Since 1992, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been annually observed on 3 December around the world. The theme for this 2019 IDPD is ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’. The theme focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’ and recognizes disability as a cross-cutting issues, to be considered in the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
This 2019 observance of the IDPD at the UN Headquarters will be organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) on Tuesday 3 December 2019. The official commemoration of the day will be held in Conference Room 4 from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm. and 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm. The event consists of an official opening, a panel discussion on new initiatives for disability inclusion, and a spotlight event on sport for all for peace and development, which will be the opportunity to discuss sport as a powerful enabler of peace and sustainable development through the empowerment of persons with disabilities.
Videos of the event
Launch of the IDPD 2019
10:00 am – 10:20 am, Conference Room 4
The Launch of the observance will take place with the Secretary-General (his representative), the President of the General Assembly (PGA) and Civil Society, expressing the solidarity of the international community to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for all by for and with persons with disabilities.
Introduction: Mr. Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary‐General for Economic Development and Chief Economist
- H.E. Amb. Tijjani Muhammad‐Bande, President of the General Assembly
- Mr. António Guterres, Secretary‐General of the United Nations (video message)
- Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez, Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary‐General on Policy
- Ms. Venus Ilagan, Harvard University, Civil Society Representative
Opening of the Observance of the IDPD at the UN Headquarters
10:25am – 11:30am, Conference Room 4
The Opening of the Commemoration Event of the IDPD will highlight the importance of leadership of persons with disabilities for the 2030 Development Agenda. It will include statements by global actors that will take stock of progress and share a vision for a disability-inclusive global agenda, addressing the three pillars of the work of the United Nations.
- H.E. Amb. Luis Gallegos, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations and President of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- H.E. Craig Hawke, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations
- H.E. Amb. Joanna Wronecka, Permanent Representative of Poland to the United Nations
- H.E. Amb. Alya Ahmed Saif A. Al‐Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations
- H.E. Amb. Mitch Fifield, Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
- Mr. Thomas Iland, self‐advocate with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Author, Consultant
Panel: New initiatives for disability inclusion
11:35 am – 1:00 pm, Conference Room 4
Important initiatives for disability inclusion have been launched this year across the three pillars of the UN system: peace and security, human rights, and development. This panel session will address the initiatives and discuss next steps. The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) was launched by the UN Secretary General in June to transform the way the UN works on disability, operationalizing the disability inclusion across its system. UN entities and other stakeholders are individually and collectively taking action to mainstream disability and build an inclusive, accessible and sustainable world for all. Progress has been made at many fronts to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities, their rights, well-being and perspectives in the global agenda. Accessibility – an essential means and the precondition for an inclusive society and development – continues to gain more visibility and deliver results through the efforts of the international community. A first ever Security Council Resolution to protect persons with disabilities in armed conflict (S/RES/2475(2019) further articulated the important nexus between disability and peace and security and marked an important step forward for persons with disabilities who are particularly at risk during conflicts.
A five-year ‘Safe Ground Campaign (2019-2023) was initiated by UNMAS. with the slogan: ‘Turning minefields into playing fields. The aim is to garner attention and provide assistance to the survivors of explosive ordnance through the promotion of sport and play. Similarly, sport can support armed services personnel and veterans with disabilities, facilitating their inclusion and participation through events such as the Invictus Games, an international adaptive multi-sport event launched in 2014.
Civil society and the private sector are also taking the lead in supporting the inclusion of persons with disabilities at the global, regional, national and local action. New and emerging networks are spearheading the mainstreaming of disability in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs.
Following the 2019 IDPD, in December 2019, the Government of Qatar will organize a global conference on disability and development to step up the ongoing efforts by global, national, regional and local actors to keep the promise of the 2030 development agenda for all.
