DESA Forum: Dialogue on the Post 2015 Development Framework and Disability

Quick links

  1. Report of the Dialogue on the post-2015 development framework and disability
  2. Programme (PDF)
  3. Presentations
  4. CART transcripts (unedited closed-captioning transcripts)
  5. Documents and resources for reference
  6. Previous DESA/DSPD Forums:
    1. Public Forum on Taking action toward a disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction framework and its implementation
    2. Forum on Disability and Development


The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), as the global focal point on disability issues of the UN system, will organize a “DESA Forum:  Dialogue on the post-2015 Development Framework and Disability” at United Nations Headquarters in New York, from 19 – 20 July 2013. The Forum will bring together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss a way forward for inclusion of disability in the development agenda and frameworks. The Forum’s objective is to contribute to on-going discussions toward a post-2015 UN development framework through exchange of experiences and ideas for disability-inclusive development: policy development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation for the continuing work of the international community toward society and development for all.


Governments of Brazil, Kenya, Philippines and Thailand, and Disabled People’s International (DPI), the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD), Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD), Rehabilitation International (RI) and the World Bank. 


The international community has agreed to achieve sustainable development by creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities and fostering equitable social development and inclusion (A/RES/66/288).  More than one billion people live with disabilities. No development path that excludes their participation in and contribution to development can be inclusive or sustainable.

The UN commitment to the advancement of persons with disabilities in society and development is deeply rooted in the goals of the United Nations Charter: promotion of better standards of life and fundamental human rights in larger freedom.  Over three decades, the international community has demonstrated its specific commitment to the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development through the adoption of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons (1982), the Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)  (2006).

Despite such commitments, disability has remained largely invisible in many mainstream development frameworks. Although the vast majority of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, disability was not, for example, included in the Millennium Development Goals, nor in their targets and indicators. As a result, disability has been invisible in their implementation, rarely included in national policies or programmes related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), or in their monitoring and evaluation.

As the 2015 deadline for the realization of the MDGs approaches, the international community begun to address the issue of a future development framework. As discussions regarding the post-2015 agenda gain momentum, the international community has before it a critical opportunity to ensure the inclusion of disability in the emerging global development agenda. To that end, the General Assembly decided to convene a high-level meeting, at the level of Heads of State and Government, on 23 September 2013, to consider the overarching theme “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond.” The High-level Meeting will provide a historical opportunity to address the situation of persons with disabilities in society and development, including their roles as both agents and beneficiaries of development.

The results of this forum are expected to make concrete contributions to on-going discussions concerning the post-2015 development agenda, as well as the United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on Disability and Development (23 September 2013). The summary of the discussions at this forum will used to inform the preparation of the upcoming major UN reports concerning development and disability.

2013 Forum for Dialogue on the post-2015 development framework and Disability

Welcome and opening of the Forum by Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, DESA

Statement by the H.E. Ambassador Dejan Šahović, Deputy-Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the General Assembly

Session 1: Interactive dialogue on Post- 2015 development frameworks and disability

Introduction of the Resource Persons

Introductory Presentations by Resource Persons as follows:

Facilitator: Representative of the PGA

Setting the Stage for the Dialogue:  Overview of the global development framework

  • Lessons learnt from the MDGs: Ms. Nora Groce, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre, Professor of University College London
  • Emerging post-2015 global development goals and frameworks: Ms. Diane Alarcon, UN DESA

Select issue areas concerning inclusive, sustainable and equitable development for all:  building networks and partnership for actions toward 2015 and beyond

  • Natural disaster reduction framework: Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)
  • Integrated transport:  Mr. Michael Replogle, Founder, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy
  • Accessible tourism and infrastructure:  Mr. Kazi Afzalur Rahman, Deputy Special Representative, World Tourism Organization (see also “Accessible Tourism for All“)
  • Access to basic public services and facilities: Mr. Yiping Zhou, Director, UN Office for South-South Cooperation

