A global United Nations meeting last October 28, 2015 brought together more than 60 urban planning and disability experts, including our very own Dr. Victor Pineda, president and founder of World Enabled. In those three days, experts discussed solutions to make urban development inclusive of and accessible to the world’s one billion persons with disabilities, many of whom live in cities.
The concluded three-day ‘DESA Forum on Disability Inclusion and Accessible Urban Development’ aimed to support States and related stakeholders in jointly advancing accessible and inclusive urban development. It resulted in a set of key recommendations to build an inclusive and accessible New Urban Agenda for all, including persons with disabilities. Dr. Pineda participated as one of the speakers during the afternoon panel.
The recommendations were expected to highlight in particular the need for proper urban policy, regulatory norms and standards, “design for all” approach to planning and necessary mobilisation/ allocation of resources through broad-based partnership.
Outcome of the Forum would contribute to the 3rd UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III), which will take place in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016 and result in a New Urban Agenda that will guide global urban development for the next two decades.
“The achievement of truly inclusive development where no one is left behind requires a holistic and people-centered approach”, said Mr. Hongbo Wu, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. “Development policies and programming must fully take account of the aspirations, needs and concerns of all people, and involve and engage all members of society, regardless of their status, disability or non-disability.”
For one billion persons living currently with disabilities, most cities and towns present significant barriers to inclusion and participation, ranging from inaccessible built and virtual infrastructures to lack of user-sensitive designed facilities or limited access to basic public services.
“We need to find local solutions for global problems”, said Dr. Aisa Kayira Kirabo Deputy Executive Director for UN-Habitat and former Mayor of Kigali. “Innovative housing, transportation and buildings programmes that make our cities accessible to all are urgently needed.”
Mr. Lennin Moreno UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, in his message to the Forum, urges all Governments including local authorities, United Nations entities, development partners and other major stakeholders to engage and work with persons with disabilities and their organizations and work together in a more proactive way to make cities better place for all.
UN to promote more accessible and inclusive cities for persons with disabilitiesThe Forum was organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and UN-Habitat, and is supported by the African Union as well as the African Disability Forum and other civil society organizations and development partner organizations from five continents.
The Forum was convened just prior to World Cities Day (31st October2015), which marked last year under the theme “Designed to Live Together”.