Disability inclusive development recognises that persons with disabilities have a right to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from development. Disability inclusion is relevant to all development program sectors and is core to international and humanitarian commitments, including those outlined in Article 32 and Article 11 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Disability inclusive development strives to ensure that persons with disabilities benefit from the same opportunities for participation, contribution, decision making and improving economic well-being as others.
The World Report on Disability estimates that approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population has a disability, including one in five people in developing countries. The inclusion of persons with disabilities in development frameworks and programs is therefore central to the key themes of equity, poverty reduction and development effectiveness.
The inclusion of persons with disabilities in development is legally underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). It recognises that persons with disabilities have the same human rights as every other person across all spheres of life and should be included in all aspects of society. The UNCRPD obliges governments of all countries who are States parties to it to provide (on the basis of progressive realisation) the necessary access and range of supports needed, so that persons with disabilities can realise their potential and contribute to the social, economic and cultural life of their community and the development of their nation. The UNCRPD through Article 32 also obliges governments who are donors of development aid to ensure that that all of their actions within the framework of international cooperation, including development programs, are inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities.
The UNCRPD, as an international legal instrument and benchmark for disability inclusion, has strengthened the call for disability inclusive development. Persons with disabilities have often not been considered or included in the design, implementation, monitoring or evaluation of development programs. For example, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) did not include any specific targets about persons with disabilities.
There is however a growing momentum by governments, donors, international agencies and other civil society actors to implement disability inclusive development strategies. This is evident in the Sustainable Development Goals, which include specific references to disability in seven targets and a more general focus on 'leaving no one behind' which requires a focus on disability inclusion. Supporting and partnering with Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs) is a critical component. This is discussed further in the sub-theme Participation of persons with disabilities.
Resources below include key UN papers and frameworks, reports, introductory publications (including those which explain the 'twin track' approach to disability inclusion), resources on the links between disability and poverty, advocacy guides, manuals, fact sheets, and websites and video resources.