Scaling up disability inclusion, accessibility, and universal design in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda

Source of Action
World Urban Forum
2022 - 2023
Last Updated
27 March 2023


The engagement of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in decisions and processes guiding urban development at all levels is critical to hold governments accountable, address discrimination and remove accessibility barriers which sustain inequalities and exclusion of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities, like any other marginalised group in the community, must have a say in the decisions and plans that impact their lives and the future of their communities. In January 2020, WBU launched the Global Program for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development to support participation of WBU members and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) partners towards ensuring that disability inclusion, accessibility, and universal design are considered in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). WBU has developed collaborative, co-creative, and multi-stakeholder partnerships and initiatives, including a milestone agreement with UN-Habitat and the launch of a special issue of the Journal of Public Space “Universally Accessible Public Spaces for All” in partnership with City Space Architecture (See Abu Dhabi Declared Actions). Building on this, the World Blind Union (WBU) commits to make a comprehensive stocktaking and sharing of the learnings, knowledge, and practices generated through the WBU Global Program on inclusive and accessible urban development since WUF10, to inform and accelerate actions and partnerships between OPDs and urban stakeholders, including UN Habitat and local and regional governments, supporting localisation and realisation of the CRPD and the New Urban Agenda. Expected results include collection and sharing of learnings, knowledge, and practices via reports, tools, webinars, case studies and more, to model and support meaningful participation of persons with disabilities and the mainstreaming of disability inclusion, accessibility and universal design across all urban policies, programs, and practices in line with the CRPD. WBU’s declared action supports capacity development of urban stakeholders on how to respond to today’s challenges that impact persons with disabilities the most, including climate change, poverty and exclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic and humanitarian emergencies – recognizing that accessibility and universal design are integral parts of the solution to the challenges of urbanisation, including urban crisis, and constitutes the agent of transformative action for a more equitable urban future (see Katowice Declared Actions).

Outcomes and Impacts

Increased and equal access to basic services, sustainable mobility and public space (most indicators at outcome level measure institutional outcome), Enhanced social integration and inclusive communities, Enhanced participation of persons with disabilities in the decisions guiding urban development at all levels

Lead Entity

World Blind Union (WBU)

Key Dates

Start year: 8/1/2022

Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries

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

Goal 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development