Interim Report of the Secretary-General
Commission for Social Development
13-23 February 2001
Item 3 (b) of the provisional agenda*
Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development:
review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes
of action pertaining to the situation of social groups
- In resolution E/2000/10, the Economic and Social Council encouraged international support for the African Decade of Disabled People to promote equalization of opportunities by, for and with persons with disabilities and to promote and protect human rights.
- The member States of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) decided at the OAU summit (Algiers, 12-14 July 1999) to proclaim an African Decade of Disabled People (2000-2009). The African Decade represents an innovative partnership between Governments and the non-governmental community to put disability on the development agenda of Africa. The African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI) and the Pan African Federation of the Disabled (PAFOD), non- governmental organizations, are active in Decade activities, in close consultation with interested Governments. Subregional affiliates of PAFOD in all parts of Africa and other interested organizations of persons with disabilities are also engaged in Decade activities.
- Three Decade-related substantive activities have been supported to date by grants from the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability. Two have been successfully implemented:
- International Workshop on Environmental Accessibility and Universal Design in Developing Countries, organized by the Southern Africa Federal Council on Disability, in collaboration with the Universal Design Center (Boston, MA) and in conjunction with the International Conference on Designing for the 21st Century (Providence, RI, United States, 14-18 June 2000);31
- Eastern Africa Regional Workshop on Application of Universal Design Concepts and Principles and Information Technologies to the Africa Decade of Disabled Persons (Nairobi, 6-10 November 2000), organized by the Eastern Africa Federation of the Disabled (EAFOD), in cooperation with the Government of Kenya (Department of Social Services) and United Disabled Persons of Kenya. The third activity is the Consultative Meeting on Leadership Training in Support of the Africa Decade of Disabled Persons (Nairobi, fourth quarter, 2000), organized by the Pan African Federation of the Disabled (PAFOD), in cooperation with the Government of Kenya (Department of Social Services) and United Disabled Persons of Kenya. Significantly, the first Decade- related activity focused on an interregional exchange of knowledge and experience in the planning and development of accessible environments, which leveraged the considerable experience of African specialists in both the technical and community- participation aspects of promoting environmental accessibility for all. An immediate result of the International Workshop was the second project, the Eastern Africa workshop. A Pan-Africa leadership development meeting was recently rescheduled for technical reasons. The results of the meeting will be presented in the relevant report of the Secretary- General to the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session (2001).
- By resolution 48/3 member States of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific proclaimed the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, with the goal of full participation and equality of persons with disabilities.32
- The secretariat of ESCAP organized the regional forum, Meeting the Targets for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, and Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in the ESCAP Region (Bangkok, 15-19 November 1999), which brought together senior officials responsible for disability-related issues, members of the United Nations system, and representatives of the non- governmental community to review the status of fulfilment of the targets for the implementation of the Agenda for Action for the Asian and the Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons.33 Forum participants identified the following critical issues and areas related to furthering the goals and objectives of the Decade: national coordination, legislation, information, public awareness, accessibility and communication, education, training and employment, prevention of causes of disability and rehabilitation (with emphasis on community-based rehabilitation; health and social development), prevention of causes of disability, rehabilitation services, assistive devices, self-help organizations and regional cooperation. Based on that review, forum participants formulated revisions to the 73 targets for the Decade, which increased to 107 targets, to provide further impetus to the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities for the balance of the Decade.
- During the period under review ESCAP, in cooperation with interested member States and the non- governmental community, organized a number of technical exchanges, training workshops and seminars that directed special attention to education and technology and persons with disabilities and to the Standard Rules, particularly as they relate to accessibility, poverty alleviation and disability statistics.34In 1999 ESCAP organized three technical meetings on the question of education and children with disabilities:
- Seminar on Art Education and Children with Disabilities (Bangkok, 23-27 August 1999);
- Working Group Meeting on Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities (Bangkok, 18 October 1999);
- Regional Forum on Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities (Bangkok, 15- 19 November 1999).
The following technical meetings on accessibility focused on training related to barrier-free design and were organized at both regional and subregional levels:
- Regional Training of Trainers Course on the Promotion of Non-handicapping Environments for People with Disabilities (Bangkok, 1-14 March 2000);
- Consultative Meeting to Review Progress of Field Work in Training of Disabled Persons as Trainers for Non-handicapping Environments (Pattaya, 28 July-5 August 2000);
- Regional Conference and Training Workshop on Accessible Tourism for People with Disabilities (Bali, 24-28 September 2000);
- Training Seminar on Accessible Public Transport (Shenzhen, 20-24 November 2000);
- Training of Disabled Persons as Trainers for Non-handicapping Environments: Final Phase Training and Evaluation (Bangkok, 10-16 December 2000).
