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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality
Regional Observances

Arab Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003 –2012

      The question of proclaiming the period 2003 to 2012 as the Arab Decade of Disabled Persons was considered by meeting hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in Beirut from 2 - 5 October 2002.  The “ESCWA hosts a Conference on "Disability Conditions in the Arab World: Towards an Arab Decade on Disability" was organized by the League of Arab States and the Arab Organization of Disabled People (AODP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs of Lebanon, ESCWA, and local, regional and international organizations concerned with disability.  More than 250 people attended the Conference, which included Arab ministers, officials from 18 Arab countries, experts, diplomatic representatives as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations.  Conference deliberations focused on the ten main objectives identified for the Decade: education; health; legislation; rehabilitation and employment; the disabled woman; the disabled child; accessibility and transport; globalization, poverty and disability; information and awareness; recreation and sports.  Plenary and workshop sessions identified recommendations that were unanimously adopted at the Closing Session, which, along with the “Declaration on the Arab Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012)” will be presented to the League of Arab States and the Arab Ministers of Social Affairs for adoption and proclamation at the forthcoming Arab Summit.  Proclamation of the Decade and its translation into a comprehensive plan of action would provide Western Asia with a framework to promote cooperation and action to ensure that Arab persons with disabilities would be more fully integrated into society and could take charge of their lives.[1]

More on Disability in the ECSWA Region at United Nations system and Persons with Disabilities


[1] “ESCWA hosts Conference on ‘Disability Conditions in the Arab World: towards an Arab Decade on Disability’ (Beirut, 2- 5 October 2002)” <>.

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development