24 July 2018

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at Ministerial Breakfast in conjunction with the United Kingdom at Global Disability Summit [as prepared for delivery]

It is a privilege to co-host this Ministerial Breakfast.
The commitment of Governments to advance the rights of persons with disabilities is well established – both through the universal adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the fact that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one of the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty.

But too often, this political commitment has not translated into significant improvements in the lives of the 1.5 billion persons with disabilities across the world.
Too many persons with disabilities, no matter where they live and their abilities, face discrimination, and have their agency totally discounted.
Especially in developing countries, they experience horrendous deprivation and are denied access to education, health care and opportunities to participate in public life. This is further exacerbated by weak institutions and poverty.
And far too many women and girls with disabilities suffer double discrimination, weighed down by prejudice based on sex and disability.
This Global Disability Summit is a timely opportunity to identify exactly how to change this situation as we implement the 2030 Agenda and to create value through inclusion and diversity as a human capital and cultural resource. Anybody can be great because anybody can serve and make communities stronger.
I congratulate the organizers for their initiative.
We in the United Nations are by your side.
Later this morning, you will hear from the UNDP Administrator, Mr. Achim Steiner, about how the United Nations is looking to better address disabilities in all settings.
Recently, UN Members States approved ambitious reforms of the UN Development System that will dramatically strengthen support for governments in implementing the 2030 Agenda and leaving no one behind.
The Secretary-General has launched a review of the United Nations approach to disabilities both institutionally and operationally, and we hope to move forward with specific improvements in 2019.
Later this year, the Secretary General will be issuing a first-ever flagship report on Disability and Development, which will provide a much-needed baseline regarding the situation of persons with disabilities in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Let me leave you with one final point.
While Governments must lead, transformation requires the efforts of all of society.
More than ever before, young people, persons with disabilities, civil society, the private sector, and many others – are eager to work with all of us to make change happen.
We need to find more concrete ways to ensure meaningful participation and results-based collaboration including generating disaggregated data to inform planning and investments.
I look forward to hearing your views on this, on the broader Charter for Change and on stepping up disability inclusion in SDG implementation.
Thank you again for your engagement and contributions.
Thank you.