(New York) – UN Secretary-General António Guterres has reaffirmed the commitment towards a more inclusive society on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
In a message marking the occasion, observed on 3rd December each year, Guterres said that more than one billion people in the world live with some form of disability. “In many societies, persons with disabilities often end up disconnected, living in isolation and facing discrimination,” he added.
This year’s theme, ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’, focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind.”
“In its pledge to leave no one behind, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a commitment to reducing inequality and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including people with disabilities,” the Secretary-General continued, adding that this means implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in all contexts and in all countries. “It also means integrating the voices and concerns of people with disabilities into national agendas and policies.”
Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast-track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote a resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development. Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a “team” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
As part of the day, Guterres launched the “UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development 2018 – Realising the SDGs” by, for and with persons with disabilities. “The report shows that people with disabilities are at a disadvantage regarding most Sustainable Development Goals, but it also highlights the growing number of good practices that can create a more inclusive society in which they can live independently,” Guterres explained.
“On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to work together for a better world that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable for everyone, where the rights of people with disabilities are fully realised,” he concluded.
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