Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-mooon’s message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, observed on 3 December:
We mark this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities in the wake of the adoption of the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This global blueprint for action summons us to “leave no one behind”.
Building a sustainable, inclusive world for all requires the full engagement of people of all abilities. The 2030 Agenda includes many issues of concern to persons with disabilities and we must work together to transform these commitments into action.
Earlier this year, the United Nations Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction recognized the key role people with disabilities can play in promoting a more universally accessible approach in disaster preparedness and response. Next year, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III) will discuss a new urban development agenda to make our cities inclusive, accessible and sustainable. The voices of persons with disabilities will be critical to this process
As we look ahead, we need to strengthen development policies and practices to ensure that accessibility is part of inclusive and sustainable development. This requires improving our knowledge of the challenges facing all persons with disabilities — including through more robust, disaggregated data — and ensuring that they are empowered to create and use opportunities.
Together with persons with disabilities, we can move our world forward by leaving no one behind.