Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been annually observed on 3 December around the world. The theme for this year’s IDPD is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. This theme focuses on the empowering persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 2030 Agenda, pledging to “leave no one behind,” is an ambitious plan of action of the international community towards a peaceful and prosperous world, where dignity of an individual person and equality among all is applied as the fundamental principle, cutting across the three pillars of the work of the United Nations: Development, Human Rights and Peace and Security. It is critical to ensure, in this regard, the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and create enabling environments by, for and with persons with disabilities.
More than half of the world’s population now live in urban areas. By 2050, that figure will rise to 6.5 billion people. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces. The 2030 Agenda places great importance on issues related to sustainable urbanization, particularly in Goal 11: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), held in Quito, Ecuador in 2016, recognized the importance of adopting a smart-city approach that makes use of opportunities from digitalization, clean energy and technologies, as well as innovative transport technologies enabling cities to improve their service delivery. Importantly, the New Urban Agenda acknowledged that future cities, towns and basic urban infrastructures and services need to be more environmentally accessible, user-friendly and inclusive of all people’s needs.
In the morning, the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities will feature the launch of the first UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development on the “Realization of the Sustainable Development Goals by, for and with persons with disabilities”. The publication will be launched by Mr. Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General, for Economic Development and Chief Economist (UN DESA).
The opening ceremony will review the progress achieved, explore ways to further empower persons with disabilities and provide an overview of the international framework of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SDGs, in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The event will gather Member States, UN entities, civil society organizations, academic institutes and persons with disabilities.
In the afternoon, the commemoration will focus on “Accessible Cities for All: Smart and Inclusive Urban Planning” as key elements to reduce inequalities and empower people to live in accessible, usable and friendly healthy environments. The event will explore SDG11 of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development by providing space for Mayors, City Leaders to exchange innovative solutions on how to implement the SDGs and to exchange good practices about inclusive urban planning to promote the participation and well-being of their citizens of all ages and abilities.
Afterwards, the event will discuss smart inclusive environment and how to apply information and communication technologies to provide better infrastructure, quality services in a safe accessible environment.
Concept Note (PDF)
Events at UN Headquarters in New York
Events for the 2018 IDPD celebration at UN Headquarters in New York will be organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) on Monday 3 December 2018, in collaboration with the Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly , Ecuador, Republic of Korea, Brazil, Bulgaria, Italy, Philippines, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, ITU, UN Women and the UN Department of Management.
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.
Draft Programme (PDF) – as of 3 December
Opening Ceremony on “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”
10.00 am – 11.00 am, Conference Room 4
The Opening of the International Day will include the Day’s message from the UN Secretary-General, as well as statements from the President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, Member States and Civil Society Organizations.
- Opening Statement by H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly (video message)
- The launch of the Flagship Report by Mr. Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist (UN DESA)
- Statement by Ms. Kira Christianne Danganan-Azucena, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the UN
- Statement by H.E. Mr. Georgi Panayotov, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the UN and President of the Conference of States Parties of the 10-11th sessions (2017-2018)
- Statement by Ms. Tiziana Oliva, Executive Director, Leonard Cheshire Disability
Recent Initiatives taken by Member States, UN system and Civil Society
11.05 am – 11.55 am, Conference Room 4
The panel will discuss recent initiatives on empowering persons with disabilities and on how stakeholders can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations to address the multiple forms of discrimination and “leave no one behind”.
• H.E. Ms. Karen Pierce, Ambassador, United Kingdom Mission to the UN
• Mr. Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance (IDA)
• H.E. Mr. Park Chull-joo, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations
• H.E. Mr. Mauro Vieira, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN
• H.E. Burhan Gafoor, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN
• Ms. Aparna Mehrotra, Director, UN System Coordination Division, UN Women
• Ms. Venus Ilagan, Secretary General, Rehabilitation International
High-level Panel on “Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities”
12.00 pm – 1.00 pm, Conference Room 4
Achieving disability inclusion will require international efforts and effective partnerships, involving Member States, United Nations agencies, humanitarian and human rights actors, development actors, peace and security actors, local communities and organizations of persons with disabilities. The panel will provide an overview of the international framework of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and recent progress. The discussion will focus on key challenges and cross-cutting issues in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and explore innovative solutions for the well-being of persons with disabilities. The panel will discuss how stakeholders can contribute to strengthening the mainstreaming of disability, enhance awareness and improve cooperation into the process of achieving the SDGs at all levels.
