“Disability inclusion is central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. When we remove policies or biases or obstacles to opportunity for persons with disabilities, the whole world benefits,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said earlier this year when he addressed the 12th session of the Conference of State Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Today, one billion people, or 15 per cent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. Recent data show that persons with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty than persons without disabilities due to barriers in society such as discrimination, limited access to education and employment and lack of inclusion in livelihood and other social programmes.

To change this, and to make sure that everyone is included regardless of ability, leaving no one behind, the world made a promise by adopting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 goals provide powerful guidance to local communities, countries and the international community to ensure that our development efforts are disability-inclusive.

It is against this backdrop that UN DESA is commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) this year focusing on the theme “Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda”. The theme centers around the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisioned in the 2030 Agenda, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’.

At this year’s event, participants will hear more about important initiatives for disability inclusion which have been launched this year. This includes the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) which was launched by the UN Secretary-General in June this year to transform the way the UN works on disability, operationalizing disability inclusion throughout the entire organization.

They will also learn how UN entities and other stakeholders are taking action and how progress is being been made to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities, their rights, well-being and perspectives in the global agenda.

Civil society and the private sector are also taking the lead in supporting the inclusion of persons with disabilities. In December 2019, a global conference on disability and development will take place in Qatar to step up ongoing efforts by global, national, regional and local actors to keep the promise of the 2030 development agenda for all.

Another component of this year’s celebration will focus on the power of sport to bring people together. Not only does sport help empower persons with disabilities, while promoting peace, tolerance and understanding. But it also has the power to change perceptions, prejudices and behavior and to strengthen social ties and networks among persons with disabilities. Together with different international actors, the UN is increasingly supporting interventions that are improving accessibility and availability of sporting opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Follow this year’s observance of the IDPD at UN Headquarters in New York to learn more about these efforts. The programme will consist of an official opening, a panel discussion on new initiatives for disability inclusion, and a spotlight event on the theme of ‘Sport for all for peace and development’. The event will be broadcast live via UN Web TV.

For more information: International Day of Persons with Disabilities