RI Global Position Paper: Sustainable Development Goals — Disability Inclusion in Development

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RI Global: Office of Communications

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

From September 25-27, States will meet at the United Nations in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2015-2030. This marks a historic turning point in the lives of persons with disabilities worldwide, who will now be included in the development policies from which they have long been excluded. Rehabilitation International has worked hard to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the SDGs, and we are proud that our work has impacted the formation of such an important commitment.

In 2000, the UN formed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which had a considerable effect on poverty and hunger around the world. However, the MDGs made a glaring omission by not including the needs of people with disabilities, despite the fact that 80% of people with disabilities around the world live in poverty.

Now, the UN will form a new 15-year plan for global development with 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include the needs of those with disabilities in several areas. While there is more to be done, this is a historic occasion that shows the UN’s commitment to including persons with disabilities in their development processes in the years to come. RI will continue to ensure these processes strive for both inclusion and equality for persons with disabilities worldwide.

Four areas of the SDGs are particularly focused on the needs of persons with disabilities. The following list shows the goals that specifically include persons with disabilities:

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all

4.5: by 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations               

4.a: build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all


Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

10.2: by 2030 empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status


Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

8.5: by 2030 achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value


Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

11.2: by 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons

11.7: by 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities

This is a historic first step, but over the next 15 years, implementation and monitoring will be key. RI commits to keeping governments, the UN, and other powerful bodies accountable to people with disabilities, and we hope you will join us in the years to come.


Further information on the SDGs: 

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RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network promoting the rights and inclusions of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world in which all people can enjoy full human rights.

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