United Nations Enable




Theme for 2011: “Together for a better world for all:
Including persons with disabilities in development”


Persons with disabilities make up an estimated 15 per cent of the world’s population. Almost one-fifth of the estimated global total of persons living with disabilities, or between 110-190 million, encounter significant difficulties. Furthermore, a quarter of the global population is directly affected by disability, as care-givers or family members.

Persons with disabilities encounter many disadvantages in their societies and are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. They remain largely marginalized, disproportionately poorer, frequently unemployed and have higher rates of mortality. Furthermore, they are largely excluded from civil and political processes and are overwhelmingly voiceless in matters that affect them and their society.

Experience shows that when persons with disabilities are empowered to participate and lead the process of development, their entire community benefits, as their involvement creates opportunities for everyone – with or without a disability. Including persons with disabilities and their communities in developmental efforts is important to advance the development agenda.
Thus it is imperative that development efforts around the world include disability issues when determining policies, programmes, as well as allocating funds for developmental programmes and projects. Mainstreaming disability in development is a strategy for achieving equality for persons with disabilities.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is both a human rights treaty and a development tool, provides an opportunity to strengthen developmental policies related to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), thereby contributing to the realization of a “society for all” in the twenty-first century.
The General Assembly in its most recent resolution 65/186, seeks to convene a High-Level meeting on disability in 2012, with a view to strengthening efforts to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of development efforts.

Sub-themes for commemorating the International Day of persons with disabilities in 2011

This year, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs requested the input of its partners and the general public for suggestions on a theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2011. Many responses were received from both, the UN system and civil society.
Now, for the first time, the Day will be commemorated under a general theme with supporting sub-themes to draw attention to key areas that would work in synergy to mainstream disability in all development processes.

Based on the main theme of IDPD 2011 “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development”, suggested sub-themes are:

  1. Mainstreaming disability: including a disability perspective in all development processes (more information)
  2. Gender: including women and girls with disabilities in development (more information)
  3. Including children and youth with disabilities in development (more information)
  4. Accessibility: removing barriers and promoting disability-inclusive development (more information)
  5. Promoting data collection and statistics on disability (more information

Include: Observance of the Day provides opportunities for participation by all stakeholders – Governments, the UN system, civil society and organizations of persons with disabilities – to focus on issues related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in development, both as beneficiaries and agents.

Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the themes of IDPD 2011 to find innovative ways and means by which persons with disabilities and their families can be further integrated into the development agenda.

Celebrate: Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase - and celebrate - the contributions made by persons with disabilities as agents of change and development in the communities in which they live.

Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action to mainstream disability in all aspects of development, as well as to further the participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of equality. Highlight progress and obstacles in implementing disability-sensitive policies, as well as promote public awareness of barriers to the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in their societies.

Events at UN Headquarters (tentative, additional details forthcoming)
(If you wish to attend any of the events at UN Headquarters, please contact Enable@un.org)

10.00 to 10.30 a.m. Opening ceremony
10.30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.: Interactive Panel Discussion I: Towards inclusive development: improving data and statistics on disability 
12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m.: Interactive Panel Discussion II: Mainstreaming disability in the global development agenda: experience in other development issues
1:15 to 4.00 p.m.: United Nations Enable Film Festival (list forthcoming)

Events around the world to commemorate IDPD 2011 (updated frequently)

Global: The “End Exclusion – Let’s Enable the MDGs” project is planning an inclusive "flash mob" on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. On the same day in Vienna, Prague, Bratislava and Amsterdam, people with or without disabilities will experience a 2-minute free performance in a public place. The event will serve to remind the world of the potential of persons with disabilities and the importance of inclusion. It will also demonstrate its feasibility. More information visit our website www.endexclusion.eu, or contact j.blijkers@light-for-the-world.org.

Aruba: The Day will be commemorated with a 2-mile walk, ending at Palm Beach Plaza, where students of the School for the Deaf will “sing” the Aruban anthem in Sign Language. The event will be opened by the Minister of Social Affairs, with an introduction of the organizers. Care takers will be recognized and awarded a pin, as well as a gift certificate to a beauty salon, where persons with disabilities will hold a fashion show along with a performance by deaf singers and live music. More information: Platform Rights of Persons with a Handicap, Caroll.Kock@dsz.gov.aw.

Austria: The Austrian National Council together with Light for the World will hold an event on Friday, 2 December 2011 at the Austrian Parliament focusing on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in development cooperation to mark the Day. The panel discussion under the title “Development Cooperation – all inclusive?” Towards Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” will bring together experts on inclusive development from developing countries, Members of Parliament, the EC delegation in Austria, civil society organizations, media and government representatives. More information: m.kern@licht-fuer-die-welt.at

Canada: In the Region of Peel, Ontario, a complimentary Business Breakfast Symposium will be held at the Embassy Grand Convention Centre to provide the business community with tools and information to help implement inclusive and equal services for all customers. Local Government officials will speak on legislation and requirements, while others from the corporate sector will provide insight on making businesses more accessible for persons with disabilities. The event will conclude with a networking session and a trade show displaying information of resources available for businesses to help them comply with local disability legislation. More information: Tel: (905-791-7800); www.peelregion.ca; Bushra.Mukhtar@peelregion.ca.

India: In the Churachandpur District of Maipur state, Government officials will conduct a sensitization and training programme for District Level Officers and community based organizations on national legislation, schemes and programmes for persons with disabilities. More information: Tel: +91-3874 236741; www.communityinitiate.org.

New Zeland: The Wellington City Council in partnership with the Accessibility Advisory Group will launching the draft Accessibility Action Plan 2011-2014 at the Accessible Wellington Forum.  The Council will also conduct a range of activities to encourage a wider community involvement through an accessible consultation and engagement process. More information: sandra.crews@wcc.govt.nz; www.wellington.govt.nz.

United Kingdom: The Cottsway Housing in the West Oxfordshire District will hold an ‘Advisory Day’. Local and national service providers will on hand to answer questions on understanding benefits and available services for persons with disabilities and their carers. FREE head and feet massages, nail therapy sessions, arm chair exercises, refreshments and much more. Local shops will join in by providing refreshments and prizes for the free draw, as well as receive comments from shoppers with disabilities as to how they can work with them to make their shopping experience a pleasurable one.

United States: Variety the Children’s Charity provides much needed assistance to children with mobility concerns. This year to commemorate the Day, Variety Tents in Los Angeles will provide children with disabilities a bike to fit their needs. The organization will also coordinate a nationwide effort to provide communities and local supporters with a practical way to improve accessibility and mobility for children with disabilities. More information: www.usvariety.org.