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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

IV. Regional cooperation for equalization of opportunities

  1. African Decade of Disabled Persons (2000-2009)
  2. Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993-2002)

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

IV. Regional cooperation for equalization of opportunities

A. African Decade of Disabled Persons (2000-2009)

68. The Economic and Social Council, in paragraph 14 of its resolution 2000/10, encouraged international support for the African Decade of Disabled Persons to promote equalization of opportunities by, for and with persons with disabilities and to promote and protect their human rights.

69. In support of the Decade, the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability provided a grant to the East Africa Federation of the Disabled to organize a meeting on "Universal design and the United Nations Standard Rules in the African Decade of Disabled Persons" (Nairobi, 7-10 November 2000). One result of the meeting was formulation of a strategic plan for the Federation’s activities during the African Decade. Major issues to be addressed include the need for capacity-building, promotion of awareness of the Decade, improved integration of all people with disabilities in the societies in which they live, poverty eradication and building networks, partnerships and alliances in support of the Decade.

70. The Pan-African Federation of the Disabled, an NGO, recently drafted a framework paper on the African Decade. The paper outlines a proposed set of long-term objectives for the Decade, expected outcomes, areas for priority actions as well as ideas on the overall organization and monitoring of the Decade at continental and regional levels.

71. The proposed long-term objectives of the African Decade include: poverty alleviation among people with disabilities and their families; awareness-raising on disability; putting disability on the social, economic and political agenda of African Governments; spearheading the implementation of the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for People with Disabilities; and ensuring the use of the United Nations Standard Rules as a basis for policy and legislation. The expected outcomes of the Decade include governmental priority for the rehabilitation, educational and employment needs of persons with disabilities.

72. The priority areas to be addressed focus on Rules 16, 7 and 3 of the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for People with Disabilities:

(a) Concerning poverty alleviation (Rule 16), OAU Member States are requested to commit themselves to include disability matters in the regular budgets of all national, regional and local government bodies; make provision for disability concerns in poverty reduction programmes and use access to basic services for persons with disabilities as indicators of progress. International agencies as well as NGOs are requested to include the disability dimension in all development programmes;

(b) Concerning employment (Rule 7), OAU Member States are requested to provide equal opportunities for productive and gainful employment in the labour market to disabled persons in both rural and urban areas;

(c) Concerning rehabilitation and appliances (Rule 3), OAU Member States are requested: to ensure the provision of rehabilitation services to children, women and men with disabilities so that they may reach and sustain their optimum level of independence and functioning and to ensure the development and supply of support services, including assistive devices and interpretation services for persons with disabilities.

73. As the challenges and the long-term objectives expressed in the framework paper are many and wide in scope, the Pan-African Federation of the Disabled has also drafted a business plan, which focuses primarily on creating awareness and on generating commitments from African Governments to address disability issues. The business plan aims to empower persons with disabilities and their organizations so that they can act as strong advocates for their human rights and their rights to participation and equal opportunities in society; and to provide planning and monitoring tools and training opportunities for governmental officials so that they are better able to incorporate the disability dimension into the work of their respective departments. The business plan is divided into two four-year phases: the first phase focuses on building the capacity of disabled persons’ organizations and their leadership as well as of African Governments. The second four-year phase continues the focus on capacity-building but also includes several important service delivery components.

74. The objectives identified in the business plan envisage that, by the end of 2009, the Pan-African Federation of the Disabled, in collaboration with Governments and other stakeholders, will have developed capacities and implemented mechanisms to facilitate the integration of disability issues into governmental development strategies, planning and programmes, as well as the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of these activities.

75. If these objectives are pursued the Pan-African Federation of the Disabled would expect the following outcomes:

(a) A minimum of 200 senior officials working in the African disability sector’s continental and regional offices to plan, coordinate, monitor and evaluate disability programmes as well as train government officials on project management in the disability sector by June 2003;

(b) Business plans for the Pan-African Federation of the Disabled and the five African disability organizations, to be established by December 2003. These business plans will enhance effectiveness and efficiency as well as facilitating marketing and fund-raising;

(c) An estimated 200 elected leaders and senior managers from African disabled people’s organizations should be trained in enhanced skills in leadership, advocacy, fund-raising and strategizing by December 2003;

(d) Improved organizational structures and work systems for the Pan-African Federation of the Disabled and five continental disability-specific organizations in Africa, to be in place by December 2004;

(e) Key performance indicators for African disability programmes, to be elaborated by June 2005;

(f) A model for promoting awareness and for marketing plans for African disabled people’s organizations, to be drafted by June 2005;

(g) Monitoring and evaluation systems for disabled people’s organizations and interested African Governments to be operational by June 2007;

