International Day of Persons with Disabilities – 3 December 2010

“Keeping the promise: Mainstreaming disability in the Millennium Development Goals towards 2015 and beyond”


The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December was established by the International Year for Disabled Persons (1981). The Day aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities. The goal of full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and development was established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.

Through the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons (1982) and the Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993), the United Nations promotes the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. The Organization’s commitment to the full and effective participation of all human rights by persons with disabilities is deeply rooted in the quest for social justice and equity in all aspects of societal development.

These commitments provide an international policy framework, which has been further strengthened by the newly adopted Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006. The Convention provides an impetus and unique platform for advancement of the international disability rights agenda in development from which to engage the wider global development community. Work within this community is framed by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals.

Keeping the promise for disability-inclusive MDGs

Although many commitments have been made by the international development community to include persons with disability in all aspects of development, the gap between policy and practice continues. While the MDGs cannot be fully achieved without the inclusion of persons with disabilities, the current track toward the achievement of the MDGs may further increase their marginalization. Furthermore, the persistent and cumulative impact of the multiple global crises threatens the progress made toward the achievement of the MDGs that has a disproportionate and negative impact on persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities represent key target groups in all the MDGs, yet disability and the concerns of persons with disabilities still remains to be included in MDG processes and mechanisms. Their lack of representation could negatively impact on progress in the achievement of the MDGs. Although, Governments, global leaders, policy-makers and other stakeholders acknowledge the need for disability-inclusive development, they must be supported in their efforts and be reminded to keep their promises. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities – 3 December 2010 – can be used for this purpose to further ensure the full and effective participation of persons with disability in all aspects of societal life and development.

Early this year at the High Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs, Governments recognized that development policies and actions must also focus on persons with disabilities, so that they benefit from progress made in achieving the MDGs. Furthermore, the recent General Assembly resolution entitled “Realizing the Millennium Development Goals for persons with disabilities towards 2015 and beyond” stresses the need for more data and statistics on the situation of persons with disabilities and calls upon Governments to enable persons with disabilities to participate as agents and beneficiaries of development, in particular in all efforts aimed at achieving the MDGs.

This year the Day focuses on the tools for action to make the MDGs a reality for persons with disabilities, such as community-based rehabilitation (CBR) and the new Guidance Note on disability for UN Country Teams.

How the Day may be observed

Include: Observance of the Day provides opportunities for participation by all stakeholders – Governments, UN system organizations, civil society and organizations of persons with disabilities – to focus on issues related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the MDGs.

Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the Day focusing on disability issues and development to find innovative ways and means by which persons with disabilities and their families can be further integrated into the development agenda.

Celebrate: Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase – and celebrate – the contributions made by persons with disabilities as agents of development and change in the communities in which they live.

Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action to mainstream disability in all aspects of development, as well as to further the participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of equality. Highlight progress and obstacles in implementing disability-sensitive policies, as well as promote public awareness of barriers to the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the lives of their societies.

Events at UN Headquarters

Friday, 3 December 2010 (Programme of Events)

10.00 to 10.30 a.m.: Opening Ceremony (Conference Room 1, NLB)

  • Mr. Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General
  • H.E. Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan, Permanent Representative of the Philippines
  • H.E. Ambassador Ombeni Y. Sefue, Permanent Representative of Tanzania
  • H.E. Ambassador Yanerit Morg, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico
  • Ms. Maria Veronica Reina (GPDD)
  • Mr. Werner Obermeyer, Executive Director at Interim, World Health Organization Office at the United Nations

10.30 a.m. to 12.00 p.m.: Interactive Panel Discussion on Community-based inclusive development: The role of CBR in the realization of the MDGs for persons with disabilities (Conference Room 1, NLB)

  • Ms. Akiko Ito, Chief, SCRPD/DESA
  • Mr. Lawrence Carter-Long, Chairperson
  • Ms. Alana Officer (WHO)
  • Mr. Chapal Khasnabis (WHO)
  • Karen Heinicke-Motsch (CBM/IDDC)
  • Ms. Maria Veronica Reina (GPDD)
  • Ms. Aleksandra Posarac (World Bank)
  • Video: World Disability Report (WHO/WB)

12.00 to 4 p.m.: DESA Disability Film Festival (Conference Room 1, NLB)
Short films have been selected on the basis of their content that work to raise awareness of disability issues and to promote the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society.

