United Nations (UN) Releases Baseline Report on Disability Inclusion

Global, News, October 21 2020

The UN has released a report on implementing its Disability Inclusion Strategy, providing a “first baseline on the status of disability inclusion” across the UN system. The Strategy was launched in June 2019 in the context of the 2030 Agenda’s principle of leaving no one behind.

The Strategy aims to enable the UN system to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the SDGs, the Agenda for Humanity prepared for the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Strategy will be implemented for five years and then reviewed and updated as needed.

The Strategy features four core areas: leadership, strategic planning, and management – including senior leadership that champions disability inclusion, and establishing teams with expertise on disability inclusion; inclusiveness – which entails ensuring full accessibility for all, and actively involving persons with disabilities in all of its work; programming, such as joint initiatives to accelerate progress, and supporting disability-inclusive programming through practical guidance for the field and headquarters; and organizational culture. This means evolving internal systems to attract, recruit, retain, and promote persons with disabilities in the UN workforce, and building staff capacities to understand disability inclusion. The Strategy is accompanied by 15 performance indicators to facilitate progressive improvement.

The first report on implementation of the Strategy establishes a baseline on the status of disability inclusion in the UN system. It also provides recommendations for the system, including ways to support Member States in implementing the CRPD and achieving the SDGs. The report identifies challenges in achieving disability inclusion associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and disability-inclusive response and recovery efforts.

Highlighting the report on 13 October 2020, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said the Strategy aims to advance “transformative and lasting change for persons who are too often left behind.” It seeks to spark action to raise the standards of the UN’s performance on disability inclusion, to make an impact with its policies, programmes, and operations, and to “meaningfully engage persons with disabilities, and not just see them as a vulnerable population, but also as actors of change.”

Mohammed reported that the UN Secretariat requested all parts of the UN system to demonstrate what they are doing to meet the objectives set in the Strategy’s accountability framework. She said action has been taken across the UN’s three pillars – human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security – both at Headquarters and in the field.

The UNGA’s Third Committee (social, humanitarian, and cultural issues) is considering a draft resolution on ‘Inclusive development for and with persons with disabilities’ (A/C.3/75/L.9). [Publication: Report of the Secretary-General: Disability Inclusion in the United Nations System] [Landing page for first report] [Publication: United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy] [Disability Inclusion Strategy website]

Originally Published on sdg.iisd.org

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