A child teaches sign language to his father.
Modibo Sall, 10, teaches sign language to his father Amadou, 52-year-old. Modibo was born deaf. He lives in the village of Bouaké, in the center of Côte d'Ivoire.
Photo:UNICEF/Frank Dejongh

Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World

Disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security. It is also central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind. The commitment to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a matter of justice; it is an investment in a common future.

The global crisis of COVID-19 is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing the extent of exclusion and highlighting that work on disability inclusion is imperative. People with disabilities—one billion people— are one of the most excluded groups in our society and are among the hardest hit in this crisis in terms of fatalities.

Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access health care, education, employment and to participate in the community. An integrated approach is required to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind.

Disability inclusion will result in a COVID19 response and recovery that better serves everyone, more fully suppressing the virus, as well as building back better. It will provide for more agile systems capable of responding to complex situations, reaching the furthest behind first.

This year, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) falls on the same week as the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 30 Nov.-1 and 3 Dec. 2020 and will be observed throughout the week in conjunction with the 13th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD.

History

The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

Building on many decades of UN’s work in the field of disability, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), adopted in 2006, has further advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international development frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, the New Urban Agenda, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development

The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy

When launching the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy in June 2019, the Secretary-General stated that the United Nations should lead by example and raise the Organization’s standards and performance on disability inclusion—across all pillars of work, from headquarters to the field.  

The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy provides the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion through all pillars of the work of the United Nations. Through the Strategy, the United Nations system reaffirms that the full and complete realization of the human rights of all persons with disabilities is an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In recognition of this commitment, the Secretary-General submitted in October 2020, the first comprehensive report on steps taken by the United Nations system to mainstream disability inclusion and implement the Strategy since its launch. 

Events

25 November to 3 December 2020

UNESCO will mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with a week-long programme from 25 November to 3 December 2020 under the theme: "Building back better: towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world by, for and with persons with disabilities". UNESCO will also organize a Global Awareness Raising Campaign “Tell our stories, enable our rights” on its official social media channels, focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living with disabilities and on the immediate response to the crisis through open, inclusive and innovative use of digital solutions, tools and resources. Get involved!

As the world recovers from the pandemic, we must ensure that the aspirations and rights of persons with disabilities are included and accounted for in a -inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world. This vision will only be achieved through active consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.

António Guterres
Logo of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
A woman using sign language

When we secure the rights of persons with disabilities, we move our world closer to upholding the core values and principles of the United Nations Charter. The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy provides the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion through all pillars of the work of the United Nations: peace and security, human rights, and development. 

 

A dancer performing at a special event at the UN on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Related observances

Geometric illustration with the Secretariat building at UNHQ, New York.

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.