Global Status Report on Disability and Development Prototype 2015 unedited version

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Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Global Status Report

on Disability and Development

Prototype 2015


United Nations

New York, 2015

Department of Economic and Social Affairs

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat is a vital interface between global policies in the economic, social and environmental spheres and national action. The Department works in three main interlinked areas: (i) it compiles, generates and analyses a wide range of economic, social and environmental data and information on which States Members of the United Nations draw to review common problems and to take stock of policy options; (ii) it facilitates the negotiations of Member States in many intergovernmental bodies on joint courses of action to address ongoing or emerging global challenges; and (iii) it advises interested Governments on the ways and means of translating policy frameworks developed in United Nations conferences and summits into programmes at the country level and, through technical assistance, helps build national capacities.


The designations employed and the presentation of the material in the present publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country or territory or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitations of its frontiers. The term “country” as used in the text of this report also refers, as appropriate, to territories or areas. The designations of country groups in the text and the tables are intended solely for statistical or analytical convenience and do not necessarily express a judgement about the stage reached by a particular country or area in the development process. Mention of the names of firms and commercial products does not imply the endorsement of the United Nations.

Contributors and acknowledgements

This report was drafted by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SCRPD) of the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), with inputs from experts from academic institutions and international agencies.


Talin Avades, Fred Doulton, Miranda Fajerman, Kaisa Huovinen, Akiko Ito, Maria Martinho, Justin Meloche, Julie Pewitt, Robert Venne, Guozhong Zhang, Manou Zonderland

Contributors from UN and inter-governmental organizations

Jürgen Menze, Stefan Tromel, Valentina Stoevska (ILO); Fredrik Ericsson (OECD); Arturo Requesens, Jean-Pierre Gonnot, Margaret Mbogoni, Keiko Osaki-Tomita (UNDESA); Irmgarda Kasinskaite, Mariana Kitsiona, Florence Migeon (UNESCO); Rosangela Berman Bieler, Anna Burlyaeva, Gopal Mitra, Tamara Rusinow, Lieve Sabbe, Megan T Tucker (UNICEF); Takashi Izutsu, Atsuro Tsutsumi (International Institute for Global Health, UN University); Maribel Derjani-Bayeh, Mary Keogh, Jeong Shim Lee, Sharon J. Taylor (UN-Women); Alarcos Cieza (WHO)

Contributors from academic institutions and non-governmental organizations

Mary Crock (University of Sidney); Rangita de Silva de Alwis (Wellesley Centers for Women, University of Pennsylvania); Roberto Foa (Harvard University); Daniel Mont (University College London); Victor Pineda (World Enabled)


Chapter 1.Introduction 7

Chapter 2.Historical overview of the UN’s work on disability and development 10

Establishment of the United Nations 11

A shift in perspective 12

Building momentum 13

UN development conferences 17

UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Disability and Development and toward disability-inclusive 2013 global agenda for sustainable development 20

Conclusion 24

Chapter 3.Overview of the situation of persons with disabilities in development 25

3.1Defining disability 25

3.2Measuring disability and data collection 27

Why do we need data? 27

Different approaches to disability data collection 29

Status of internationally comparable disability data 31

3.3Prevalence of disability 32

3.3.1Global prevalence for adults 32

3.3.2Prevalence in children 34

3.3.3Prevalence among older persons 35

3.3.4Prevalence by sex 36

3.3.5Urban versus rural 36

3.3.6Prevalence by type of disability 37

3.4Overview of the socio-economic status of people with disabilities 39

3.5Accessibility as a pre-condition for inclusive and sustainable development 44

What is accessibility? 44

UN mandates on accessibility 46

Approaches to increase accessibility 48

a.Mainstreaming accessibility 48

b.Mixing bottom-up with top-down approaches 50

Accessibility: status and trends 51

a.Physical environment 51

Cost and benefits of accessibility 55

Accessible information and communication technologies 55

a.Web accessibility 56

b.Accessible mobile phones and services 58

Barriers 59

Conclusion and the way forward 60

Chapter 4.Disability as a cross-cutting issue for sustainable and inclusive development 61

4.1Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Spheres 61

4.1.1Education 61

UN mandates 61

What is inclusive education? 65

a.Inclusive curriculum 66

b.Inclusive assessment 66

Status and trends 67

Economic benefits from educating children with disabilities and promoting inclusive education 70

