Asia-Pacific countries adopt landmark strategy for building disability-inclusive societies

Asia-Pacific countries adopt landmark strategy for building disability-inclusive societies

Thirty nine Asia-Pacific countries attending a once-in-a-decade United Nations forum on disability issues in the region, adopted a pioneering framework of action aimed at building more disability-inclusive societies for the 650 million persons with disabilities living in the region.

The groundbreaking Incheon Strategy to Make the Right Real for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific was endorsed at the conclusion of the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003-2012 convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea in Incheon last week.

Speaking at the closing, Mr. Shun-ichi Murata, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP welcomed the timely contribution that the Incheon Strategy will make to the global discourse on the post-2015 development agenda and acknowledged participants vision and plans for shaping a disability-inclusive, rights-focused development agenda that will transform the lives of persons with disabilities in Asia-Pacific.

Developed over two years of consultations with governments and civil society stakeholders, the Incheon Strategy comprises priority goals, targets and measurable indicators to guide regional and national implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022 which was launched by Asia-Pacific countries at the Meeting here yesterday.

Addressing the final session of the Meeting, His Excellency Mr. Rim Chemin, Minister of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea said, “One of the major milestones in the past Decade was the adoption and entry into force of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities. Here in Incheon, we have drawn up a blueprint of regional cooperation for the new Decade with new strategies and action plans.”

With the adoption of the Incheon Strategy, ESCAP member States have set themselves a course for regional cooperation during the new Decade for Disabled Persons aiming to enhance the quality of life for persons with disabilities in the region, the majority of them poor, disadvantaged or discriminated against.

The Strategy focuses on reducing poverty among persons with disabilities; improving their accessibility of the physical and ICT environments; enhancing their access to education and employment opportunities; promoting their participation in decision-making; promoting gender equality for women with disabilities; making disaster risk reduction disability-inclusive; and accelerating the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the ESCAP region.

Mr. Murata concluded with a call to “Make the right real!”