Moderator: Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Inclusive Social Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
- H. E. Amb. Walton Alfonso Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, co‐chair of the Steering Committee on Accessibility
- Mr. Gopal Mitra, Senior Officer, UNDIS Team/EOSG
- Ms. Aparna Mehrotra, Director, UN System Coordination Division, UN Women
- Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda, DIAUD Network; President Pineda Foundation and Ms. María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility ‐ Video
- Dr. Takashi Izutsu, University of Tokyo
- Mr. Paul Heslop, Director of Operations, United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
- Ms. Tiziana Oliva, Executive Director, Global Influencing and Impact, Leonard Cheshire
Musical Performance by Milal performance group (organized by the Internal Disability Association)
3.05 pm – 3.20 pm, Conference Room 4
Spotlight Event: Sport for all for Development and Peace
3:20 pm – 5:00 pm, Conference Room 4
The preamble of the 2030 Agenda acknowledges sport as an important enabler for sustainable development and peace. This message was consolidated by the 2018 Secretary-General’s report “Strengthening the global framework for leveraging sport for development and peace” (A/73/325) and the General Assembly’s resolution on “Sport as an enabler of sustainable development” (A/RES/73/24). ‘Sport’ as defined by the Kazan Action Plan comprises sport for all, physical play, recreation, dance, and organized, casual, competitive, traditional and indigenous sports and games in their diverse forms.
Sport is a powerful tool to promote multilateralism and to bring people together. In the context of peace building and conflict prevention/resolution as well as post-disaster relief, sport can promote peace, tolerance and understanding.
Article 30 of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) established the right of persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities. In June 2019, a dedicated high-level panel of the 12th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities underlined that for persons with disabilities, sport has the power to change perceptions, prejudices and behavior and is powerful tool to strengthen social ties and networks. Though persons with disabilities continue to be excluded from recreational and sporting activities due to misconceptions, prejudice and lack of accessible facilities, Member States and civil society stakeholders are increasingly supporting policy interventions that are improving accessibility and availability of sporting opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Moderator: Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Inclusive Social Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
- Mr. Victor Calise, Commissioner NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
- Ms. Lindsay Krasnoff, Member of USA Steering Committee, Football for Peace
- Mr. Adam Fraser, Global Chief Executive, Laureus Sport for Good
- Ms. Annika Bryson Emmert, young self‐advocate
- Ms. Mrudula Peddinti, Limbitless Solutions
- Ms. Caroline Gibson, Microsoft
- Ms. YoungEun Lee, young disability advocate
- Mr. Carlo Riva, L’abilità for Inter Campus
- Mr. Francesco Magisano, Achilles International, New York
- Mr. Michael Haddad, UNDP Regional Goodwill Ambassador in MENA (video message)
Video Message from Ms. María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on Disability and Accessibility for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2019.
The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy provides the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion through all pillars of the work of the United Nations: peace and security, human rights, and development.
The Strategy enables the UN system to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international human rights instruments, as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Agenda for Humanity and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
- Read the Strategy: English | Français | Español | Русский | عربي | 汉语
- Video message on the Disability Inclusion Strategy from the UN Secretary General
Events at UN Headquarters in New York
Art Exhibition Sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation and UNDESA
3-6 December 2019, Curved Wall, UN Headquarters, New York
Photos are contributed by Ms. Galina Shevlak, who is a Medical Doctor. She has M.S. and has been in a wheelchair for ten years. Ms. Shevlak cannot hold a brush or a pencil, and she is drawing using her finger. Her choice of colors reflects her positive outlook and love for life.
Heidi Latsky Dance Installation
3 December, 9.15 am – 9.45 am in the GA Lobby, Visitor Entrance Area, UN Building
Heidi Latsky Dance will stage a movement installation of 20-30 performers who together form a living gallery. The installation features different and unexpected bodies in white clothing (signifying all the colours of the rainbow and a metaphor for inclusion) moving as reverent sculptures in the space. The installation is sponsored by New York City’s Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD).
