The Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international human rights instruments, such as the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, all reaffirm that the full and complete realization of the human rights of all people with disabilities is an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Fifteen per cent of the world’s population, more than 1 billion people experience some form of disability, and 80% of persons with disabilities live in developing countries where they face considerable discrimination and barriers that restrict them from participating in society on an equal basis with others. The world’s population is also ageing rapidly. By 2050, 2 billion people, over 20% of the world’s population, will be 60 or older. Approximately 46 per cent of the population over age 60 experience some form and degree of disability.
Further, persons with disabilities are a diverse group including psycho-social invisible disabilities. As far as possible then, disability-inclusion should be addressed through a universal approach, rather than silos, and by adopting a narrative whereby disability is considered part of human diversity, rather than the source of special needs and solutions. This can be achieved by using universal design and enabling participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life including education, health, employment, leisure and sports.
The NUA recognizes that only when persons with disabilities are included in society on an equal footing as agents of change and beneficiaries of the outcomes of the design of policies or programmes, their implementation, monitoring and evaluation in all political, economic and social spheres, can all benefit equally and inequality be eliminated.
Urban environments, infrastructures, facilities and services, depending how they are planned and built, can enable or impede access, participation and inclusion of members of society. Furthermore, research shows that retrofitting accessibility is more expensive than planning and investing from the start.
To ensure proper planning for accessibility, as well as a budget devoted to infrastructure, lack of reliable data is a critical issue. To this end, the NUA commits to “support the role and enhanced capacity of national, subnational and local governments in data collection, mapping, analysis and dissemination and in promoting evidence-based governance, building on a shared knowledge base using both globally comparable as well as locally generated data, disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national, subnational and local contexts.