More from UNDESA Vol 22, No. 12 - December 2018

New publication connects persons with disabilities and the SDGs

Mainstreaming disability into all of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be essential to achieve these goals. Persons with disabilities need urgently to be able to access social protection, education, employment, basic services, inclusive access to water and sanitation, including accessible toilets.

This is the conclusion from the findings and figures presented in the very first publication of its kind on “Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities,” produced by UN DESA, and which will be launched on 3 December during the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Some of the key findings from the publication – which connects persons with disabilities with the 17 SDGs – reveal:

  • That in many developing countries, households with persons with disabilities are less likely to have access to electricity than those without persons with disabilities.
  • That women with disabilities are less likely to be employed than men with disabilities.
  • Employed persons with disabilities tend to earn lower wages than persons without disabilities. Wage gaps wider than 10 per cent have been reported. Lack of accessibility and reasonable accommodation can pose further obstacles. In eight developing countries, an average of 32 per cent of persons with disabilities report that their workplace is hindering or not accessible.
  • Among six developing countries, 46 per cent of persons with disabilities reported having experienced discrimination; in two of those countries, 17 per cent of persons with disabilities reported being discriminated against in public services.
  • Crowdsourced data, mostly from developed countries indicated that, in 2017, 32 per cent of public transportation facilities were not accessible. Businesses and public places can also be a challenge. In some countries, more than 25 per cent of persons with disabilities consider banks, shops and post offices hindering or not accessible.
  • According to crowdsourced accessibility data, out of over 20,000 public leisure facilities analyzed in various countries, mostly in developed regions, half were considered not accessible for persons with wheelchairs.
  • In five developing countries, on average, 30 per cent of persons with disabilities indicated that the courts and police stations were not accessible.
  • At least 120 out of 214 countries or areas that conducted a census during the 2010 round included a set of questions on disability, a significant increase from the approximately 19 countries or areas that had included such questions during the 1970 census round.

The new publication will become available on the website of UN DESA’s Division for Inclusive Social Development.

Shifting the way the world powers economic growth

As economic activity expands, the level of global CO2 emissions is still rising. After three years of remaining flat, global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 1.5 per cent in 2017 and are estimated to have risen further in 2018. This puts even greater policy importance on the forthcoming 24th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is scheduled to be held on 3-14 December in Katowice, Poland. Implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change requires a fundamental shift in the way the world powers economic growth, including rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.

The latest World Economic Situation and Prospects Monthly Briefing reviews the role of fossil fuels, and coal in particular, in economic activity in different regions. Key findings include:

  • CO2 emissions expected to reach an historical high in 2018
  • The low cost of coal relative to alternative energy sources is slowing progress towards energy transition in many regions
  • Phasing out coal use requires a reliable and stable alternative energy supply, plus support to the economic and employment transition in regions dependent on coal production

The Monthly Briefing series can be accessed at:

Join United Nations Chief Economist and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Elliott Harris on 22 January 2019 at the launch of UN DESA’s flagship report on the world economy, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019.

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