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Governments accelerated commitments towards disability-inclusive society in APAC

Staff Writer | November 30, 2017
Senior government officials, policymakers, civil society and academia from over 30 countries across Asia-Pacific have gathered in Beijing this week to accelerate commitments towards improving the rights of the 690 million disabled persons across the region, and beyond.
Xi Jinping
Asia and the Pacific   Beijing
Organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in partnership with the Government of China, the high-level meeting aims to review progress made in the implementation of the Incheon Strategy for Persons with Disabilities and the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2013-2022).

In a congratulatory message to the meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s said, “The Asian and Pacific Decade of Person’s with Disabilities was initiated by China in Beijing.

“It has greatly propelled Asia-Pacific countries and regions to learn from each other, and set an example of cooperation to benefit persons with disabilities.”

He added, “I hope the meeting will make new contributions to the well-being of persons with disabilities in this region.”

In his message to the meeting, United Nations Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres said, “I commend the Asia-Pacific region for being the first in the world to adopt a regional framework to address the issues of disability-inclusive development.

“The Member States in the region and ESCAP have demonstrated to the world the panorama of possibilities that can be opened for persons with disabilities.”

At the opening of the ministerial segment today, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar noted that one in every six persons in Asia and the Pacific has a disability, yet they are amongst the most marginalized groups in society.

She drew attention to the difference in poverty rates between persons with disabilities and the overall population, which range between 4 to 21 per cent.

Of concern was that around 50 per cent of children with disabilities do not transition from primary to secondary education and as a consequence, persons with disabilities are two to six times less likely to be employed compared to their peers.