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Slide 1 The Potential Impact of the Global Economic Downturn on People with Disabilities Developing Countries Dr Raymond Lang Honorary Senior Research.

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Presentation on theme: "Slide 1 The Potential Impact of the Global Economic Downturn on People with Disabilities Developing Countries Dr Raymond Lang Honorary Senior Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 Slide 1 The Potential Impact of the Global Economic Downturn on People with Disabilities Developing Countries Dr Raymond Lang Honorary Senior Research Associate Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre University College London Development Studies Association Annual Conference University of Ulster 4 th September, 2009

2 Slide 2 Presentation Outline An analysis of the disability and development nexus Why people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable from the impact of the economic crisis –Extreme levels of social exclusion –Depleted social capital and relational bonds –Lack of employment opportunities An analysis of the potential negative consequences of the economic crisis Crisis defined –a situation that has reached an extremely dangerous or advanced point; a time of disagreement, uncertainty and suffering. Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary

3 Slide 3 The Disability, Poverty and Development Nexus I There are approximately 600 million disabled people than the world, 80% of whom in developing countries –Many disability could be prevented with timely and appropriate health interventions (public health and basic rehabilitation services) –DFID estimates that 50% of disabilities are preventable (DFID, 2000) –Lack of robust statistical data on disability prevalence rates Disability and poverty are a cause and consequence of each other (Yeo and Moore, 2003; Thomas, 2005) Disabled people constitute one of the most marginalised and socially excluded groups within any society –Lack of access to mainstream public services, including health, education and employment –Anecdotal evidence that people with disabilities do not access humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of war and civil strife

4 Slide 4 The Disability, Poverty and Development Nexus II UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities –Came into force in May, 2008 –First legally-binding treaty is promote and enforce disability rights –Negotiated in strong collaboration with civil society institutions, particularly, disabled peoples organisations Disability and the MDGs –No explicit reference to disability in the MDGs –Therefore, there is a real threat that people with disabilities will continue to be marginalised vis-a-vis future development and modifications to existing international aid modalities

5 Disability & International Development: A Conceptual Framework NGO/DPO & Government Interventions & Activities POVERTY Service Provision Capacity building of DPOs Advocacy Legislation UN Convention Enforcement Policy Development Media Evidence-Based Research DISABILITY Social Exclusion Human Rights Voilations -ve Social Attitudes STRUCTURAL FACTORS

6 Slide 6 Global Political Context The social exclusion and marginalisation of people with disabilities is not solely the result of the economic crisis, but its effects will exasperate the situation –Human rights violations –Negative social attitudes –Lack of understanding of a human rights-based approach true disability issues like many governments in developing countries Current uncertainties regarding aid architecture and modalities –What will happen post 2015 regarding the MDGs? –Will the Obama administration create a new global economic order? –What will be the operational implications of implementing DFIDs new White Paper? –In the UK, will there be a change in international development priorities if the Conservative Party comes to power?

7 Disability Rights and Global Governance The effective implementation of a rights-based approach to disability is dependent on good governance frameworks. In many low income countries this does not exist. –Lack of transparency in government –Fragmentation between legislation and implementation –Lack of robust statistical data on disability prevalence rates Creation of a democratic deficit Lack of benchmarks by which to hold governments to account for disability rights commitments Inability for governments to plan and implement services (particularly at regional and local government level).

8 Slide 8 Potential Consequences of the Economic Crisis I The crisis affect all vulnerable groups in developing countries, but will especially affect people with encounter the following challenges:- –EMPLOYMENT High correlation between disability and poverty (Elwan, 1999; Thomas, 2005) People with disabilities find to hard to secure long-term sustainable employment, with many employers believing that they can be economically productive They are invariably the last to be hired and the to be fired Unemployment rates for people with disabilities in both Western and developing countries are significantly higher than for their non- disabled counterparts With some notable exceptions, they are few social protection programmes for people with disabilities in developing countries (Mitra, 2008)

9 Slide 9 Potential Consequences of the Economic Crisis II EDUCATION UNESCO estimates that 98% of children with disabilities do not complete primary education in developing countries Educational deficits reinforces systemic and entrenched social exclusion, by making it harder for people with disabilities to secure employment In many developing countries, there is a strong gender bias against educating girls with disabilities, in the belief that they can never be economically productive, over and above boys with disabilities This situation is commonplace, notwithstanding high level rhetorical statements by UN agencies promoting inclusive education (for example, the Salamanca declaration 1994 (UNESCO, 1994). There is strong evidence to suggest that unless a concerted effort is made to promote inclusive education, then the MDG target on universal primary education will not be met.

10 Slide 10 Potential Consequences of the Economic Crisis III –HEALTH People with disabilities require access to appropriate and affordable health care in order to exercise their inherent human rights The past 30 years WHO has developed Community-Based Rehabilitation as a strategy to provide basic medial and rehabilitation services in developing countries –However, recent evidence would suggest that of 2% of people with disabilities actually access health services The global health agenda is placing increasing emphasis on mainstreaming heal and rehabilitation services, but man governments lack the financial and human infrastructure to proving services efficiently and effectively (Lang, 2008) People with disabilities are at high-risk of contract HIV/AIDs, due to lack of access to information and the common misconception that people with disabilities are not sexually active A social anthropological study in India show that men access and have more money spent on medical and rehabilitation services than women (Harriss-White and Erb, 2002)

11 Slide 11 Impact of the Economic Crisis on People with Disabilities I The continuation of the crisis will potentially have the following effects –Reduction in revenue of civil society organisations, including disabled peoples organisations as a result of cuts in charitable giving in western economies Consequently, this will result in a reduction in direct service provision provided by INGOs A reduction in funding to disabled peoples organisations will create a democratic deficit, as this will result in a decrease in their capacity to hold their respective governments to account for disability rights commitments. –Reduction in global levels overseas development assistance The MDG targets will be even harder to achieve Less resources made available to direct budget support, resulting in a significant depletion in the ability of governments in developing countries to provide mainstream services (particularly health, education and social protection)

12 Slide 12 Impact of the Economic Crisis on People with Disabilities II –People with disabilities in developing countries will encounter an increased risk of further isolation, marginalisation and social exclusion Reductions in direct budget support will mean that there will be less opportunity for people with disabilities to benefit from education, health and social protection programmes Reductions in direct budget support will also result in a deterioration in governance frameworks that underpins a human rights-based approach to disability issues (an example, the rule of law, due judicial process, and the development of effective and efficient administrative infrastructure for service provision) Increased levels of poverty among people disabilities Increased competition for limited resources available for international aid (including humanitarian assistance) for all vulnerable groups. Governments and bilateral and multilateral donor agencies will increasingly have to make ever more challenging choices regarding resource allocation. Again, this could have a significant detrimental effect on people with disabilities


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