Your Excellency President of General Assembly, Your Excellency Ambassador Oh Joon, President of the Conference of States Parties, Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honour to address the ninth Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
On behalf of the Secretary-General, I extend my welcome to all delegates, especially those from new States Parties and participants with disabilities and their representative organizations.
The CRPD is one of the most widely ratified international treaties. Since adoption in 2007, there have been 164 ratifications. That has been matched with a flood of action for realizing the rights of persons with disabilities across the globe.
Increasingly, disability issues -- the rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities – is being recognised and integrated into socioeconomic development and humanitarian responses.
In 2013, for the first time in UN history, the General Assembly held a meeting at the level of Heads of States and Governments on disability and development. That gathering adopted an outcome document committed to addressing the persistent challenges faced by persons with disabilities in development.
Last year, the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and its outcome -- the Sendai Framework -- underscored the importance of disability-inclusive strategies.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development further reflects the strong international commitment to ensuring that persons with disabilities are not left behind in development.
More recently, at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, stakeholders highlighted the importance of furthering humanitarian actions that are responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities.
And here, in the United Nations, we are working to ensure greater attention to accessibility and the inclusion of persons with disabilities within our work.
In 2013, the Secretary-General appointed His Excellency Mr. Lenín Voltaire Moreno Garces of Ecuador as his Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility issues. The Secretary-General also issued the first policy to enhance our efforts to make the UN accessible and inclusive of persons with disabilities.
We have also strengthened our internal coordination among agencies, including through the work of the UN Inter-Agency Support Group.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There is still much more we can do to fully implement the CRPD and make rights a reality for the more than one billion persons with disabilities around the world.
The Conference of States Parties offers a good opportunity to reflect on important lessons and move forward – as your theme puts it – in “Implementing the 2030 development agenda for all persons with disabilities: Leaving no one behind”.
Your discussions promise to provide valuable direction for upcoming deliberations in the General Assembly, ECOSOC and its functional commissions.
Once again, on behalf of the Secretary-General, I express profound gratitude to all of you for your efforts and inspiration.
The United Nations will continue to work with you to integrate the rights and voices of persons with disabilities into all of our efforts – and together, we will build a better world for all.