Accessible Digital Textbooks for All: Access to learning for children with disabilities through innovation and technology
3 December, 3:00-4:30 pm, in Danny Kaye, UNICEF House, 3 UN Plaza, NYC
UNICEF teams (Disability, Education, Innovation and ICTD) and partners are pleased to invite you to celebrate the launch of the Accessible Digital Textbooks for all website and the Emerging Lessons report. Coinciding with the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the event will feature a panel discussion that will highlight cross-sectoral and divisional UNICEF work to make the Organization more accessible and better serve children with disabilities through innovation and technology. Participants will be able to experience the concept of Universal Design for Learning through the digital textbooks and understand how technology an innovation can promote inclusive education for all. Flyer
“This is My Workplace” Celebrating the Abilities of Professionals Around the World Empowered Through Employment
3 December, 3:00-6:00 pm, ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
In observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Office of Human Resources of the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance invites you to join a conversation about disability inclusion on 3 December 2019 at 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm in United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) ECOSOC Chamber.
The event brings in experts and champions of disability inclusion to share best practices and highlight the empowerment of persons with disabilities that comes with ownership of the workplace. The theme “This is My Workplace” reflects the goals of the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy to create and promote a truly inclusive culture in our workplace where everyone can thrive and realize their full potential. Programme
Empowerment of women and girls with disabilities: How to better facilitate cross movement building and synergies to ensure meaningful participation of women and girls with disabilities
3 December, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, UN Women, Conference Room 19-20 (19th Floor), 220 East 42nd Street Daily News Building, between Second and Third Avenues
Organized by United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) Women Enabled International (WEI), International Disability Alliance (IDA), Humanity and Inclusion (HI), CBM, and SightSavers.
Excluded: Living with Disabilities in Yemen’s armed conflict
3 December 2019, 1:15 pm to 2:45 pm., Baha’i International Community’s United Nations Office, Suite 120, located at 866 United Nations Plaza (corner of 48th St and 1st Ave)
Amnesty International has examined the situation of persons with disabilities in Yemen amid the ongoing conflict. Their findings show how they have been disproportionately impacted and how the humanitarian community and donors need to do better to ensure a more inclusive humanitarian response. The event is organized by Amnesty International and the International Disability Alliance (IDA). It will feature a panel discussion drawing upon the report’s findings, as well as the wider context and recommendations to improve the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian response. International Sign interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided.
Changing the “Face“ of Tech Leadership: Celebrating Women with Disabilities who are Leading the Way in Tech
4 December 2019, 3 – 4.30 pm, CR.12, UN Headquarters, New York
To mark the IDPD 2019, the ITU and UN DESA are arranging a session highlighting the participation and leadership of women with disabilities in the tech sector. More specifically, this session will celebrate women entrepreneurs with disabilities in the tech sector and initiatives supporting the participation and leadership of women with disabilities in the sector. This session will showcase existing initiatives aimed at supporting women with disabilities in their careers in tech and celebrate female technology entrepreneurs with disabilities.
Events from around the world
High-level panel on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities: The UN Disability Inclusion Strategy – Ensuring that the UN system is fit for purpose
15:00-16:30, 3 December 2019, room XVI, A-building, Palais des Nations
The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy was launched in June 2019 by the United Nations Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres. To raise the standards of the UN’s performance on disability inclusion across the board, the Permanent Missions of Finland, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Mexico organized a high-level panel event on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities that is celebrated on 3 December. The high-level panel highlighted the main elements of the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy and point to the transformations that the United Nations system needs to achieve for the inclusion of persons with disabilities across all its work. The event was co-sponsored by the Missions of Bulgaria, Israel, Norway, Ecuador, Argentina and Namibia as well as the International Disability Alliance.
10 Principles of the Global Campaign Good treatment of girls, boys and adolescents with disabilities in the world
4 December, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m, UN ECLAC
The Special Envoy launched a website on the 10 Principles of the Global Campaign Good treatment of girls, boys and adolescents with disabilities in the world, matching this event with the IDPD. The launching activity was held on December 4, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at the premises of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). On the occasion, it was shared the creation of this new website that aims to promote and disseminate the 10 Principles for the protection, development and welfare of children and adolescents with disabilities. These 10 principles are available in various languages, including indigenous dialects and languages, allowing greater reach and mainly contributing to the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Video of the full release in English.