UNDESA/DSPD Forum on Disability and Development: Disability Inclusion and Accessible Urban Development

sadsdsCo-organized by DESA and UN-Habitat, supported by the African Disability Forum, 28 to 30 October 2015, UN Convention Center, Nairobi, Kenya

Recommendations on advancing disability-inclusion and accessible urban development (Word; PDF)


It is estimated that by 2050, 66% of the world’s population will be living in cities. Urban development brings both great opportunity and challenges. For the world’s more than one billion persons with disabilities, too often, their needs, concerns and contributions were often neglected in urban planning, design and construction of cities in many parts of the world. Ill-planed and built urban  presented significant challenges to widespread lack of access to built environments, from roads and housing, to public buildings and spaces, basic urban services, such as sanitation and water, health, education, transportation, and emergency response programs.

Lack of accessibility leads to the disadvantaged and vulnerable situations faced by persons with disabilities, leading to disproportionate rates of poverty, deprivation and exclusion. In addition, this contributes negatively to a loss of socio-economic wellbeing of the entire community. It is also important to note that developing urban infrastructures, facilities and services that are designed and built following accessibility or inclusive “universal design” principles from initial stages of planning and design incurs additional costs equaling to approximately less than 1 per cent of the total cost.  The spillover benefit of accessibility however shall never be overlooked. It goes far beyond persons with disabilities to a much broader spectrum of general population, from older persons, those with temporary injuries or mobility limitation such as mothers traveling with children. Accessibility can be effectively promoted as a smart investment that contributes to sustainable and inclusive development.

World leaders recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development agenda committing to making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe and sustainable. In October 2016, the Third Global Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III) will take place in Quito, Ecuador, to review the progress and lessons learned and to adopt a “New Urban Agenda” that focuses on policies and strategies to provide a global framework for future urbanization.

On the occasion of the 2015 World Cities Day (Theme: “Designed to Live Together”), the UN Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), will organize a three-day DESA Forum on Disability and Development with a focus on disability inclusion and accessible urban development in Nairobi from 28-30 October 2015 in close collaboration with UN-Habitat, ECA, the African Union Commission and civil society partners including the African Disability Forum. The Forum will bring together over 70 participants and observers, to map out the current situation for persons with disabilities in urban hubs, and will provide recommendations and best practices, which will expect to contribute to Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.

The DESA/DSPD Forum on Disability and Development, officially launched in 2013, is an initiative of the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). It aims to contribute to the on-going global efforts towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-2015 development framework and agenda, through exchange of experiences, expertise and innovative ideas to develop practical solutions for pressing issues with regard to disability-inclusion in development.


[Printable Word version]

Press Release: UN to promote more accessible and inclusive cities for persons with disabilities


9 to 9:30am: Opening
Welcome and opening addresses by:

9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Roundtable 1: Accessibility and disability inclusion in the context of urban development: Where do we stand?

Mr. Clinton Rapley (Facilitator)
International Management Services (Thailand/USA)

Ms. Amanda Gibberd (Rapporteur of session)
Department of Transportation (South Africa)

Mr. Kumaresh Chandra Misra
Habitat III Secretariat
Global overview on policy and practices in urban development and progress towards Habitat III

Mr. Guozhong Zhang
UNDESA International normative framework on disability and development

Ms. Susan Schorr
International Telecommunication Union
Global policy framework and standards on ICT accessibility (Presentation)

Ms. Maria D. Perrone Navas
Inclusive Management on Disabilities of the Vice-Presidency (Republic of Ecuador)
Accessibility and disability inclusion in urban development (a perspective from Ecuador and Latin America) (Presentation)

Mr. Mukhtar Al Shibani
Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (Saudi Arabia)
Universal design and built accessibility (perspective of Saudi Arabia)

Ms. Goh Siam Imm (remotely)
Building and Construction Authority (Singapore)
Inclusive, and universally designed housing and transportation in Singapore (Presentation)

