Persons with disabilities remain disproportionately underemployed and unemployed despite governments’ ongoing efforts to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. Furthermore, many businesses are not inclusive, preventing persons with disabilities from accessing their products or engaging as suppliers.
Governments across the globe use preferential contracting to advance economic and social objectives. The first efforts to use public procurement to support the employment of persons with disabilities occurred roughly 100 years ago. International legal frameworks inform the approaches that governments can use to achieve disability-related employment objectives.
ESCAP’s new policy brief, Preferential Contracting for Persons with Disabilities, provides an in-depth look at the practice of using public procurement to promote the employment of persons with disabilities. This policy brief outlines both long-standing and emerging practices to support the employment of persons with disabilities and their work environment and to promote disability-inclusive business practices. At the country level, the brief recommends governments review their anti-discrimination frameworks and take steps to ensure their current measures and practices are more effective. Finally, the brief describes efforts in several countries to set standards for "disability-inclusive contractors" and suggests that advancing that concept will be necessary for governments to progress their objectives related to the Sustainable Development Goals.