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Push to include disability in the post-M.D.G. agenda

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: A Conference on Disability Inclusive Millennium Development Goals (M.D.G.s) and Aid Effectiveness organised by Leonard Cheshire Disability (L.C.D.) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (E.S.C.A.P.) in Bangkok from March 14 – 16, 2012 has called for people with disabilities to be at the centre of international development programmes for the M.D.G.s to be achieved.

“We have a unique opportunity for people with disabilities to campaign for change with international policy makers to make lasting improvements to their daily lives and future opportunities. This makes this Conference different from any other I have been to before,” commented Ilyas Khan, Chair of L.C.D., in his opening speech.

“The time is now for development partners to strengthen disability-inclusiveness of their policies and programmes in Asia-Pacific. Making a difference in the lives of the 650 million persons with disabilities in Asia-Pacific will bring us closer to meeting the M.D.G.s globally,” said Nanda Krairiksh, Director, Social Development Division, E.S.C.A.P.

Asia-Pacific is moving towards a new decade to ‘Make the Right Real’ for persons with disabilities. Preparations have started on the outcome document to be considered by the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to review the Second Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons in Incheon, Republic of Korea, in October this year. It is hoped that its adoption will give Asia-Pacific goals, targets and indicators for expediting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the development process.

Ultimately, the Conference will also feed into the final review of the Second Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, as well as formation of the post-2015 development framework. This will directly help to launch a truly inclusive development model.

The Conference saw the launch of the world’s first online disability and development database, with, among others, information on government development projects in Africa and Asia that include persons with disabilities and are funded by the World Bank. The Conference came out with the Bangkok Statement, which in its key recommendation, called for persons with disabilities and their organisations to be full participants in the planning, design and implementation of development goals, including those related to poverty reduction, education, gender, health, technology, disasters, environment and international cooperation.

Speakers at the Conference included Shuaib Chalklen, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Disability; Akiko Ito of U.N. D.E.S.A.; Aleksandra Posarac of the World Bank; Tanya Barron, International Director at L.C.D., Javed Abidi, Chairperson of Disabled People’s International; and Maria Veronica Reina, Executive Director of the Global Partnership on Disability and Development, among others.