Ms. Judith Heumann
State Department (United States)
Accessible urban development and disability inclusion in urban development (a perspective of USA )

Dr. Adebukola S Adebayo
Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities and Human and Organizational Resources Development Centre (Nigeria)
Accessibility and E-inclusion in urban development contexts (a perspective of Nigeria) (Presentation)

Ms. Inmaculada Placenia Porrero (remotely)
European Commission
Accessibility policy and practices in EU

Ms. Ann Frye (remotely)
Ann Frye Ltd., (United Kingdom) Accessible transportation in : key issue and trends (Presentation)

Ms. Stafanie Holzwarth, UN-Habitat/ Mr Christopher Kost, Africa Programme Director, Institute for Transport and Development Policy
Sustainable urban mobility and disability: Mainstreaming universal access

1:30 to 4:30pm
Roundtable 2: Exchange of national and local experiences on planning and building accessible and inclusive cities: Infrastructure, housing and public spaces

Mr. Clinton Rapley (Co-facilitator)
International Management Services (Thailand/USA)

Mr. Christophe Lalande (Co-Facilitator)
Accessible housing and disability inclusion (Presentation)

Mr. Michael Szporluk (Co-rapporteur)
UN Habitat consultant on urban planning
Accessibility and right to housing

Mr. Bob Ransom (Co-rapporteur)
Working Group of the ADF

Ms. Maria D. Perrone Navas
Inclusive Management on Disabilities of the Vice-Presidency (Republic of Ecuador)
Accessibility and disability inclusion practices in Ecuador (Presentation)

Mr. Joseph Kwan (remotely)
UDA Consultants Ltd. (Hong Kong, China)
Disability inclusion and accessibility – experience and lessons learnt from Hong Kong, China

Mr. Mohammed Gabbow
National Council for Persons with Disabilities, (Kenya)
Disability and accessibility promotion the role of public policy including public procurement: experience from Kenya

Mr. Mohammed Al Tarawneh
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Jordan)
Universal design and accessibility

Ms. Yetnebersh Nigussie Molla
ECDD (Ethiopia)
Disability and accessibility in urban contexts: some observation s from Ethiopia

Ms. Sela Brotherton
Zambia Federation of the Disabled (Zambia)
Housing and physical accessibility (Presentation)

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda (remotely)
University of California and Director of Inclusive Cities Lab (USA)
Accessibility and urban planning : current status and policy responses for the next phase towards an Inclusive New Urban Agenda (Video Message)

Mr. Ondoua Abah Gabriel (remotely)
CAFOD (Cameron) Accessible housing and disability inclusion

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Round table 3: Access to information, ICTs and basic public services

Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura (Facilitator)
DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) Consortium (Japan)
Accessibility in ICTs

Ms. Susan Schorr (Rapporteur)
International Telecommunication Union
Roles of ICT accessibility legislations and standards work for disability inclusion in development

Mr. Axel Leblois (remotely)
G3ICT (California)
ICT Accessibility and smart city development: promising practices and solutions (Presentation)

Ms. Jutta Treviranus
Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University Toronto (Canada)
ICT accessibility and universal design: roles of technical standards (Presentation)

Dr. Adebukola S Adebayo
Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities and Human and Organizational Resources Development Centre (Nigeria)
e-inclusion /e-Government and public services (Presentation)

Mr. David Banes (remotely)
MADA (Qatar) ICT accessibility (Presentation)

Mr. James Rwampigi Aniyamuzaala
Federation of the Hard of Hearing (UFHOH) (Uganda)
Access to information, ICTs and basic public service: a perspective from a youth and deaf community

Mr. Donal Rice (remotely)
National University of Ireland at Galway (Ireland)
Experience/lessons on planning and building accessible and inclusive cities from the perspective of the EU and Ireland in promoting participation and accessible ICTs (Presentation)

Mr. Samuel Kabue
EDAN (Kenya)
Accessibility and disability inclusion in urban development (Presentation)

