International Day for Persons with Disabilities!

Logo for International Day for Persons with Disabilities at the UN

International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3) is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. It has been celebrated with varying degrees of success around the planet. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. It was originally called “International Day of Disabled Persons“. This year’s theme is:

Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities

There are events all around the world, we have some of the Canadians events listed here. We will also be reporting live from New York City at the United Nations headquarters on that day. You can join the conversation on Twitter that day with the hashtags #IDPD and #IDPD2015.

Recap from yesterday’s UN event:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon opens the International Day for Persons with Disabilities at the UN.

At this year’s UN event were many experts from UN-affiliated organizations working on enabling individuals with accessible needs. Several points of interest include:

  • Even though 160 countries signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, yet still 80% live in poverty. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much conversation at the table on how we can work together to develop ways to bring individuals with disabilities out of poverty.
  • Protecting persons with disabilities during a humanitarian crisis as the mortality rate during a war and natural disasters are 4x higher. There are organizations in Canada such as The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) that provides training on this topic.
  • The need for a data revolution to empower individuals with disabilities with valuable information that’s widely available on platforms such as OpenStreetMap or even the variety of accessible mapping services such as AccessNow, Axsmap, PathVu and Wheelmap and the importance of collaboration and sharing of the information.
  • How to help countries measure impact and progress on making society more accessible in order to meet the Sustainable Development goals by 2030 and the types of measures currently in development. Most measurement seems to be survey based, such as the one developed by the Washington Group that most countries refer to.

Besides the panel discussions were artistic sessions which included live performances by musicians with disabilities from the Republic of Korea, the UN Enable Film Festival, UN Photo Exhibition titled “Images of Ability” and an art exhibition titled “Like Wildflowers, Like Stars” by Korean artist Kim Geun-tae.

My question to you is:

What would the world look like to you where people of all abilities have access and empowered?

Share your responses with us on Twitter or leave a comment below!

I am passionate about people and focused on developing meaningful opportunities for people with accessibility needs through social entrepreneurial initiatives in journalism, consulting, and arts. As a TED talks junkie, I would love to hear your story and ideas. Reach out and connect with me!


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