- Two sets of technical exchanges organized by ESCAP reflect multisectoral approaches to disability action to further implement the Standard Rules. The Field Study-cum-regional Seminar on Poverty Alleviation Among Rural Persons with Disabilities (Hyderabad, India, 6-15 December 1999) was organized jointly by ESCAP and the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. It was the first of its kind to focus regional attention on rural poverty and disability issues. While most disabled persons in the ESCAP region live in rural areas, they remain, to a large extent, excluded from rural poverty-alleviation policies and programmes. Seminar participants formulated recommendations on the promotion of participation of disabled persons in rural poverty alleviation programmes and addressed, inter alia, financial allocation of a specific proportion of the development budgets of all governmental departments, including those for rural development and poverty alleviation, for poverty alleviation among rural disabled persons. Recommendations also addressed the need to facilitate formation of self-help groups of rural disabled persons. Local governmental agencies and self-help groups of the rural poor were encouraged to extend their support through awareness-raising and skills enhancement. The Regional Training Workshop on Disability Statistics (New Delhi, 7-11 February 2000) was the first regional workshop involving both producers and users of disability statistics for purposes of policy and programme purposes. Workshop participants included policy makers, statisticians from national statistical organizations and related agencies as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations concerned with advocating the inclusion of disability concerns to the work of statistical services. The Workshop recommended the designation of a focal agency in each country to assume responsibility for disability data collection, analysis and dissemination, in close consultation and coordination with government ministries and agencies, institutions and disability organizations; and the establishment of forums at national and subnational levels for continuous dialogue between producers and users of disability statistics, to enhance dialogue and understanding on disability-related data and its effective use. The Workshop was organized jointly by ESCAP, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the Government of India and the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP).
- The secretariat of ESCAP organized a major review of progress in implementing the targets of the Decade, Campaign 2000 for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002 (Bangkok, 11- 15 December 2000). Meeting participants adopted the Bangkok Millennium Declaration on the Promotion of the Rights of People with Disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region. Further details on the outcome of the review meeting will be discussed in the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the World Programme of Action, which will be considered by the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session.
IV. Perspective framework for the fourth review and appraisal of the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons
- In paragraph 7 of resolution 52/82 the General Assembly decided that the fourth quinquennial review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action, in 2002, shall consider the issues mentioned in paragraph 4 of the resolution, viz. "(a) accessibility, (b) social services and social safety nets, and (c) employment and sustainable livelihoods".
- The fourth review and appraisal will mark the twentieth year of international cooperation - one full generation - to further implement the goals and objectives of the World Programme. It also takes place in the tenth year following the observance of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983- 1992).
- When assessing progress and obstacles in implementation of the goals and objectives of the World Programme in the year 2002, a critical question is: to what extent are structures in place to implement the World Programme in the context of development? To the extent that such structures are not in place, the question becomes: how are these structures to be established? Critical aspects of such structures include:
- Specific policies and programmes designed to facilitate equalization of opportunities by, for and with persons with disabilities;
- Inclusion of the disability perspective in policies and programmes designed to foster social and economic development;
- Specific goals and objectives for such disability-sensitive policies and programmes;
- Establishment of verifiable indicators of progress in achieving these goals and objectives;
- Establishment and development of systems and procedures for periodic monitoring and evaluation.
- Experience in implementing the World Programme, to date, suggests that certain critical aspects should be examined:
- Target areas for participation of persons with disabilities, as mentioned in the Standard Rules for Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, including education and employment;
- Situation of women and specific population groups, such as children, persons in poverty and persons with psychiatric and developmental disabilities;
- Different levels of governmental intervention, such as intergovernmental organizations, including United Nations agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations, national Governments and the activities of non-governmental organizations;
- Specific programmatic interventions, such as community-based rehabilitation (CBR), environmental accessibility, independent living, including measures to promote and support personal independence, social integration, choice in use of time, economic self- sufficiency and transition in mental functions.
- On the basis of the data currently available, it is likely that the fourth review and appraisal will highlight a number of important developments in the disability field, which could include:
- Progress in implementing priorities for action to promote equalization of opportunities - accessibility, social services and social safety nets, and employment and sustainable livelihoods - identified in General Assembly resolution 52/82;
- Progress in implementing state-of-the-art technology to enhance the access of people with disabilities to economic and social development;
- Lessons in implementing the Asian and Pacific Decade for Disabled Persons (1993-2002) and initiating the African Decade for Disabled Persons (2000-2009);
- Progress in implementing the proposed resolution of the World Heath Assembly on a new International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICIDH), which is scheduled for May 2001;
- Greater harmonization of monitoring efforts, as reflected in recommendations of the Statistical Commission for the year 2000 round of world population and housing censuses35 and the International Conference on Disability Data, which is scheduled to be held in New York, 4-6 June 2001;
- Ongoing activities of the Special Rapporteur on disability of the Commission for Social Development and efforts related to developing further international norms and standards relating to disability.