Ms. Venus Ilagan
Rehabilitation International (Philippines)
Disability inclusion and accessibility

1:30 to 4:30pm
Roundtable 4: Planning and building accessible and inclusive cities, and the roles of standards and national legislation in urban development, such as in transportation and urban infrastructure

Mr. Shuaib Chalklen (Co-Facilitator)
Former UN special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development (South Africa)
Lessons from the implementation of Standard Rules

Ms. Ling Suen (Co-rapporteur)
ICSA (Intelligent Computers and Systems Applications) Inc. (Canada)
Universally Accessible Communities: the North American Experience (Presentation)

Ms. Amanda Gibberd (Co-Rapporteur)
Department of Transportation (South Africa)
Accessible transportation: addressing the gaps between policy and practices (Presentation)

Ms. Karim Del Rocío Garzón Díaz
Universidad del Rosario (Colombia)
Accessible transportation and tourism: some learning points from Colombia

Mr. Sunarman Sukamto
CBR DTC Solo (Indonesia)
Legally binding accessible transportation regulation in Solo City of Indonesia (Presentation)

Dr. Michael Fembek
Essl Foundation/Zero Project (Austria)
Accessible transportation: some promising case studies (Presentation)

Ms. Clare Pelham
Leonard Cheshire Disability (United Kingdom)
Accessible transportation and disability inclusion

Mr. Guy Davies
Disability Solutions (Pty) Ltd (South Africa)
Universally designed approach to improve accessibility to transportation

Ms. Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo (remotely)
World Bank Perspective from a development bank

Mr. Derrick Cogburn (remotely)
Institute on Disability and Public Policy for the ASEAN Region
Role of legislation and standard in promoting accessible urban development with focus on ICT

Mr. Michael Replogle (remotely)
Deputy Commissioner of Policy at New York City Department of Transportation (USA)
Accessible transportation how current policy and practices work for disability inclusion (Presentation & joint with Mr. Quemel Arroyo)

Mr. Quemuel Arroyo (remotely)
Department of Transportation, Government of New York City (USA)
Accessible transportation how current policy and practices work for disability inclusion

8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Special Session: Multi-stakeholders partnership to promote Disability Inclusion and Accessibility in Urban Development in Africa.

Co-facilitated by UNDESA and the former UN Special Rapporteur on Disability/African Disability Forum

Presentations of messages and interactive discussion

UNDESA/UN Habitat (global issues and trends)
Mr. Lefhoko Kesamang (African Union) (Presentation)
Ms. Winnie Chepkemboi Kalya (National Construction Authority)
Honorable Isaac Mwaura (Kenya Disability Paliamentary Association, KeDiPa)
Honorable Ben Njoroge (Senate, Kenya)
Mr. Bob Ransom (African Disability Forum)
Ms Saba Lishan (African Child Policy Forum) (Presentation)
Mr. Richard Mwathi and Ms Hannah Wanja (Young Voices of Leonard Cheshire Disability)
World Bank
Ms. Judith Heumann (USA)
Mr. Paul Mbatia (Light for the World)
Marianne Frederiksen (Danske Handicaporganisationer, DH)

1:30 to 4:30pm
Sixth meeting

Summaries of round-table discussions and presentation of key findings and recommendations on furthering promotion of accessible and inclusive urban development

– Roundtable one
– Roundtable two
– Roundtable three
– Roundtable four
– Special Session

Closing remarks

Mr Raf Tuts (UN-Habitat) (Statement)
Mr. Lefhoko Kesamang (African Union)
Mr. Shuaib Chalklen (African Disability Forum)
Mr. Guozhong Zhang (UNDESA)

Photographs of the meeting:

Participants at Forum in NairobiGroup picture of all Forum participants in Nairobi

Group picture of all Forum participants in Nairobi

Mr Kumaresh Chandra Misra from Habitat III Secretariat speaks during round table 1Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Ms. Aisa Kacyira, speaks at the Opening of the Forum

Documentation and Resources

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