Interactive Dialogue (Q & A)

Discussants include:

  • Mr. Nobuyuki Hiruma (NHK Television, Japan)
  • Ms. Marcie Roth (FEMA, USA)
  • Ms. Ann Marit Saebones (Ministry of Social Affairs, Norway)
  • Ms. Ann Frye (UK) (key points)
  • Mr. Monthian Butan (Senate, Thailand)
  • Mr. Michael King (Nelson Nygaard Consulting, USA) (meeting handouts)
  • Mr. Tom Rickert (Access Exchange International)
  • Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura (Daisy Global)
  • Dr. Chapal Khasnabis (CBR, WHO)
  • Ms. Venus Ilagan (Rehabilitation International, Philippines)
  • Mr. Javed Abidi  (Disabled People’s International, India)
  • Ms. Maria Veronica Reina (Global Partnership for Disability and Development, Argentina)
  • Ms. Alesandra Posarac (World Bank)
  • Mr. Joshua Goldstein (Director of Economic Citizenship and Disability Inclusion)
  • Ms. Charmaine Crokett, (University of Hawaii)
  • Mrs. Isabelle Ducharme (Kéroul, Canada)

Summary and Closing

Session 2: Panel discussion on the post-2015 development framework on natural disaster reduction: disability inclusion in both policy and operational frameworks

Panel Presentations and Discussion

Facilitator: UN DESA


Presentations will include national, regional and global perspectives and contexts with a focus on: (a) Overview of global trends and issues concerning policies and corresponding measures for natural disaster and risk reduction in the context of sustainable and inclusive development; (b) Lessons learnt from the past, and promising practices to mainstream disability in national, regional global contexts and practices, and; (c) Entry points, action-oriented options and ways forward towards an inclusive post-2015 development agenda and framework.

Discussants include:

  • Mr. Shafiq-ur- Rehman (Milestone Society for Disabled Persons, Pakistan)
  • Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura (DAISY International, Japan)
  • Ms. Amna Ali Al Suwaidi (Supreme Council for Family Affairs, Qatar)

Interaction, Summary and Closing

Session 3: Panel discussion on ways forward towards a disability inclusive post-2015 development agenda : accessibility for sustainable and equitable development for all

Panel Presentations and Discussion

Facilitator: Mr. Shuaib Chalklen, UN Special Rapporteur on Disability of Commission for Social Development


  • Mr. Michael Replogle, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy
  • Mr. Holger Dalkmann, EMBARQ, World Resources Institute
  • Mr. Tom Rickert, Access Exchange International
  • Mr. Kazi Afzalur Rahman, UN World Tourism Organization
  • Ms. Ann Frye, consultant in transportation and disability issues, UK
  • Ms. Jutta Trevinarus, Inclusive Design Institute OCAD University, Canada
  • Mr. Chapal Khasnabis, Disability and Rehabilitation, WHO

Presentations and discussions will include national, regional and global perspectives and contexts with a focus on: (a) challenges faced in promoting environmental accessibility and their implication on sustainable and inclusive development; (b) Practical perspectives and approaches to advancing accessibility in the contexts of sustainable and inclusive development in areas including: integrated transportation, accessible tourism, infrastructures, ICTs, and access to public services.

Interactive discussion (Q+A)

Discussants include:

  • Mr. Senarath Attanayake (Uva Provincial Council Member, Sri Lanka)
  • Ms. Venus Ilagan (Rehabilitation International)
  • Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura (Japan)
  • Mr. James Lalu (Global CBR Network, Nigeria)
  • Ms. Sylvana Lakkis, (Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union)
  • Mr. Davud Rehimli (Azerbaijan)

Summary and follow-up: building innovative networks on development and disability for next steps

Closing remarks (DESA)

Closure of the Forum

Documents and resources for reference

  1. UN resolutions and reports:
  2. Other resources on the following thematic issues: