International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2014

Theme: Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology

Quick links:

Throughout human history, technology has always impacted the way people live. The Industrial Revolution ushered in a new age of technology that raised the standards of living of people around the world and their access to goods and services. Today, technology is built in to every facet of daily living. The emergence of information and communications technologies have dramatically increased connectivity between people and their access to information, and further raised living standards.

ICTs have indeed changed the way people live, work and play. However, not all people benefit from the advances of technology and the higher standards of living. This is mainly because not all people have access to new technologies and not all people can afford them.

Today, there are over 1 billion people living in the world with some form of disability. Around the world, persons with disabilities not only face physical barriers but also social, economic and attitudinal barriers. Furthermore, disability is associated with twenty per cent of global poverty, of which the majority live in developing countries. In spite of being the world’s largest minority group, persons with disabilities and the issue of disability has remained largely invisible in the mainstream development frameworks and its processes.

Since 1992, the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The observance of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability as a cross-cutting development issue. The theme of this year’s commemoration, “Sustainable Development: The promise of technology” is timely, as it marks the conclusion of the period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) in 2015 and the launching of the new development framework of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The 2014 commemoration of IDPD will work to harness the power of technology to promote inclusion and accessibility to help realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of sustainable development for all!

Three sub-themes chosen will focus on the promise of technology in:

  • Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals
  • Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Responses
  • Creating Enabling Work Environments

Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) that have been recently proposed to succeed the MDGs, will work to address all three dimensions of sustainable development — environmental, economic and social. Disability is referenced in various parts of the draft proposal on the SDGs; more specifically in goals related to education, growth and employment, inequality, accessibility of human settlements, as well as in data collection and the monitoring of the SDGs. (http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1618). All SDG goals concern persons with disabilities. Technology can greatly impact the achievement and outcome of the goals for persons with disabilities, and in reality for people everywhere. The Day can be used to promote the impact and benefits of assistive technology, accessible information and communications technology, technological adaptations and other policy and programmatic measures to improve the well-being and inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development.

Resources:

Disaster risk reduction and emergency responses

Statistics and evidence show that the mortality rate of persons with disabilities in a populations going through disaster situations is as high as 2 to 4 times, compared to the non-disabled population. Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected in disaster, emergency, and conflict situations due to inaccessible evacuation, response (including shelters, camps, and food distribution), and recovery efforts. The Day will be used to highlight available technologies to support inclusive disaster risk reduction and emergency response, as well as emphasize the importance of making such technology accessible for all. Additionally, the potential of innovative and assistive emerging ICT technologies will be explored, such as early-warning, location and navigation applications that could save the lives of persons with disabilities in disaster and emergency situations.

Resources:

Creating Enabling Work Environments

The right to work is a fundamental human right. However, persons with disabilities are often not considered in employment due to negative perceptions regarding their ability to contribute or the high cost of accommodating their disability or inaccessible workplaces. Often, employers are unaware of the valuable contribution persons with disabilities can make in a diverse workplace, through the use of adaptive and assistive technologies, and other reasonable accommodation measures. With the use of the right technologies, persons with disabilities are able to fully perform in their jobs. When employers undertake measures to identify and eliminate barriers to the employment, advancement and retention of persons with disabilities, they promote a workplace culture based on fair practices that safeguard allow persons with disabilities to be treated with dignity and respect and to enjoy equal terms and conditions of employment. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities can be used to draw attention to the available technologies and measures that can be adopted to create work environments that are open, inclusive and accessible to allow persons with disabilities to fully participate and contribute to the workforce.

Resources:

Events at UN Headquarters

Programme (Draft)

TUESDAY, 2 DECEMBER

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Conference Room 8
Panel Discussion: “Accessible Technologies for Persons with Disabilities: Crossing the Digital Divide”
Organized by DESA, co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Singapore and Morocco to the United Nations
This panel discussion will identify, exchange, and examine good practices and lessons learned in the planning and implementation of policies and strategies to promote accessible technologies for sustainable development in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all.
Background Note

1:15 to 2:30 p.m., Conference Room 8
Panel Discussion: “Mental well-being and disability: toward accessible and inclusive sustainable development goals”
Co-organized by United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, The World Bank Tokyo Development Learning Center, DESA, and co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Argentina, and the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh
Globally, an estimated one in four people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Persons with mental and intellectual disabilities experience stigma and discrimination. This panel will look at mental disability in connection with the SDGs and accessibility. The panel will be organized by the World Bank, the United Nations University and several academic institutions and NGOs.
Background Note

