Highlights Vol 23, No. 12 - December 2019

The whole world benefits when everyone is included

“Disability inclusion is central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. When we remove policies or biases or obstacles to opportunity for persons with disabilities, the whole world benefits,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said earlier this year when he addressed the 12th session of the Conference of State Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Today, one billion people, or 15 per cent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. Recent data show that persons with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty than persons without disabilities due to barriers in society such as discrimination, limited access to education and employment and lack of inclusion in livelihood and other social programmes.

To change this, and to make sure that everyone is included regardless of ability, leaving no one behind, the world made a promise by adopting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 goals provide powerful guidance to local communities, countries and the international community to ensure that our development efforts are disability-inclusive.

It is against this backdrop that UN DESA is commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) this year focusing on the theme “Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda”. The theme centers around the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisioned in the 2030 Agenda, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’.

At this year’s event, participants will hear more about important initiatives for disability inclusion which have been launched this year. This includes the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) which was launched by the UN Secretary-General in June this year to transform the way the UN works on disability, operationalizing disability inclusion throughout the entire organization.

They will also learn how UN entities and other stakeholders are taking action and how progress is being been made to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities, their rights, well-being and perspectives in the global agenda.

Civil society and the private sector are also taking the lead in supporting the inclusion of persons with disabilities. In December 2019, a global conference on disability and development will take place in Qatar to step up ongoing efforts by global, national, regional and local actors to keep the promise of the 2030 development agenda for all.

Another component of this year’s celebration will focus on the power of sport to bring people together. Not only does sport help empower persons with disabilities, while promoting peace, tolerance and understanding. But it also has the power to change perceptions, prejudices and behavior and to strengthen social ties and networks among persons with disabilities. Together with different international actors, the UN is increasingly supporting interventions that are improving accessibility and availability of sporting opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Follow this year’s observance of the IDPD at UN Headquarters in New York to learn more about these efforts. The programme will consist of an official opening, a panel discussion on new initiatives for disability inclusion, and a spotlight event on the theme of ‘Sport for all for peace and development’. The event will be broadcast live via UN Web TV.

For more information: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International cooperation on migration – what’s next?

December is a time to recall that all migrants—no matter their immigration status—are entitled to the same basic human rights as everyone else. Migrants form a vital and integral part of our societies and contribute much to sustainable development. As revealed by UN DESA’s latest revision of estimates of the International Migrant Stock, the number of international migrants globally reached an estimated 272 million in 2019, an increase of 51 million since 2010. The global number of international migrants has grown faster than the world’s population. As a result, migrants comprise 3.5 per cent of the global population today, compared to 2.8 per cent in the year 2000.

On 18 December, the United Nations celebrates International Migrants’ Day, marking 29 years since the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. One of the nine core international human rights instruments, the Convention distinguishes between the basic human rights of all migrant workers and members of their families, regardless of their immigration status, and other rights of those who are in a regular situation. After almost three decades, the resolution continues to enjoy limited buy-in: only 55 Member States have ratified it so far, none of which are major migrant-receiving countries.

But that does not mean international cooperation on migration has stalled. On the contrary, exactly one year ago, on 10 and 11 December 2018, Member States came together in Marrakech, Morocco, to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The General Assembly formally endorsed the Marrakech Compact on Migration on 19 December with an overwhelming majority of 152 Member States voting in favour.

The Compact has 10 cross-cutting and interdependent guiding principles: people-centred; international cooperation; national sovereignty; rule of law and due process; sustainable development; human rights; gender- and child-sensitive; whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.

It includes 23 objectives covering the full migration cycle, ranging from conditions and drivers of migration in home countries, to preparations for migration, movements, border management and integration in destination countries to development impacts, return and reintegration. Each of these objectives includes a series of concrete actions Member States can take.

In 2018, the Secretary-General established the UN Network on Migration, comprising 38 UN system entities to ensure coordinated support to Member States. A member of the Network’s Executive Committee, UN DESA co-leads the working group on data and evidence, contributes to the development of the Network’s knowledge platform and connection hub and supported the negotiations on the organizational arrangements for the international migration review forums.

In May 2019, the Network launched the start-up fund for safe, orderly and regular migration to support the implementation of the Compact. Today, the trust fund has already received pledges totalling more than $7 million.

The year 2020 will be a litmus test for international cooperation on migration as UN Regional Economic Commissions and other migration-related platforms undertake regional reviews to assess the status of implementation of the Compact. The results of these reviews will inform the first International Migration Review Forum in New York during the first half of 2022.

For more information: UN DESA’s Population Division – International migration

Photo: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

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