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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality

Review and appraisal of the
World Programme of Action
concerning Disabled Persons

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INTRODUCTION

The current report presents the findings of the third quinquennial review and appraisal of the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982. The principal purpose of the World Programme of Action (A/37/351/Add.1 and Add.1/Corr.1, annex) is to promote effective measures for the prevention of disability, rehabilitation and the realization of the goals of full participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development, and of equality. It was envisioned in the World Programme of Action that revisions might be necessary, such revisions to be considered every five years based upon a report submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly on the progress made and obstacles encountered in its implementation. The report on the first review and appraisal (A/42/561) was considered by the General Assembly at its forty-second session in 1987, at the mid-point of the Decade; the report on the second (A/47/415 and Corr.1) was considered by the Assembly at its forty-seventh session in 1992.

The legislative bases for the current review and appraisal derive from the above mandates, as well as from resolutions on the situation of disabled persons and disability, adopted by the Assembly since the end of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992). These include Assembly resolution 48/95 of 20 December 1993, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report biennially on the progress of efforts to ensure the equalization of opportunities and full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the various bodies of the United Nations system; Assembly resolution 48/96 of 20 December 1993, by which it adopted the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities which include a specific monitoring mechanism to further the effective implementation of the Rules; Assembly resolution 48/99 of 20 December 1993, in which the Assembly, noting the importance of developing and carrying out concrete long-term strategies for the full implementation of the World Programme of Action beyond the Decade, with the aim of achieving a society for all by the year 2010, requested the Secretary-General to report in that regard, in the context of his report concerning a long-term strategy to further the implementation of the World Programme of Action. The Long-term Strategy (see A/49/435, annex) was endorsed by the Assembly in resolution 49/153 of 23 December 1994, in which it requested the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the Strategy to the Assembly at its fifty-second session. The Assembly, by resolution 50/144 of 21 December 1995, encouraged the Secretary-General to continue efforts to facilitate the collection and transmission of relevant data on disability to be used to finalize the development of global disability indicators, and to submit a report on that question to the Assembly at its fifty-second session.

The current review and appraisal has three objectives: (a) to review and assess recent trends and emerging issues in disability policies and programmes since the end of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons; (b) to document the initiatives of Governments, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations since 1992 which have interacted with selected disability issues and trends, and to review and assess their implications for programme implementation; and (c) to submit recommendations to further the implementation of the World Programme of Action to the year 2000 and beyond. The report also examines options to improve policy development and monitoring of programme implementation, including issues related to the development of information, statistics and indicators on disability.

The data sources for the current report include: (a) country-level data collected by the Statistics Division of the United Nations Secretariat for the computerized United Nations disability statistics database; (b) survey data collected in 1995 for the report prepared by the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development on monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules (A/52/56, annex); (c) data collected by the International Labour Organization (ILO) for monitoring ILO Convention No. 159; (d) data collected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on issues and trends in special needs education; and (e) other official United Nations documents.

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