3:00 to 6:00 p.m., Conference Room 8
Panel discussion on “Creating enabling work environments”
Organized by DESA, co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Germany
Persons with disabilities are often not considered in employment due to negative perceptions regarding their ability to contribute or the cost of accommodating their disability. This panel will discuss how adaptive and assistive technologies can be used to create work environments that are open, inclusive and accessible to allow persons with disabilities to fully participate and contribute to the workforce.
Background Note

6:30 to 8:00 p.m., Conference Room 4
Film screening: “We stand alone” (53 min)
Co-organized by DESA and DPI
This documentary features young amputee soccer players from Liberia who compete with other teams in Africa. The screening will be followed by an interactive discussion with the producer and the Liberian Nobel laureate Ms. Leymah Gbowee.

WEDNESDAY, 3 DECEMBER
International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Republic of Korea, the Permanent Mission of the Philippines, the Permanent Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Permanent Mission of Brazil, the Permanent Mission of Spain, the Permanent Mission of Haiti and UNESCO

10:00 to 11:30 a.m., Conference Room 4
Opening of IDPD 2014: “Disability-inclusive Sustainable Development: The promise of technology”
First segment: Opening session
Organized by DESA
The Opening of the International Day will include the message of the Secretary-General and participation from the UN Secretariat, Governments and civil society.  The New York School for Special Education’s choir will perform.

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Conference Room 4
Second segment: Panel discussion on ”Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”
Organized by DESA, co-sponsored by Permanent Mission of Australia
Disability is referenced in various parts of the proposed SDGs, particularly in goals related to education, growth and employment, inequality, accessibility of human settlements, as well as in data collection and the monitoring of the SDGs. The panel will discuss how technology can impact the achievement and outcome of the goals for persons with disabilities and how it can be used to promote the benefits of assistive technology, accessible information and communications technology.
Background Note

11:30 – 12:00 p.m., Secretariat Building Room S-237
Press Conference: Announcement of the global Campaign on Disability Inclusive Disaster Reduction and Resilience: Inclusion Saves Lives
Organised by DESA |

1:15 to 2:30 p.m., Conference Room 4
Panel discussion on “The Promise of Technology: Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Action” 
Co-organized by DESA & the Nippon Foundation, co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Japan 
Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected in disaster, emergency, and conflict situations due to inaccessible evacuation, response and recovery efforts. The panel will highlight available technologies to support inclusive disaster risk reduction and emergency response. Additionally, the potential of innovative and assistive emerging ICT technologies will be explored, such as early-warning, location and navigation applications that could save the lives of persons with disabilities in disaster and emergency situations.
Background Note

3:00 to 4:00 p.m., Conference Room E
Book Launch “Disability, Education and Employment in Developing Countries: From Charity to Investment”
Organized by JICA, UNDP, UNU and DESA
This event will provide an overview of this book by Dr. Kamal Lamichhane and discussants will engage in a conversation with the author.
Flyer

3:00 to 6:00 p.m., Conference Room 4
UN Enable Film Festival
Organized by DESA
Musical performance by a group of Korean musicians with intellectual disabilities and autism.
Films will be chosen from submissions by the public as part of the UN Enable Film Festival. Winning submissions will be shown to the audience.
For more details, please direct your Internet browser to: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1562

6:30 p.m., Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations
Reception on the occasion of the International Day at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea
Musical performance by a group of Korean musicians with intellectual disabilities and autism

How you can commemorate IDPD 2014

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 society and development, both as beneficiaries and agents of change.

Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the themes of IDPD 2014 to find innovative and promising ways in which technology can lead to a greater inclusion and integration of persons with disabilities in the lives of their societies.

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

Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action to highlight how technology can impact the inclusion and contribution of persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of equality. Highlight best practices, innovative technological solutions for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in their societies.

United Nations Enable Film Festival 2014

Send us your films: If you think that your short film can help achieve the objectives of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and is suitable to be presented to a diverse international audience, please send us information and a link to the online version of the film (or a hard copy of the film) for consideration. Further details and submission guidelines are available at:http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1562.

Themes for previous years:

Themes and observances of related International Days

Source: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1620

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