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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

11 October 2023

ESCAP ES

Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

The Asia-Pacific region is at a critical juncture in its pursuit of disability-inclusive development.

Last year, countries adopted the Jakarta Declaration on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2023–2032.

The Declaration builds on past achievements and provides strategic directions for the new Disability Decade.

I would like to highlight a few priority areas for action, which are critical to accelerating disability-inclusive development in ASEAN countries.

Harmonizing national legislation with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities lays the foundation for realizing disability rights.

A multi-sectoral approach to disability-inclusive development requires mainstreaming disability inclusion into various laws and policies.

Secondly, ensuring the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities is essential for effective policymaking.

Diverse disability groups are active contributors to development efforts at all levels. Co-designing initiatives with the disability community can generate innovative solutions that address evolving needs on the ground.

Additionally, closing data gaps is key to measuring progress and designing responsive measures.

The availability of quality disability data contributes to a better understanding of the barriers and enablers experienced by persons with disabilities. This holds immense significance in societies undergoing rapid changes, such as digital transformation and population ageing.

Lastly, fostering close partnerships with the private sector can catalyze transformative change.

Distinguished participants,

Disability-inclusive business offers great potential to advance disability rights. It is crucial to integrate disability considerations into the development of products and services.

In addition, persons with disabilities should be engaged in the business value chain as leaders, employees, suppliers and consumers.

ASEAN has been at the forefront of promoting disability-inclusive development, notably through the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025.

Moving forward, we should further harness the synergies between the 2030 Agenda, the Jakarta Declaration and subregional frameworks.

Stakeholders in the region must unite, each contributing their perspectives, expertise and capabilities.

Through collaborative efforts, we can transform our commitment to “Make the Right Real” for persons with disabilities into concrete actions and tangible outcomes.

Thank you very much.

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