Inclusive Sustainable Development: Joint Position Paper of Disabled People’s International & CBR Global Network
Inclusive Sustainable Development
Joint Position Paper of Disabled People’s International & CBR Global Network
1. People with disabilities make up about 15% of the global population according to
World Bank estimates. 80% live in the global South. 20% of the world’s poorest
are people with disabilities or have a family member with disability. They mostly
live in rural areas with little or no access to health services or assistive
technologies, and are further excluded by physical and social barriers in society.
Women and girls with disabilities are at particular risk of exclusion, violence and
human rights abuses as they live with the double discrimination of being persons
with disabilities and female. Less than 5% of children with disabilities go to school
in the global South.
2. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are critical to global efforts to
eradicate poverty. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achieved
considerable success in reducing poverty, but there was no specific mention of
people with disabilities in the MDGs, and they were largely absent from the
successful outcomes. Being invisible from the goals resulted in being invisible
from the benefits
3. In 2006, the UN Member States adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities. The Convention gave force and focus to the struggle of people
with disabilities for human rights. Member States again have a unique opportunity
to make a dramatic difference to the lives of people with disabilities. It needs just
two simple amendments to the SDGs to do so:
- SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
(1.4) By 2030, ensure that all men and women, particularly the poor, the vulnerable, and people with disabilities have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership, and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology, and financial services, including microfinance.
- SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
(3.8) Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access
to high quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, and
affordable essential vaccines, medicines and health products for all.
(By ‘health products’ we mean the assistive technologies which are essential for
the inclusion of many people with disabilities and older people in everyday life.
4. Poverty increases the risk of disability through the effects of malnutrition,
inadequate access to education and health care, water and sanitation. And
disability generates its own costs. Children not in school are not employable
later in life because they lack even the most basic skills.
People with disabilities have to confront difficulties not faced by people
without disabilities, even those who are poor. A family member with
disability may not contribute to the family income, so the poverty becomes
Likewise, a caregiver often cannot work outside the home. Even small
amounts of money for basic healthcare, rehabilitation and assistive
technology can be beyond a family’s means. [See SDG 3].
5. There is an economic cost to exclusion for national governments. They lose
productive and earning potential, and incur higher spending on healthcare.
With timely treatment, rehabilitation and access to assistive technologies,
many people with disabilities and their caregivers could become taxpayers,
wealth creators and productive members of society.
6. Poverty experienced by people with disabilities is complex and intractable,
and requires specific remedies.
We call on you today, the UN representatives of Member States, to mandate these
two simple amendments to SDGs 1 and 3 at the 69th session of the General
2 June 2015.