A Disability-Inclusive Response to COVID-19

Realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – to leave no one behind. Achieving transformative and lasting change on disability inclusion through the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy is a priority for the United Nations, including in times of crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting societies at their very core, deepening pre-existing inequalities. Even under normal circumstances, one billion persons with disabilities worldwide are less likely to access education, healthcare and livelihoods or to participate and be included in the community — a situation which is further exacerbated for those living in humanitarian and fragile contexts. They are more likely to live in poverty, and experience higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse.

The pandemic is intensifying these inequalities, and producing new threats. Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected by health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19, as outlined by the Secretary-General in his policy brief A Disability-Inclusive Response to COVID-19.

Addressing the current challenges and barriers faced by persons with disabilities requires commitment and creativity. It also presents a unique opportunity to design and implement disability-inclusive COVID-19 response and recovery, and build more inclusive and accessible societies, in consultation with persons with disabilities.

When we secure the rights of persons with disabilities, we invest in our common future.

Key Documents

The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy
The Strategy provides the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion through all pillars of the work of the United Nations.

Policy Brief: A Disability-Inclusive Response to COVID-19
The report highlights how the pandemic is affecting the world’s 1 billion people with disabilities and recommends a disability-inclusive response and recovery for everyone.

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Tools and Resources

COVID-19 Response in Humanitarian Settings: Examples of Good Practices for Including Persons with Disabilities 

Examples of existing good practices being implemented by parts of the United Nations system to promote a disability-inclusive response to the COVID-19 pandemic and support implementation of the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy. 

Tip sheet for monitoring a disability-inclusive response to COVID-19 in humanitarian settingsDownload the Word Document
The tip sheet provides technical guidelines and resources for the application of a disability-inclusive monitoring framework within the COVID-19 humanitarian response. 

Disability Inclusion in COVID-19 Funding: Checklist (July 2020)   | Download the Word Document
This checklist is aimed at COVID-19 funding mechanisms and UN Country Teams (UNCTs) which are mobilizing and accessing funding. It sets out key considerations to ensure funding and investment on COVID-19 response and recovery are inclusive of persons with disabilities.

Checklist for Planning a Disability Inclusive COVID-19: Socio-Economic Response and Recovery (July 2020) | Download the Word Document
Setting out the minimum considerations for UNCTs in supporting disability inclusion in the immediate COVID-19 response and recovery, this checklist can be used by country teams and partners as a guide during the process of conducting assessments, designing, implementing and monitoring the response and recovery efforts.

Disability-inclusive COVID-19 response and recovery: Key Messages (19 July 2020) | Download the Word Document
This document has been developed for UNCTs to support their communications on disability-inclusive COVID-19 response and recovery.