1.15 to 2.30 p.m.: Seminar and Workshop on CBR Guidelines (Conference Room E, NLB)
The workshop will be conducted by WHO and its partners who prepared the recent CBR Guidelines and will be open to all attendees who would like to learn more about CBR and incorporating it as a tool for development, especially in achieving the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals.

Thursday, 2 December

1.15 to 2.30 p.m.: AIDS and Disability: An emerging developmental concern (Conference Room 7, NLB)
A “bridge event” on an emerging development issue will be held to commemorate World AIDS Day (1 December) and International Day for Persons with Disabilities (3 December). The panel, organized by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and the Permanent Mission of the United States to the UN, will discuss the emerging issue of AIDS and disability, including their linkages, with a view to foster the integration and development of inclusive HIV policies and programmes.

1.00 to 3.00 p.m.: Panel Discussion on Ageing and Disability (Venue: Church Center)
The panel discussion on Ageing and Disability will be organized by the NGO Committee on Ageing. Presentations will include issues related to ageing, long-term disability and disasters, as well as the recently launched CBR Guidelines by WHO and other stakeholders. The event will also include an overview of the events planned for 3 December.

3.00 to 5.00 p.m.: Education and the MDGs

Events around the world to commemorate IDPD2010
(More national commemorations forthcoming)


The International Labour Organization will commemorate the Day with a series of events th at include a message by the ILO Director-General Juan Somavia and video: Keeping the Promise of the MDGs – Including people with disabilities (direct link: Details at–en/docName–WCMS_146265/index.htm

The UN Human Rights Office’s most popular publication, “Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme, the Handbook for Civil Society”, is now accessible to people with visual and print challenges. The user-friendly guide explains how the different UN human rights mandates and mechanisms work, and how members of civil society, such as human rights defenders, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions, can engage with them most effectively. It also promotes collaboration between civil society and the UN Human Rights Office. The Handbook in this format is available now in English as a CD Rom and can be ordered from the OHCHR’s Publications Desk by contacting

During the 16 Days of Activism of 2010, UNHCR in Kassala, Sudan will launch a number of programmes and activities to address issues from SGBV, AIDS prevention, main-streaming of the rights of persons with disabilities, mental health, etc. A workshop will be conducted for all internal staff members with a focus on mental health services provided to the refugees, screening, mental health and human rights law, with group discussions including staff and psycho-social health workers. (

For detailed information regarding CBM celebrations around the world, please go to the following website: or


National Advisory Committee for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities announces all day festivities!  For more information please see:

1) Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Kevin Rudd, MP marked the Day with the launch of the first report on achievements toward ensuring persons with disabilities benefit equally from Australia’s aid programme.  He also announced four new partnerships on disability with related spending totaling just over $10 million over 4 years.  (
2) There will be a Gala Screening at the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra, presented by the
The ACT Human Rights Commission. (

St Poelten, Meeting and Conference organized by Caritas Vienna and NGOs:

1) Barrhead, Alberta, Canada. Barrhead Community Council celebrates the Day with their 6th annual Inclusive Community Celebration at the Barrhead Seniors Drop-in Center. (
2) The Community Futures Development Association of British Columbia will be celebrating keeping the promise by launching a peer to peer network for the entrepreneurs with disabilities. ( or
3) Tri-Cities Celebration of Ability in recognition of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The Tri-Cities are made up of the communities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody in British Columbia. (
4) Fashion Moves oversees a year long Fashion Design Challenge and works with new and established fashion designers to design fashionable garments for a disabling condition. (
5) Canadian Paraplegic Association of Ontario is sponsoring events of poetry readings, live music and local artwork at Variety Village. (

Iraqi Alliance for Disability in cooperation with Handicap International organized an event that was attended by over 200 diplomats and dignitaries, including representative of the President of the Republic of Iraq and the Deputy Prime Minister. Statements were made along with interactive discussions on the issues of persons with disabilities. Questions were also raised as to whether Iraq will be part of the CRPD and ratify the Oslo Treaty and activate national law for Iraqi persons with disabilities. Music and celebratory activities took place throughout the day.

The Association of Psychological and Educational Counselors of Asia- Pacific (APECA) and Mobility-India (MI) held an event on Saturday, 4th December, at Mobility India Office in Bangalore. 40 participants from different organizations attended, including a large group from Chamrajnagar, MI’s CBR project. Participants shared their personal stories of disability, their experiences, strength and hope with each other. The event concluded with a lunch.

