Disability inclusion is not only a fundamental human right, it is “central to the promise” of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the annual conference on the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which began on Tuesday.

“When we fight to secure those rights, we move our world closer to upholding the core values and principles of the United Nations Charter”, he explained. “When we remove policies or biases or obstacles to opportunity for persons with disabilities, the whole world benefits”.

To this end, the UN chief launched a new UN Disability Inclusion Strategy, “to raise the standards of the UN’s performance on disability inclusion across the board, and action to bring about the unified and transformative change we need”. 

With an accountability framework to monitor progress and address challenges, the new strategy has clear benchmarks, and will encourage more persons with disabilities to work in, and be better supported by, the UN.

Mr. Guterres cited last year’s first-ever UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development, which highlights core challenges, including disproportionate levels of poverty, lack of access to education, health services, employment and the under-representation of persons with disabilities in decision-making and political participation. 

For further details you can download a copy of the strategy here.