States Agree to Stronger Action on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

United Nations23 September 2013: UN Member States at the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Disability and Development (HLMDD) adopted a final document agreeing to strengthen a range of actions to include persons with disabilities in development efforts, at the close of the one-day meeting.

The HLMDD, held on the theme 'The Way Forward: A Disability-Inclusive Development Agenda Towards 2015 and Beyond,' produced an outcome document expressing determination to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for persons with disabilities. States agreed that all development policies should reflect the needs of persons with disabilities, and should enable their inclusion in education, health care, social protection, employment and humanitarian responses.

They agreed to improve disability data collection, analysis and monitoring, and to encourage the mainstreaming of disability in development. They also stressed the need to include the voices of persons with disabilities in shaping the post-2015 development agenda.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson commended Member States on their adoption of a strong outcome document. He called on States, civil society and other actors to implement it. He emphasized that persons with disabilities will remain disproportionately vulnerable to poverty unless there is a targeted focus on their rights and concerns, noting that this will be essential for making progress on the MDGs.

The event was the first high-level meeting to take place on disability and development. UNGA Presdient John Ashe noted that the MDGs failed to refer to persons with disabilities, whom he called “the world's largest minority” of more than one billion people. He highlighted that the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been ratified or acceded to by 134 countries.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that 80% of persons with disabilities are of working age, and warned that excluding them could cost economies as much as 7% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Two roundtable discussions took place during the HLMDD, on 'International and regional cooperation and partnerships for disability-inclusive development' and 'The post-2015 development agenda and inclusive development for persons with disabilities.' [UN Secretary-General's Remarks] [Deputy Secretary-General's Remarks] [Meeting Summary] [HLMDD Outcome Document] [DESA Press Release] [UN Press Release]