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Disability is finally beginning to receive the attention it deserves in development

25 November 2014
Posted by Lucy Drescher

Moving from working from UK policy and campaigning work to international policy and advocacy work, I have been struck by how significant the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) has been in developing countries and what a difference it has made but at the same time, how invisible disabled people are in mainstream development work.

However, disability is finally beginning to receive the attention it deserves in development. On 3 December Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) will be launching their framework for disability inclusive development within their work.

I have been part of the consultation meetings that disability representatives have had with FCDO civil servants and the Minister about their plans. They have been very open to our suggestions and show a strong desire to bring about real change within FCDO.

However, it is their document and FCDO is large, devolved government so the kind of change we want to see may take quite a while. The decision has been made to renew the framework annually so we will get the opportunity to question what they have achieved in a year's time.

At the same time, globally a new framework is being discussed, to replace the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) after 2015. Disability was not included in the MDGs and so the disability community has been lobbying heavily for inclusion this time with some success so far.

There have been a number of reports produced suggested what should be included and how it should be paid for. Disability has been mentioned in pretty much all of these reports, not as a separate goal but within a number of goals such as education and health. In addition, there is a desire to count the number of disabled people being included by disaggregating data by disability.

So, this is an exciting time to be working on policy and advocacy work in disability and development. We really hope to see disability inclusive development in the not too distant future and from the point of view of Sense International in particular, the inclusion of people with deafblindness!

Lucy Drescher is Policy & Support Officer for Sense International 



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First published: Thursday 1 January 1970
Last updated: Thursday 1 January 1970