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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Implementation of the
World Programme of Action
concerning Disabled Persons

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IV. Perspective framework for the fourth review and appraisal of the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons

Implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons


I. Introduction

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

III. Regional cooperation for equalization of opportunities

IV. Perspective framework for the fourth review and appraisal of the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons

Annex. Projects supported by the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability, 1 September 1999 to 31 October 2000, by region

65. In paragraph 7 of resolution 52/82 the General Assembly decided that the fourth quinquennial review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action, in 2002, shall consider the issues mentioned in paragraph 4 of the resolution, viz. "(a) accessibility, (b) social services and social safety nets, and (c) employment and sustainable livelihoods".

66. The fourth review and appraisal will mark the twentieth year of international cooperation - one full generation - to further implement the goals and objectives of the World Programme. It also takes place in the tenth year following the observance of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983- 1992).

67. When assessing progress and obstacles in implementation of the goals and objectives of the World Programme in the year 2002, a critical question is: to what extent are structures in place to implement the World Programme in the context of development? To the extent that such structures are not in place, the question becomes: how are these structures to be established? Critical aspects of such structures include:

   (a) Specific policies and programmes designed to facilitate equalization of opportunities by, for and with persons with disabilities;

   (b) Inclusion of the disability perspective in policies and programmes designed to foster social and economic development;

   (c) Specific goals and objectives for such disability-sensitive policies and programmes;

   (d) Establishment of verifiable indicators of progress in achieving these goals and objectives;

   (e) Establishment and development of systems and procedures for periodic monitoring and evaluation.

68. Experience in implementing the World Programme, to date, suggests that certain critical aspects should be examined:

   (a) Target areas for participation of persons with disabilities, as mentioned in the Standard Rules for Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, including education and employment;

   (b) Situation of women and specific population groups, such as children, persons in poverty and persons with psychiatric and developmental disabilities;

   (c) Different levels of governmental intervention, such as intergovernmental organizations, including United Nations agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations, national Governments and the activities of non-governmental organizations;

   (d) Specific programmatic interventions, such as community-based rehabilitation (CBR), environmental accessibility, independent living, including measures to promote and support personal independence, social integration, choice in use of time, economic self- sufficiency and transition in mental functions.

69. On the basis of the data currently available, it is likely that the fourth review and appraisal will highlight a number of important developments in the disability field, which could include:

   (a) Progress in implementing priorities for action to promote equalization of opportunities - accessibility, social services and social safety nets, and employment and sustainable livelihoods - identified in General Assembly resolution 52/82;

   (b) Progress in implementing state-of-the-art technology to enhance the access of people with disabilities to economic and social development;

   (c) Lessons in implementing the Asian and Pacific Decade for Disabled Persons (1993-2002) and initiating the African Decade for Disabled Persons (2000-2009);

   (d) Progress in implementing the proposed resolution of the World Heath Assembly on a new International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICIDH), which is scheduled for May 2001;

   (e) Greater harmonization of monitoring efforts, as reflected in recommendations of the Statistical Commission for the year 2000 round of world population and housing censuses 35 and the International Conference on Disability Data, which is scheduled to be held in New York, 4-6 June 2001;

   (f) Ongoing activities of the Special Rapporteur on disability of the Commission for Social Development and efforts related to developing further international norms and standards relating to disability.

70. International cooperation to further implement the World Programme will be reviewed and assessed in the fourth review and appraisal not in isolation but in the context of the demographic, economic, social and technological changes that have occurred since the end of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons, in 1992. They include:

   (a) Emergence of a global knowledge-based economy and expansion of Internet-enabled information and communications technologies (ICT), although this is occurring at significantly different rates in different countries;

   (b) Adoption by many countries, particularly by countries with economies in transition, of market approaches;

   (c) Growing recognition that health and disability are distinct issues;

   (d) Increased incidence of formulation and adoption by countries of disability-sensitive policies;

   (e) Ongoing challenge of HIV/AIDS and other pandemics;

   (f) Increasing awareness and concern over the natural environment, environmental hazards and the impact on well-being and livelihoods;

   (g) Growing awareness of the importance of transparency and accountability of operations and results in government;

   (h) Global ageing of populations and extended active life spans;

   (i) Increased incidence of including questions on disability in the year-2000 round of population and housing censuses, either for a first or second time, which will allow for trend analyses of data.

71. A continuing theme of inquiry from the third review and appraisal 36 will be the monitoring of two key distinctions of progress in equalization of opportunities: assessment of progress in implementing disability-specific policies, and progress in incorporating the disability perspective into mainstream development policies.

72. The fourth review and appraisal also will consider disability issues with reference to women and to specific social groups, such as persons living in poverty, older persons and children. The review will consider populations comprising what some analysts have termed the "new universe of disability", 37 such as persons with mental health issues, with developmental and psychiatric disabilities, and those with active, acute conditions.

73. Particular attention will be paid to the area of mental health, since mental health issues are increasingly being considered as a component of disability policy. Discrimination against persons with mental health conditions will be reviewed and assessed so that progress towards incorporating mental health issues into norms, standards and policies can be documented.

74. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS have had a particular tie with disability. On one hand, fighting acute diseases has tapped resources that might be available for implementing policy on disability. On the other hand, the many people surviving with AIDS and other acute diseases often need services required by people with "traditional" disabilities. Issues and trends with regard to the implementation of disability policies for persons with acute conditions will be examined.

75. The presence of persons with acute conditions among persons with disabilities highlights another critical issue - the connection between disability and health. Traditionally, disability advocates have sought to decouple disability and health issues, asking that society reject the concept of people with disabilities as "sick". However, a growing body of evidence suggests that persons with disabilities are at greater risk of acquiring what have been termed "secondary conditions". Thus, the prevention of secondary conditions for persons with disabilities is becoming an important goal of public policy. Thus, review and assessment of progress in this area assumes special importance.

76. It is envisaged that different levels of analysis will be considered in the report. Hence, progress will be assessed at the level of the United Nations system, with reference to regional intergovernmental organizations and to selected experiences of countries

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35 Ibid., 1997, Supplement No. 4 (E/1997/24-E/CN.4/1997/29) para. 29; and Principles and Recommendations for the Population and Housing Censuses (ST/ESA//STAT/SER.M/67/Rev.1) paras. 2.266-2.285.

36 "Review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons" (A/52/351), or

37 Katherine D. Seelman, Change and challenge; the integration of the new paradigm of disability into research and practice, "Vision for the 21st century: population, health care, technology and employment"; paper presented to "National council on rehabilitation education conference (Vancouver, WA (USA), 8 March 1998)", or http://www.ncddr/org/new/speeches/ncre/ncre4.html.

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