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Lessons to be Learned from the MDGs Professor Nora Ellen Groce Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre University College London.

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Presentation on theme: "Lessons to be Learned from the MDGs Professor Nora Ellen Groce Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre University College London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lessons to be Learned from the MDGs Professor Nora Ellen Groce Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre University College London

2 Background To make development sustainable, disability must be an integral part of the post-2015 agenda and included as a cross-cutting development concern. According to the World Health Organization, 1 billion people worldwide (15% of the worlds population) live with a physical, intellectual, sensory (i.e. blindness, deafness) or mental health impairment. This 15% are among the worlds poorest and most marginalized of all citizens. They are less likely to attend school, receive an adequate education, find sustainable employment or have the right to decide when, where and with whom to live, nor to be able to exercise their voice as citizens in the social, economic or political lives of their communities. 80% of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, but it is estimated that only 3-4% benefit from development efforts.

3 Social, economic and political concerns It is of note that all these issues I have just listed are related to social, economic and political issues, NOT the disability of an individual or group. The significance of paying attention to these social determinants is clearly reflected in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which defines disability as: …an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others The importance of focusing on a social rather than medical model is that it places disability squarely within the realm of the major barriers to confronting global poverty addressed by the MDGs. Given the size, complexity and level of poverty found within the global disability community, many if not most of the current – and presumably future – MDGs will be reached unless persons with disability are an integral part of all MDG efforts.

4 Despite this… There is no mention of disability anywhere Not in the 8 goals, 21 targets or 60 indicators Nowhere in the monitoring and evaluation levels – and only rarely in national level efforts to monitor and evaluate progress towards MDGs at local, national and regional levels. The current MDGs (2000) predate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which came into force in The post-2015 agenda will not: Inclusion is guaranteed under the UN Convention It is a human rights issue Lack of inclusion is ALSO a significant missed opportunity

5 For example: MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education Ensure that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary school. Significant advances worldwide mean that in many countries, primary school attendance rates now top 90% (although completion rates often lag behind and there continues to be gender disparity in some countries) According to UNESCO however, of the 75 million primary age children out of school, one third of these are children with disabilities Based on data from seven countries, on average a child with a physical disability is half as likely to be in school as a non-disabled children Disabled girls are less likely to be in school than non-disabled girls AND disabled boys. Lack of inclusion in school means that these children with disabilities receive little or no education, BUT ALSO that they are socially isolated from other children, they are less likely to receive other benefits of attending school (nutritional feeding programmes for example) and they will be less likely to receive education and skills that prepare them for the workforce AND for participating in their communities and societies as citizens.

6 For example: Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases A growing literature indicates that persons with disabilities (both women and men) are at equal or increased risk of exposure to all known factors to HIV – included sexual abuse and violence Yet they are far less likely than non-disabled peers to get HIV/AIDS education, access to condoms Should they contract HIV, they are far less likely to receive medications, or social services or economic supports they need to maintain their health Persons with disabilities are at equal risk for other diseases, but again are less likely to get preventative care (e.g. access to bed nets) and medication.

7 Lessons learned from current MDGs Lack of inclusion has lead to persons with disabilities often not benefiting from adaptations and advances made under the MDGs It has often been easier to leave people with disabilities out when goals such as cut in half or reduce by two-thirds are used. Often they are harder to reach and if it is not specified that they be included, they have been pushed to the side to ensure that the goal is reached It is imperative that there be accountability for reaching and including persons with disabilities in all aspects of the post-MDG efforts This means there must be accountability – TARGETS AND INDICATORS built in to all Goals identified National, regional and international campaigns and mobilization efforts, operational activities, analysis and monitoring and evaluation, must have disability components, and persons with disabilities be part of their advisory boards and implementing committees.

8 The disability and development gap (Groce and Kett: 2013) If no child in the village goes to school than lack of education for a disabled child makes him or her no different from all other children in the village If every child in the village EXCEPT the child with a disability goes to school, the child with a disability is now at distinct disadvantage – staying the same while all other children move forward

9 In the Post-2015 agenda, we have the opportunity to ensure inclusion For example: Environment Inclusive plans for all persons with disabilities in times of natural and human-made disasters Ensure that all efforts to improve access to water and sanitation are inclusive from the outset. Currently not only are persons with disabilities often unable to access water and sanitation because of physical and social limitations, but new wells with high walls, latrines with steps are making these things less rather than more accessible. As millions pour into cities, impoverished persons with disabilities are settling in areas that are at increased risk for flooding, rising sea levels, etc.

10 In the Post-2015 agenda, we have the opportunity to ensure inclusion For example: Transportation This will be a key area of concern as the post-2015 agenda moves forward – with significant economic, social and environmental implications. In response, major funding (often from UN agencies and bilateral agencies) is now going towards designing and building new transportation systems. Many of these systems are NOT disability accessible. It matters little if great effort is put in other areas if transportation is not accessible Schools that offer inclusive education are unreachable because buses are inaccessible Job training means little if bus drivers have received no training and are unaware that the CRPD requires them to stop and pick up a wheelchair user – even on days when they are busy.

11 In summary: Lessons learned from the current MDGs Lack of inclusion has hurt persons with disabilities, both through: Lack of inclusion in activities related to the MDGs themselves Stagnation of options and opportunities for persons with disabilities while peers moved forward (Disability and Development Gap) Not merely good for those with disabilities but good for all

12 Thank you Professor Nora Groce Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre, University College London 1-19 Torrington Place London WC1E 6BT T:


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