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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

19 October 2022


Yang kami hormati,

Bapak Muhadjir Effendy, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs of Indonesia,

Yang kami hormati Ibu Tri Rismaharini, Minister of Social Affairs of Indonesia,

Ministers, Excellency Ministers, Vice Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Ambassadors,

Ibu Maulani Agustiah Rotinsulu, Representative of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities Asia-Pacific,

Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, very good morning, Selamat pagi

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Government of Indonesia, in particular to Ibu Risma, for the foresight and leadership in hosting this very important event.

I would like to thank the members and associate members of the Commission, the United Nations entities, organizations of persons with disabilities, and other stakeholders for joining this meeting.

In the spirit of “nothing about us without us,” I would especially like to thank all the participants who identify as a person with disabilities for joining us.

Over the past 30 years, the Asia-Pacific region has been a leader in disability inclusion, in part through the three Decades of Persons with Disabilities proclaimed by ESCAP member States.

In the current decade, the region promoted progress by creating the world’s first set of regionally agreed disability-specific goals in the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific.

Building on these commitments, the Beijing Declaration, including the Action Plan to Accelerate the Implementation of the Incheon Strategy, provided member States with policy guidance on further advancing disability-inclusive development.

While we have made commendable advances over the past 30 years, much more needs to be done.

More than 700 million persons with disabilities living in the region continue to face significant barriers to full and effective participation in society.

Persons with disabilities generally experience higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and children with disabilities are less likely to attend school. Only 1 in 4 persons with disabilities are employed, and 7 in 10 persons with disabilities do not have social protection.

Barriers continue to inhibit persons with disabilities from accessing the physical environment, public transportation, and information and communications. Findings from a recent ESCAP survey suggest that many government buildings, websites and modes of public transportation continue to lack accessibility features.

Persons with disabilities are underrepresented in decision-making processes. Less than one per cent of the total parliamentarians in the region and, on average, less than 20 per cent of the members of national coordination mechanisms on disability are persons with disabilities.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Moving forward, we should harness the synergies between the Sustainable Development Goals and the Incheon Strategy Goals to fulfill our dual commitments to leave no one behind and to make the right real.

A human rights-based approach is critical to achieving inclusive societies. While most ESCAP members and associate members with treaty-making capacity have ratified or acceded to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, governments must now harmonize their national legislation to the Convention and ensure effective implementation.

We need to strengthen existing partnerships and forge new ones, including with the private sector and organizations of persons with disabilities. Inclusive public procurement policies incorporating universal design and providing incentives for the private sector to mainstream disability inclusion throughout the business cycle will not only benefit persons with disabilities but also businesses as they gain new clients, suppliers and innovative employees.

Moving forward, policies should be based on a gender-responsive approach that addresses the full life cycle, considering the specific needs of children, women and older persons with disabilities. To guide the design of these policies, we must increase the collection and analysis of data disaggregated by sex, age and disability.

Most importantly, our policies should be developed and implemented with the full and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities. In fact, this principle should underpin all of our work in disability inclusive development. Let us give new life and meaning to the phrase “nothing about us without us.”

Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

In the achievements of the past three decades of persons with disabilities, we have a strong foundation to build on to continue advancing disability inclusion in Asia and the Pacific.

This week, we come together to review the progress we have made, learn good practices from one another and gain consensus on new strategic directions. We will consider how to adjust to emerging issues such as population ageing, digital transformation and climate change.

And in all discussions, we will hear the lived experiences of persons with diverse disabilities.

We hope that at the end of this meeting, member States will adopt an outcome document that reflects a renewed commitment to disability-inclusive development and charts the way forward for the new decade in the Asia-Pacific region.

I look forward to a vibrant, inspiring and inclusive meeting.

Terima Kasih. Thank you very much. Wasalammualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

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