This report represents the first United Nations systemwide effort to examine disability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level. The report reviews data, policies and programmes and identifies best practices; and uses this evidence to outline recommended actions to promote the realization of the SDGs for persons with disabilities. Over 200 experts from United Nations agencies and international financial institutions, Member States and civil society, including research institutions and organizations of persons with disabilities, contributed to this report.
The report covers new areas for which no global research was previously available, for example, the role that access to energy plays in enabling persons with disabilities to use assistive technology. It also contains the first global compilation and analysis of internationally comparable data collected with the Washington Group on Disability Statistics Short Set of Questions. Reviews of legislation from 193 United Nations Member States were conducted and analysed for this report to highlight best practices and to assess the current status of discriminatory laws on voting, election for office, right to marry and others. More than 12 major databases of disability statistics, from international agencies and other organizations, were analysed – covering an unprecedented amount of data from over 100 countries. In addition, more than 1.2 million data points of crowdsourced data have been examined to inform analysis of the accessibility of physical spaces.
The report shows that despite the progress made in recent years, persons with disabilities continue to face numerous barriers to their full inclusion and participation in the life of their communities. It sheds light on their disproportionate levels of poverty; their lack of access to education, health services and employment; and their underrepresentation in decision-making and political participation. This is particularly the case for women and girls with disabilities. The main barriers to inclusion entail discrimination and stigma on the grounds of disability; lack of accessibility to physical and virtual environments; lack of access to assistive technology, essential services and rehabilitation; and lack of support for independent living that are critical for the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities as agents of change and beneficiaries of development. Data and statistics compiled and analysed in the present report indicate that persons with disabilities are not yet sufficiently included in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs.