New York

23 September 2013

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at High-Level meeting of the General Assembly on Disability and Development - "The Way Forward: A Disability-Inclusive Development Agenda Towards 2015 and Beyond" [As prepared for delivery]

This has been an extraordinary day. 

Today’s High-level Meeting is a milestone in the history of the United Nations. 

Member States have shown leadership and commitment by adopting a new tool - an action-oriented final document -- to strengthen our work to realize disability inclusive development at all levels.

We are all aware of the challenge.  But today we recognize the enormous opportunity of the more than one billion people with disabilities given the chance to make the most of their lives. 

Let me repeat and highlight some key features of the document.

Member States have reiterated their determination to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities.

They have underscored the need for all to take urgent action towards the adoption and implementation of more ambitious disability national development strategies, backed by increased international cooperation.

Persons with disabilities will remain disproportionately vulnerable to poverty without a targeted focus on their rights and concerns.

And without more coherent and targeted poverty reduction efforts, we may not be able to achieve, or sustain, MDG progress.

Member States have also stressed the important role and voice of all persons with disabilities as we work to formulate a global development agenda beyond 2015. 

They have resolved to undertake a range of bold actions:

• To achieve the full implementation of the normative framework on disability and development;
• To ensure that all development policies reflect the needs of all persons with disabilities;
• To develop plans, legislation, policy and institutional structures and capacities to advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities;
• To promote inclusion of persons with disabilities in areas such as education, health care, social protection, employment and humanitarian responses;
• To improve disability data collection, analysis and monitoring; and
• To encourage the mobilization of public and private resources on a sustainable basis at all levels to mainstream disability in development.

In his periodic reports on disability and development, the Secretary-General, together with all relevant UN entities, will provide an update on progress in implementing the outcome document.
These reports will serve as an important tool to keep the momentum for global-wide action on disabilities and development.

I call upon all Member States, civil society and other actors to implement the international framework on disability and development, and the outcome document of this High-Level Meeting.

This is a shared responsibility. 

The Secretary-General and I are fully committed to mobilizing the UN system behind these goals.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

You should be enormously proud of your accomplishments today.  We would not be celebrating this achievement without the tireless efforts of all of you in this room and without the work back home in your communities. 

You are helping to give life to core values and fundamental principles.  The dignity of every human being, Equality of opportunity.  Full participation. 

This is the core of your mission – and the heart and soul of the United Nations Charter. 

Our job is to work to close the gap between the values and ideals of that Charter and the realities of life – to narrow the divide between the world as it is today and the world we know is possible. 

Thanks to you, that gap has narrowed today. 

But in many ways, this is only the beginning. 

Let us commit together to build an inclusive development agenda that fully incorporates the rights and concerns of persons with disabilities, for the good of all for a Life of Dignity for All.

Thank you.