Secretary-General candidate responses to question 4

Harriet Ngendanabo

Uganda – Sightsavers

People with disabilities have been left out of development discussions for too long – how will you change this?


Ms. Helen Clark’s answer

Throughout my life I have been an advocate for the rights of people who are in any way disadvantaged.  During my period as Prime Minister, New Zealand chaired and brought to a successful conclusion the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Also while I was Prime Minister New Zealand designated sign language to be an official language. We were the first country in the world to do so.  As Secretary-General I would look for ways to make the UN a more inclusive Organisation, to give all persons with disabilities more of a voice in the UN debates that concern them. I was pleased to see that persons with disabilities are expressly recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals. For the Goals to be achieved, these issues need to be mainstreamed across the work programme of the United Nations, including through ongoing consultation with persons with disabilities and the groups that represent them.


Mr. Miroslav Lajčák’s answer

The UN must play a vital role in eliminating poverty and inequality for all persons with disabilities. The 2030 Agenda provides great opportunity to continue to build momentum around issues of disability and development. It also promises to leave no one behind. We all must make greater progress in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). A positive development recently was the adoption of a new charter to improve living conditions of persons with disabilities during emergencies at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.


Dr. Igor Lukšić’s answer

Comparing to the MDGs, we must celebrate common achievement to explicitly include persons with disabilities in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals, thus recognizing importance of full participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society. Their role is even more important in the process of successful implementation of an inclusive 2030 Agenda, that truly leaves no one behind. In doing so, their voices should be heard. Together with the 2030 Agenda, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides guidelines for realizing rights of persons with disabilities, while achieving truly inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. We must ensure that CRPD and the SDGs are implemented in a mutually reinforcing manner.

Adequate measurement of progress, along with strengthening data production and the use of better data in policymaking and monitoring is of utmost interest. The SDGs demand a data revolution to improve the availability, quality, timeliness and disaggregation of data to support the implementation of the new development agenda at all levels. Follow up and review framework should promote accountability to our citizens, as well as the principles of equality and non-discrimination, inclusiveness and transparency.


Dr. Danilo Türk’s answer

The basic platform for UN action exists in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (adopted in 2006) which calls for “mainstreaming disability issues as an integral part of relevant strategies of sustainable development”. Agenda 2030 provides further support. Specific tasks are defined in the Sustainable Development Goals and in the relevant targets referring to the access of people with disabilities to education, to employment opportunities and to their entitlement to non – discrimination in general. Current work along the lines of the notion of leaving no one behind is already part of implementation, something that as the Secretary – General I shall support as an important development priority.