António Guterres addressing a press conference at the conclusion of the Refugee Agency’s annual Executive Committee session. Geneva, October 2015. Credit: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has laid emphasis on working together for a better world that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable for everyone, where the rights of people with disabilities are fully realised.
“On this International Day, let’s reaffirm our commitment to work together,” he said in a message marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities that falls on December 3.
The UN chief said more than 1 billion people in the world live with some form of disability; and in many societies, persons with disabilities often end up disconnected, living in isolation and facing discrimination, according to UNB report.
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, he said.
“That 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,” Guterres added.
He said the United Nations will release the UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development 2018 -- Realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by, for and with persons with disabilities on Monday.
The report, he said, shows that people with disabilities are at a disadvantage regarding most SDGs, but also highlights the growing number of good practices that can create a more inclusive society in which they can live independently.
The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3.
It aims to promote the rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
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, according to the UN.
The 2030 Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”. Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote 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 SDGs, said the UN.