Press Release: RI President Speaks in High level UN Panel

7 February 2018

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RI Global: Office of Communications

Contact: Adrian Brune, +1 347-759-9501

RI President Speaks in High level UN Panel for First Address to Body

18 January 2018, New York, NY –  Haidi Zhang, President of Rehabilitation International, spoke out strongly on the need to know who disabled people are, where they live and what needs to be done about their situation, if people with disabilities are not to be left behind in the ongoing implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the High-level panel held on 31 January 2018 as part of the UN 56th Session of the Commission for Social Development.

With the theme: “Towards inclusive, resilient and sustainable development: an evidence-based approach to the mainstreaming of disability in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the 2030 Agenda”, Zhang shared with delegations from participating states, both the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in China as well as the measures and initiatives taken by the Government to address the issues proactively, including the provision of inclusive education to more children with disabilities. Zhang also said that the Chinese Government has included Persons with Disabilities among the key recipients of support for poverty eradication, a step that has greatly improved quality of life of a significant number of persons with disabilities.

As China’s Minister for Disability and President of the China Disabled Persons Federation, Zhang also underscored the Chinese Government’s commitment in ensuring that persons with disabilities would not be left behind in its efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Cited by Ms. Zhang among the many accomplishments in support of China’s eighty-five million citizens with disabilities, is the progress achieved in disability-related data collection, poverty reduction, rehabilitation, education and employment.

Beginning in 2015, China had conducted surveys to learn about the basic services and specific needs of persons with disabilities. This enabled the Government to generate information compiled in a data bank, about more that 33 million persons who registered with a disability, matched with the services available to them in some 700,000 villages and communities in China.

China also played a very important role as co-organizer with the UN-ESCAP, of the High-Level Inter Governmental Meeting for the Midpoint review of the 3rd Asian and Pacific Decade for Persons with Disabilities held in Beijing from 27 November to 1st December 2017. The Beijing Declaration and Action Plan provides for a robust and comprehensive policy framework that guides the region’s efforts to build disability-inclusive society in the Asia-Pacific region.

As president of RI, Zhang was instrumental in the creation of a Global Disability Development Fund (GDDF) and an Africa Fund specifically for the Africa region, to assist organizations of persons with disabilities and those who work with them, to pursue initiatives on rehabilitation, education, capacity building, employment and other activities towards creating better lives and opportunities for persons with disabilities especially women and children.


RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network and organization that promotes the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation in order to achieve a world in which all people can enjoy active participation and full human rights.

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