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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

International Day of Disabled Persons, 3 December 2001International Day of Disabled Persons
3 December 2001

Theme for 2001

* Message of the Secretary General

* Resources Available

* United Nations expert group meeting on disability-sensitive policy and programme monitoring and evaluation, UNHQ, New York, 3-5 December 2001
  * Draft Agenda
  * Discussion Paper
  * Executive Summary
  * Paper: Human Genetics Research and Practice: Implications for Persons with Disabilities
  * Paper on Region: Caribbean
  * Paper on: Ecuador
  * Paper on: Ethiopia
  * Paper on: India

The International Day of Disabled Persons, 3 December, was proclaimed in 1992 the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 47/3. The annual observance of the Day aims to increase awareness and understanding of disability issues and trends, and to mobilize support for practical action at all levels, by, with and for persons with disabilities.

The theme for the year 2001 observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons is "Full participation and equality: The call for new approaches to assess progress and evaluate outcome." The theme of the Day is based on the goal of full participation and equality of persons with disabilities in social life and development, established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the General Assembly in 1982. During the almost twenty years since the adoption of the World Programme of Action, initiatives have been taken to realize its goals worldwide. Awareness and information about the situation of persons with disabilities is important if full participation and equality are to be achieved. As we look back to what has been achieved, and forward to a society where equalization of opportunities is a reality, it has become more critical than ever to monitor progress towards full participation and equality and evaluate outcomes.

The use of information on disability for planning and evaluation involves obtaining information for initial planning to analyze the current situation, set objectives and plan activities; as well as, for monitoring and evaluation, where information is used for programme evaluation or for progress.

Monitoring refers to the practice of setting goals and objectives and establishing evaluation criteria to determine whether the goals and objectives have been achieved.

Gaining a new and better understanding of information available for disability-sensitive monitoring and evaluation is a necessary step towards realizing the goals of the World Programme of Action.

How the Day may be observed

  • Involve: Observance of the Day provides opportunities for participation by all interested communities - governmental, non-governmental and the private sector - to focus upon catalytic and innovative measures to further implement international norms and standards related to persons with disabilities. Schools, universities and similar institutions can make particular contributions with regard to promoting greater interest and awareness among interested parties of the social, cultural, economic, civil and political rights of persons with disabilities.
  • Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the Day focusing on disability issues and trends and ways and means by which persons with disabilities and their families are pursuing independent life styles, sustainable livelihoods and financial security.
  • Celebrate: Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase - and celebrate - the contributions by persons with disabilities to the societies in which they live and convene exchanges and dialogues focusing on the rich and varied skills, interests and aspirations of persons with disabilities.
  • Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action to further implement international norms and standards concerning persons with disabilities and to further their participation in social life and development on the basis of equality. The media have especially important contributions to make in support of the observance of the Day - and throughout the year - regarding appropriate presentation of progress and obstacles implementing disability-sensitive policies, programmes and projects and to promote public awareness of the contributions by persons with disabilities.

To observe the International Day of Disabled Persons at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, the Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, will hold an Expert Group Meeting, 3 - 5 December, on Disability-sensitive policy and programme evaluation and monitoring, and a Panel Discussion, 6 December, on New approaches to assess progress and evaluate outcome. The Day, 3 December, will be celebrated by launching an art exhibit of paintings by Walter Engel, organized by the United Nations Recreation Staff Council Colombian's Cultural Club in cooperation with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Department of Public Information.


Resources available at the United Nations Programme on Disability Internet Site

Main disability specific mandates

Other reference

Resources on disability statistics available at the United Nations Statistics Division Internet Site


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