Measures taken to promote inclusive education 70

a.Legislation and policies 70

b.Approaches and models that promote inclusive education 72

Conclusion and the way forward 74

4.1.2Health and well-being 76

What is health and well-being? 76

UN mandates 78

Status and trends 79

a.Health status of persons with disabilities 79

b.Access to health care 80

c.Social determinants of health 80

d.Well-being 81

Conclusion and the way forward 81

4.1.3Employment 84

UN mandates 84

Status and trends 86

The economic costs of exclusion 89

Measures taken to promote employment among persons with disabilities 89

Conclusion and the way forward 94

4.1.4Social Protection 97

UN mandates 97

Social protection for persons with disabilities 100

Status of social protection for persons with disabilities 101

Conclusion and the way forward 103

4.2Other disadvantaged groups 106

4.2.1Women and girls with disabilities 106

UN mandates 106

Status and trends 108

Measures taken by countries to improve the participation of women and girls with disabilities 111

Conclusion and the way forward 115

4.2.2Children with disabilities 118

UN mandates 119

Status and trends 120

a.Birth registration 120

b.Poverty and children with disabilities 120

c.Institutionalisation 120

d.Children with disabilities are more vulnerable to neglect, exploitation and violence 121

e.Access to health care and assistive devices 122

f.Access to education 122

Measures taken by countries to improve inclusion 123

Conclusion and the way forward 124

4.2.3Youth with disabilities 127

UN mandates 128

Status and trends 128

a.Poverty 129

b.Education 129

c.Independent living and employment 130

d.Sexual and reproductive health 132

e.Families caring for youth with disabilities 133

f.Government support 134

g.Political participation of youth with disabilities 134

Conclusion and the way forward 135

4.2.4Older persons with disabilities 137

UN mandates 138

Status and trends 138

a.Economic Situation 138

b.Employment 139

c.Access to healthcare 140

d.Technological and Assistive Aids 140

Conclusion and the way forward 141

4.2.5Indigenous persons with disabilities 143

UN mandates 143

 United Nations. Outcome document of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities: the way forward, a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond A/68/L.1. 17 September 2013. Para II. 4. (b). 218

Status and trends 144

Measures taken by countries to improve the situation of indigenous persons with disabilities 147

Conclusion and the way forward 152

4.2.6Refugees 154

Status and trends 154

Measures taken to improve the situation of refugees with disabilities 155

Conclusion and the way forward 156

4.2.7Persons with mental and intellectual disabilities 159

UN mandates 159

Status and trends 161

a.Availability and access to mental health services 162

b.Education 162

c.Employment 163

d.Disasters and humanitarian crises 163

Measures taken by countries to improve mental health and wellbeing 164

Conclusion and the way forward 164

4.3Examples of Emerging Issues in Disability and Development 167

4.3.1Disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response 167

UN mandates 167

Experience of persons with disabilities before, during and after disasters and conflicts 169

Conclusion and the way forward 171

4.3.2Persons with disabilities in human settlements and urban development 174

UN mandates 174

Status and trends 175

Measures taken by countries to enhance the situation of persons with disabilities in cities 176

Conclusion and the way forward 177

Chapter 5.The way forward: disability-inclusive 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 180

5.1Sustainable Development Goals and disability 181

5.2Monitoring and evaluation 184

5.3Financing for disability-inclusive development 188

5.4Disability-inclusive international development cooperation 190

Endnotes 192




Acronyms and abbreviations

CRPD: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


DPO: disabled persons’ organization

DSPS: Division for Social Policy and Development of UN DESA

ECOSOC: Economic and Social Council

ICF: International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

ICT: Information and communication technologies

ILO: International Labour Organization

ISO: International Organization for Standardization

IYDP: International Year of Disabled Persons

MDG: Millennium Development Goals

NGO: non-governmental organization

ODA: Official Development Assistance

SCRPD: Secretariat for Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

UN: United Nations

UDHR: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UN DESA: Department of Economic and Social Affairs

UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNICEF: United Nations Children’s Fund

UNISDR: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

WHO: World Health Organization

WPA: World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons

Directory: disabilities -> documents
documents -> United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Building Inclusive Society and Development through Promoting ict accessibility: Emerging Issues and Trends
documents -> Summary of comments (25 September 2015)
documents -> Sixth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
disabilities -> Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Telecommunication Device Distribution Program revised Jan. 31, 2017
documents -> United Nations crpd/csp/2010/CR
disabilities -> Guide to Embedding Disability Studies into the Humanities
disabilities -> Participating organizations Members of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities
documents -> Common beliefs
documents -> Sixty-seventh session Item 70 (a) of the provisional agenda

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