- International cooperation to further implement the World Programme will be reviewed and assessed in the fourth review and appraisal not in isolation but in the context of the demographic, economic, social and technological changes that have occurred since the end of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons, in 1992. They include:
- Emergence of a global knowledge-based economy and expansion of Internet-enabled information and communications technologies (ICT), although this is occurring at significantly different rates in different countries;
- Adoption by many countries, particularly by countries with economies in transition, of market approaches;
- Growing recognition that health and disability are distinct issues;
- Increased incidence of formulation and adoption by countries of disability-sensitive policies;
- Ongoing challenge of HIV/AIDS and other pandemics;
- Increasing awareness and concern over the natural environment, environmental hazards and the impact on well-being and livelihoods;
- Growing awareness of the importance of transparency and accountability of operations and results in government;
- Global ageing of populations and extended active life spans;
- Increased incidence of including questions on disability in the year-2000 round of population and housing censuses, either for a first or second time, which will allow for trend analyses of data.
- A continuing theme of inquiry from the third review and appraisal36 will be the monitoring of two key distinctions of progress in equalization of opportunities: assessment of progress in implementing disability-specific policies, and progress in incorporating the disability perspective into mainstream development policies.
- The fourth review and appraisal also will consider disability issues with reference to women and to specific social groups, such as persons living in poverty, older persons and children. The review will consider populations comprising what some analysts have termed the "new universe of disability", 37 such as persons with mental health issues, with developmental and psychiatric disabilities, and those with active, acute conditions.
- Particular attention will be paid to the area of mental health, since mental health issues are increasingly being considered as a component of disability policy. Discrimination against persons with mental health conditions will be reviewed and assessed so that progress towards incorporating mental health issues into norms, standards and policies can be documented.
- Diseases such as HIV/AIDS have had a particular tie with disability. On one hand, fighting acute diseases has tapped resources that might be available for implementing policy on disability. On the other hand, the many people surviving with AIDS and other acute diseases often need services required by people with "traditional" disabilities. Issues and trends with regard to the implementation of disability policies for persons with acute conditions will be examined.
- The presence of persons with acute conditions among persons with disabilities highlights another critical issue - the connection between disability and health. Traditionally, disability advocates have sought to decouple disability and health issues, asking that society reject the concept of people with disabilities as "sick". However, a growing body of evidence suggests that persons with disabilities are at greater risk of acquiring what have been termed "secondary conditions". Thus, the prevention of secondary conditions for persons with disabilities is becoming an important goal of public policy. Thus, review and assessment of progress in this area assumes special importance.
- It is envisaged that different levels of analysis will be considered in the report. Hence, progress will be assessed at the level of the United Nations system, with reference to regional intergovernmental organizations and to selected experiences of countries
Annex: Projects supported by the United Nations Voluntary Fund on Disability, 1 September 1999 to 31 October 2000, by region
- Association tre comme les autres (ECLA), in cooperation with the Minist re de l'Action sociale et de la famille: Centre for production and training in traditional crafts, Ouahigouya (Burkina Faso).
- Groupement des personnes handicapées producteurs de Ouagadougou (GPHO), in cooperation with the Ministre de l'Action sociale et de la famille: Assistance to improve training in income generation and social action among persons with disabilities in the Department of Toécé (Burkina Faso).
- Namibian National Association of the Deaf, in cooperation with the Ministry of Lands, Resettlement, and Rehabilitation: Support for sign-language workshops, leadership training workshop for youth, and production of local sign language dictionary (Windhoek, 11 July-20 November 2000) (Namibia).
- Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the World Rehabilitation Fund: Development and testing of improved models of rehabilitation medical services to meet the needs of amputees (Uganda).
- Mobility Appliances by Disabled Women Entrepreneurs (MADE), in cooperation with the Office of Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development and in collaboration with Whirlwind Women of Whirlwind Wheelchair International: Uganda disabled women's whirlwind wheelchair training project, Kampala (Uganda).
- Deaf Women Wing, Kenya National Deaf Association, in cooperation with the Department of Social Services, Ministry of Home Affairs, Heritage and Sports: Seminar on key issues facing deaf women in Africa (Nairobi, December 2000) (Eastern Africa subregion).
