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Resource id #4 59th Commission of ESCAP to make the region barrier-free - Volume 1 Issue 5: Disability News and Information Service for India

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Volume 1 Issue 5 - November 01, 2003

59th Commission of ESCAP to make the region barrier-free

DNIS News Network -- The 59th Commission of Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has passed a resolution to make the region barrier-free.

It recalled its resolution 58/4 of May 22, 2002, on promoting an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for people with disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region in the 21st century, and announced the extension of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, for another decade, 2003-2012.

It also emphasised the mandate set by the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. ESCAP observed that the Biwako Millennium Framework identifies the following priority areas: self-help organisations of persons with disabilities and related family and parent associations; women with disabilities; early detection, intervention and education; training and employment, including self-employment; access to built environments and public transport; access to information and communications, including information, communication and assistive technologies; and poverty alleviation through capacity-building, social security and sustainable livelihood programmes.

ESCAP also noted that the international community had expressed its commitment to economic and social development in the face of rapid globalisation, symbolised by the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 55/2 of September 8, 2000, titled 'United Nations Millennium Declaration', embodying a large number of specific commitments, including gender equity, universal education and poverty eradication, aimed at improving the lot of humanity in the 21st century.

Due emphasis was laid on the recognition by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank that unless persons with disabilities are brought into the development mainstream it will be extremely difficult to halve poverty by 2015 or give every girl and boy the chance to complete primary education by the same date. This was agreed at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 and is part of those Banks' commitment to the inclusion of disability concerns in their poverty eradication efforts.

In addition, ESCAP stressed the discussions at the first session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, established by the General Assembly in its resolution 56/168 of 19 December 2001,

It welcomed the Government of Afghanistan as the 42nd signatory of the Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region, at the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting in October 2002, as well as the Government of New Caledonia as the 43rd signatory of the Proclamation on December 3, 2002.

Expressing appreciation of the contributions by governments and civil society to the technical cooperation trust fund for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, ESCAP also:

1. Took note of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific;

2. Requested all members and associate members to support the implementation of the Biwako Millennium Framework at the national level through public awareness activities, appropriate policies, other measures and the allocation of resources in keeping with national capacities, and through international cooperation and partnership, including the transfer of resources and technologies, as appropriate;

3. Urged governments in the region, which have not done so, to sign the Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region;

4. Invited all governments, donor agencies and the private sector to continue to contribute to the technical assistance trust fund for the extended Decade, 2003-2012, to ensure the successful implementation of the Biwako Millennium Framework;

5. Invited the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the International Labour Organization and other concerned United Nations bodies and agencies, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and civil society organisations, in close cooperation with ESCAP, to strengthen their support for the development of national capabilities for the effective implementation of the Biwako Millennium Framework; and

6. Requested the Executive Secretary:
(a) To give special attention, in collaboration with all concerned offices, bodies and agencies of the United Nations system and civil society to the development of regional activities in support of the implementation of the Biwako Millennium Framework;
(b) To recognise the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability as an ESCAP partner on disability and to ensure close collaboration between ESCAP and the Center on promotion of the empowerment of persons with disabilities and a barrier-free society in the Asian and Pacific region, as a viable means of ensuring the implementation of the Biwako Millennium Framework;
(c) To support governments in fulfilling the targets of the Biwako Millennium Framework in such areas as statistics, information and communication technology, urban and rural environments, public transport, poverty reduction, gender and development, and education of children and youth with disabilities;
(d) To provide technical support to governments in the region in the development of regional support for the consideration of an international convention on the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities by organising regional meetings and training workshops; and
(e) To report to the Commission at its 64th session on the mid-point review of the present resolution.

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