Mes­sage of UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­tónio Guter­res

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Re­silience is cen­tral to achiev­ing sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. In its pledge to leave no one be­hind, the 2030 Agenda em­bod­ies a com­mit­ment to build­ing the ca­pac­i­ties of those who face marginal­iza­tion and ex­clu­sion, in or­der to re­duce their vul­ner­a­bil­ity to eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal shocks.

In re­cent years, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has achieved no­table progress in ad­vanc­ing the rights of the world’s one bil­lion per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties. Dis­abil­ity is rec­og­nized as a cross­cut­ting is­sue in the 2030 Agenda, the New Ur­ban Agenda and the Sendai Frame­work on Disas­ter Risk Re­duc­tion.

Yet, per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties re­main too of­ten ex­cluded from the de­sign, plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion of poli­cies and pro­grammes that have an im­pact on their lives. Too of­ten they face dis­crim­i­na­tion in labour mar­kets and in ac­cess to ed­uca- tion and other ser­vices.

To over­come this chal­lenge, the path to­wards in­clu­sive, ac­ces­si­ble, us­able fa­cil­i­ties, tech­nolo­gies, in­fra­struc­ture, ser­vices and prod­ucts must be en­sured by, for and with per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties. We must build on their agency, work­ing to­gether to de­sign, de­velop and im­ple­ment af­ford­able and in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions to re­al­ize equal­ity for all.

On the In­ter­na­tional Day of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, let us re­move phys­i­cal and cul­tural bar­ri­ers, build re­silient so­ci­eties and cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties that truly leave no one be­hind.

“Trans­for­ma­tion to­wards sus­tain­able and re­silient so­ci­ety for all” 3 De­cem­ber 2017

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