. The research found that while technical cooperation activities had continued to perform adequately following the scheduled completion of international cooperation, the extent of the services established had not been realized in other sectors. Discussions were held on better approaches to planning and organizing social services and promoting sustainable livelihoods in communities. The proposal is at an advanced stage of formulation, including inputs from research scholars and practitioners with a view to organizing an intense interregional exchange on the question as envisaged in Development Account Project H (2000-2001). It is envisaged that the venue for the exchange will be South-east Asia in late 2001 and that it will provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge and national experiences between the world’s leading experts in sustainable livelihoods, rehabilitation and the inclusion and empowerment of disabled people.

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20 "Compilation of international norms and standards relating to disability" —

21 Both de jure and de facto discrimination exist in many forms, ranging from subtle irritants to invidious discrimination, such as denial of equal opportunities for education, employment, shelter and public services as well as discrimination in social, cultural and political life.

22 A/37/351/Add.1 and Add.1/Corr.1, annex, sect. VIII, para. 194 —

23 Measurement of a population that is deemed representative of persons with disabilities was recognized as important in accomplishing this goal. Because only after such a population is identified in data sources can indicators comparing persons with disabilities and non-disabled people be assessed. For instance, to compare unemployment rates between people with disabilities and non-disabled people in a census or a survey, a population must be identified as having disabilities.

24 Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1995, Supplement No. 8 (E/1995/28), para. 56.

25 See United Nations Secretariat, Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis Statistics Division, Part Two: Topics and Tabulation for Population Censuses (ST/ESA/STAT/AC/51/2).

26 E/CN.3/1997/14, para. 29; and World Health Organization, International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities, and Handicaps: A Manual of Classification Relating to the Consequences of Disease (Geneva, World Health Organization ISBN 92 4 154126 1, 1980).

27 Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1997, Supplement No. 4 (E/1997/24), para. 55.

28 United Nations Secretariat, Department of International Economic and Social Affairs, Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses (ST/ESA/SER.M/67/Rev.1).

29 A/52/351, para. 48.

30 World Health Organization, International Classification …, op. cit.

31 Resolution 48/96, annex, para. 17.

32 However, in a review of different disability models, Barbara Altman notes that many models view disability as an outcome of the interaction of persons with a functional limitation and their environments, not at the level of functional limitations — Barbara M. Altman, "Disability definitions, models, classification schemes and applications", chap. 3, in Gary L. Albrecht, Katherine D. Seelman and Michael Bury (eds.) Handbook of Disability Statistics (Thousand Oaks (CA), Sage Publications, 2001), pp. 97-122. Taking this argument further, the definition for disability used by an international non-governmental organization, which has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, Disabled Persons International explicitly views disability as caused by environmental factors. "Disability", Department of Public Information notes, "is the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in the normal life of the community on an equal level with others due to physical and social barriers".

33 The Internet site for United Nations disability statistics is located at The site does not however validate as HTML 4.1 transitional and thus poses accessibility problems to persons with disabilities.

34 Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-fifth Session, Supplement No. 3 (A/55/3), chap. III, para. 17.

35 The Conference site is located at

36 The project responds to Economic and Social Council resolution 2000/10 of 27 July 2000, which, in paragraph 4, calls for special emphasis to be accorded to: "the situation of persons with developmental and psychiatric disabilities, with a focus on integrating such persons into society".


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