- Eastern Africa Federation of the Disabled (EAFOD), in cooperation with the Department of Social Services, Ministry of Home Affairs, Heritage and Sports and in collaboration with the United Disabled Persons of Kenya: Workshop on application of universal design concepts and information technologies to the Africa Decade of Disabled Persons (Nairobi, 6-10 November 2000) (Eastern Africa subregion).
- African Rehabilitation Institute (IAR), Dakar Regional Office: Seminar [for IAR Francophone member States] on the Standard Rules for the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (Dakar, 10-12 April 2000).
- Pan African Federation of the Disabled (PAFOD), in cooperation with the Department of Social Services, Ministry of Home Affairs, Heritage and Sports and in collaboration with United Disabled Persons of Kenya: Consultative meeting on leadership training in support of the African Decade of Disabled Persons (Nairobi, December 2000) (Regional Africa).
B. Asia and the Pacific
- International General Construction School, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation, and Ministry of Public Works: Education, professional training and apprenticeship for young disabled persons (Cambodia).
- Nepal Disabled Women Society, in cooperation with the Social Welfare Council: Socio-economic training and rehabilitation services for children with disabilities (Nepal).
C. Central and Eastern Europe
- Association for Social Inclusion of Persons with Mental Retardation of Tuzla, in cooperation with the Ministry for Labour, Social Policy and Refugees: Pilot action for social integration of persons with mental retardation: Brcko, Gradac and Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- Association for Promotion of Inclusion, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare: Community-based rehabilitation of persons with mental retardation (Croatia).
- Salva Vita Foundation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare: Supported employment in Hungary for people with mental disabilities (Hungary).
D. Latin America and the Caribbean
- Fundación Amor y Energía (AM-EN), in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare, and National Council on Disability (CONADIS): Capacity- building for rehabilitation of children with disabilities (Ecuador).
- Fundación Momentum Internacional (FMI), in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture: Assistance for training and development of Fábrica de Sillas de Ruedas Momentum, Quito (Ecuador).
- Asociación por Desarrollo de la Persona con Discapacidad (APRODDIS), in cooperation with the National Council for Integration of Persons with Disabilities (CONADIS): Elimination of architectural barriers: assistance for workshops and outreach on accessibility (Peru).
- Defensoria del Pueblo de Republica del Per ; Equipo de Defensa y Promoción de las Personas con Discapacid, in collaboration with the College of Architects of Per: National seminar on accessibility: a city for all (Lima, 22 June 2000) (Peru).
- Ministerio de la Juventud, la Mujer, la Niñez y la Familia, in collaboration with the Instituto Panameño de Habilitación Especial: Seminar on children with disabilities: issues and trends in development policies and programmes in the Americas region (Panama City, 16-20 October 2000) (Regional Latin America).
- Fundación Mexicana de Integración Social, in cooperation with Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia: Seminar on strategies for implementing the Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities with regard to Internet accessibility (Mexico City, 6-10 March 2001) (Regional Latin America).
E. Western Asia
- Local Council for Welfare of Disabled Persons (Boujr al-Barajneh), in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and in collaboration with ESCWA: Promoting self-reliance, with particular emphasis on employment: community based rehabilitation in Bourj al-Barajneh (Lebanon).
- Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare of the Palestine Authority: Computer training for Arab blind girls and women (Palestine Authority).
- Saudi Centre for Rehabilitation and Training of Arab Blind Girls (Amman, Jordan), in cooperation with ESCWA: Assistance for Braille computer training for blind girls and women (Regional Western Asia).
- Equal Opportunities Commission, Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China, in cooperation with Hong Kong University, Faculty of Law: Interregional seminar on international norms and standards relating to disability (Hong Kong, 13-17 December 1999) (Interregional).
- World Institute for Disability: Seminar for young women with disabilities (New York, 1-8 June 2000) (Interregional).
- Southern African Federal Council on Disability: International workshop on environmental accessibility and universal design in developing economies (Providence, RI (United States), 13-19 June 2000) (Interregional).
- WorldEnable - Environmental Accessibility and Universal Design.
- See UNESCAP background.
- See UNESCAP agenda
- Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1998, Supplement No. 1 (E/1998/98), resolution 1998/4 of 20 July 1998, "Strengthening regional support for persons with disabilities into the twenty-first century".
- Ibid., 1997, Supplement No. 4 (E/1997/24-E/CN.4/1997/29) para. 29; and Principles and Recommendations for the Population and Housing Censuses (ST/ESA//STAT/SER.M/67/Rev.1) paras. 2.266-2.285.
- "Review and appraisal of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons" (A/52/351).
- Katherine D. Seelman, Change and challenge; the integration of the new paradigm of disability into research and practice, "Vision for the 21st century: population, health care, technology and employment"; paper presented to "National council on rehabilitation education conference (Vancouver, WA (USA), 8 March 1998)"..