(h) An operational database on African disability legislation, policies, programmes, research and related topics to be established by December 2004;

(i) Improved coordination of inclusive and exclusive disability programmes between governmental departments, disabled people’s organizations and Governments, to be in place by June 2009;

(j) The Pan-African Federation of the Disabled involvement in participatory and emancipatory research and information dissemination, which is expected to empower disabled persons and their organizations to be operational by June 2008;

(k) Better integration of, and participation by, disabled persons in regional, national and local development programmes, such as poverty alleviation/ eradication programmes, educational programmes and sustainable income-generating programmes, by December 2009;

(l) Increase of 50 per cent in the involvement of women, youth and parents of disabled children in the leadership of disabled people’s organizations by June 2009, either within or outside current organizational structures;

(m) Sustainable training programmes consisting of organizational structures, curricula, learning materials, teaching aids and accreditation systems for (i) sign language instructors, (ii) sign language interpreters, (iii) students with sign language as their first language and (iv) students with sign language as their second language, to be available by December 2004.

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B. Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993-2002)

76. By Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) resolution 48/3, Member States of the Commission proclaimed the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, with the goal of full participation and equality of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life.

77. ESCAP organized a major review of progress in implementing the targets of the Decade, "Campaign 2000 for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002" (Bangkok, 11-15 December 2000). Meeting participants adopted the Bangkok Millennium Declaration on the Promotion of the Rights of People with Disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region. The key recommendations reflected commitment to collaborative action towards the fulfilment of the 107 targets for the implementation of the Agenda for Action for the Asian Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons and for the establishment, in Thailand, of the Asian and Pacific Centre on Disability, by 2002. Preparations were initiated for the organization of the high-level intergovernmental meeting to conclude the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, to be held in Otsu City, Japan, in October 2002. The meeting would focus on two main areas: a review of the achievement of the goals of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, in particular fulfilment of the 107 strengthened targets for the Agenda for Action for the Decade, and consideration of a framework for action beyond the Decade.

78. As follow-up to the Regional Training Workshop on Disability Statistics (New Delhi, 7-11 February 2000), ESCAP organized the second subregional workshop on disability statistics in Shanghai, from 9 to 14 April 2001, in cooperation with the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP) and the National Statistical Office of China. One of the recommendations of the workshop was the adoption of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICIDH-2) framework for the development of questions on disability in the national censuses and in disability surveys at agencies and organizations responsible for data collection.

79. At the round-table forum on "Women with Disabilities", held during Campaign 2000, participants raised a number of issues, including the fact that women with disabilities often lack access to information on the disability self-help movements, that self-help groups for women with disabilities exist in only a small number of countries and territories in the ESCAP region and that basic human rights of many women with disabilities often are limited. The data available suggest that the situation for women and girls with disabilities remains critical and that the review of the preliminary analysis of the Beijing+5 outcome document called on Governments to address the special needs of disabled women and children with more vigour. The High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to review the regional implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, held in Bangkok in October 1999, emphasized that the needs of women and children with disabilities must be addressed within a broad human rights framework in terms of policies, the law and actual practice. Disabled women and girls form part of one of the more marginalized groups in the Asian and Pacific region and are most at risk of living in poverty. Less than 5 per cent of children and young persons with disabilities have access to education and training; and girls and young women face significant barriers to participating in social life and development.

80. Since the inception of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993-2002), a number of developing countries in the ESCAP region have made progress in furthering the involvement of women with disabilities in leadership roles, self-help organizations of persons with disabilities and national coordinating committees or similar bodies. Full and effective participation of disabled women in decision-making and in policy development and management is premised on concerted practical efforts in public information and capacity-building — training of trainers in particular — so that women with disabilities as well as disability advocates are aware of issues, trends, norms and standards. In this context, the Secretariat and ESCAP organized, in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Summit of Women Mayors and Councillors, a seminar on advocacy and development participation opportunities for women with disabilities and disability advocates from selected ESCAP Member States and an intensive leadership training workshop on disability norms and standards and implications for promotion of strategies, policies and programmes at local governmental level to promote equalization of opportunities by, for and with women with disabilities. The Asia-Pacific Summit provided an important forum for dialogue and opportunities for technical exchanges among women mayors, councillors and similar officials on development participation and the transformative role of women in social life and development. Women with disabilities and disability advocates attending the Asia-Pacific Summit enhanced and informed the Summit proceedings, offering information and experience regarding effective measures to further full participation and equality with special reference to local governments. The final declaration of the Summit, the "Phitsanulok Declaration on the Advancement of Women in Local Government", contains consensus policy recommendations on reinforcing a disability dimension in decision-making and in local government.

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