1) UNWG, Rome will introduce the initiative of its Family Issues Committee of a Focal Point for UN Families with children/young adults with disabilities to inform and help families of the staff of the Rome based UN agencies. As part of an awareness raising campaign within the un Agencies, the UNWG will show at FAO, a video on children/young adults with disabilities. (
2) Special Day of Activities at the Palazzo Ducale, Provincia di Mantova, Settore Turistico e Culturale (,
3) Avigliano, Italy – Associazione di Famiglie a Vantaggio dei Disabili will present a Film Festival and a showing of “Aunt Lisa”

AIFO- K NGO and KOSCOBAR – K CBO will conduct a slum sensitization event and launch the project “Disability and development. Initiative for the vulnerable group of Korogocho, Kenya”- financed by Regione Liguria and AIFO, to celebrate the Day at the Korogocho Community Center. (

The Libyan Paralympic Committee will conduct an awareness-raising fair to highlight issues related to persons with disabilities. (

On December 3rd 2010 – the 3rd Nationale Wereldgehandicaptendag at the Ronald McDonald Centre in Amsterdam will be held using the very successful 2nd Nationale Wereldgehandicaptendag programme of 2009. The events will include a fashion show and a wheelchair tango demonstration, as well as a getting-to-know-you event at the information market place. (,

The Network of Organizations Working with People with Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP) will hold an event at the  Karachi Marriott Hotel, which will include a panel discussion with disability practitioners and Inclusive Society Pakistan will launch a parent support group. The event will also highlight success stories of persons with disabilities. (

This year’s commemoration includes a presentation of a Declaration of Support to the President and presenting priority issues that require support from concerned Government agencies, particularly the duty bearers on the promotion and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. An event will be held at the SKYDOME SM City North EDSA and includes a Forum on RA 9442 moderated by Pastor Rico Domingo and  Atty. Jessica Siguijor-Magbanua to announce the resolution of of the 11th Division of the Court of Appeals, LIFTING THE SUSPENSION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF NCDA ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 1 – or the guidelines on  issuance of  PWD IDs. to be enforceable nationwide. The opening ceremony will be conducted by UN Resident Coordinator’s Office represented by Ms. Eden Garde, the National Coordinator of UN Habitat. Other festivities also include a face painting booth, balloon twisting demo with balloon give aways for kids and a talent competition. (

The Public Chamber of Ivanovo Region will hold an event to commemorate the day to highligh integration issues related to children with and without disabilities. (Общественная палата

Somaliland National Disability Forum (SNDF) with of help its member organizations, international partners, Government and civil society representatives, as well as persons with disabilities, commemorated the Day with a forum, a public debate, a screening of a film on disability and drama production that included a presentation of the national anthem in sign language by deaf students (

South Africa
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa will hold an event on 9 December to commemorate the Day. ( or

United Kingdom
1. In Cambridgeshire at the OWL Centre in Sawston, Sawston’s Christmas Fair; In Papworth Everard, the Learning Centre will be celebrating with an early Christmas party featuring a live band; In Suffolk, the Learning Centre in Foundation Street, Ipswich is holding a fundraising coffee morning from 10am-12pm.; In Essex, Papworth Trust Centre in Basildon will be having a talent contest. To find out more please call 0800 952 5000 or visit
2. Special Olympic Great Britain: Wear the Laces Day!  Fundraising and awareness campaign… competitions with great prizes on Facebook.,
3. ADD International – Stamp and Swap Campaign,,
4. See new documentary on accessibility. Read more:
5. AbleChildAfrica will be marking Disability Day with a special Kilimanjaro Fundraising Climb where young people with disabilities will attempt to climb the mountain with Dame Evelyn Glennie. (
6. Free Public Lecture: The missing 650 million? Watch online at or
7. Haringey Disability First Consortium will have a good old fashioned “knees-up” with poets, DJs and making t-shirts that will include a report on successes, and challenges with a focus on in the coming years. Last year, the Consortium  launched its forum on the International Day.

United States of America
1. The Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of State Office of Global Women’s Issues, National Council on Disability, the United States International Council on Disabilities, Human Rights Watch, InterAction, and the U.S. Department of State’s Executive Women at State, Asian American Foreign Affairs Association, and Disability Action Group, will hold an event to address critical disability issues. (
2. United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) statement by Board of Directors

Themes and observances of previous years

You tell us!

If you would like to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in your community and would like to share an innovative idea that includes other stakeholders, such as your Government, a UN agency, an NGO/DPO or a community, please let us know about it. We will showcase the idea on our website to inform and inspire others to do the same. Please send your ideas to