United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed María Soledad Cisternas Reyes of Chile as his Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility.
There are more than 1 billion people with some form of disability, accounting for 15 per cent of the world population. In spite of remarkable advances towards accessible and disability-inclusive societies, an enormous gap remains between commitments made and the daily experiences of persons with disabilities. A concerted effort must therefore be made to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind as promised in the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. As Special Envoy, Ms. Cisternas will help promote the rights of persons with disabilities, with a particular emphasis on accessibility for all.
Ms. Cisternas was most recently Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations and recipient of the National Prize of Human Rights(2014-2015). Her activities with the United Nations have been numerous: she was an expert before the ad hoc committee that developed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, for which she is also the rapporteur for individual complaints. She is the director of several legal and interdisciplinary projects, as well as author of various publications and exhibitor at national and international conferences.