Bios of Panellists
• Ms. Maria Martinho, Social Affairs Officer, UNDESA/DISD
• Ms. Margaret Mbogoni, Senior Statistician, UNDESA/UNSD
• Mr. Mark Waltham, Senior Education Adviser, UNICEF
• Ms. Leyla Sharafi, Programme Analyst for Human Rights and Gender, UNFPA
• Ms. Sarah Rattray, UNDP’s Lead on Disability
• Ms. Sophie Mitra, Associate Professor of Economics, Fordham University
Musical Performance by Special Olympics Korea
3.05 pm – 3.20 pm, Conference Room 4
High-level Panel on “Accessible Cities for All: Smart and Inclusive Urban Planning”
3.25 pm – 3.55 pm, Conference Room 4
The panel discussion will explore concrete strategies and policy proposals to develop an integrated approach for smart and inclusive cities that are accessible to all; Recommendations for actions and partnerships at the global and local levels for the creation of an enabling environment to ensure that cities benefit all people, including persons with disabilities; Innovative solutions to challenges that future cities will face in making infrastructure, social services, information and safe environments accessible for all; Sharing of expertise and experience on how cities can foster inclusive urban planning for all by using innovation and technology including artificial intelligence? How can all people benefit? and the way forward for evidence-based research on smart and inclusive urban planning.
Bios of Panellists
• H.E. Mr. Luis Gallegos, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations
• H.E. Ms. Mariangela Zappia, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations
• H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
• Mr. Saud Al Shamsi, Deputy Permanent Representative of United Arab Emirates Permanent Mission to the United Nations
• Mr. Mario Armella, World President of the International Federation for Family
Session 1: Inclusive Cities
• Mr. Victor Calise, Commissioner, New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
• Ms. Mara Gabrilli, Senator, Government of Brazil and recently elected to the CRPD
• Mr. Raúl Aguayo-Krauthausen, a disability rights activist on accessible cities
• Ms. Elise Roy, Inclusive Design Strategist
Session 2: Smart Inclusion
• Ms. Ursula Wynhoven, ITU Representative to the United Nations
• Mr. John Paul Farmer, Director, Microsoft Cities
• Mr. Asher Remy-Toledo, Director and Founder of Hyphen Hub
• Mr. Albert Manero, President, Limbitles Solutions
Special Event on “Creating a more Inclusive Workplace”
30 November 2018, 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm, Conference Room 12, UN Building
A panel discussion with UN staff members and the Commissioner from New York City ‘s Mayor’s Office on Disability.
Heidi Latsky Dance Installation
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). For more information, please visit: heidilatskydance.org
Special Event on “II Global Recognition Award “Good Practices of Employability for Workers with Disability”
10.00 am – 1.00 pm, Conference Room 11
The event is hosted by the Sao Paulo Secretary of Rights of persons with disabilities, Brazil
Special Event on “The Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Empowering Persons with Disabilities”
1.15 pm – 2.30 pm, Conference Room 4
The event will explore innovative uses of ICTs for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. It will seek to enhance awareness of what is already possible as well as what is coming down the pipeline and inspire us to further action and cross-sector collaboration to realize the potential of ICTs in this context. It will also explore what is needed from a policy standpoint to accelerate progress towards a more inclusive ICT-enabled future through and with the full participation of persons with disabilities. The event is organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)
Special Event on “The Art of the Possible”
12.00 pm – 2.30 pm, Conference Room 1
The event is organized by the UN Department of Management