While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent a concerted effort to address global poverty, there is a striking gap in the current MDGs and their inclusion of persons with disabilities. The estimated 1 billion people worldwide who live with disabilities are still excluded from equitable access to resources such as education, employment, healthcare and social and legal support systems. As a result persons with disabilities experience disproportionately high rates of poverty.
With the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006, some progress has been made in improving the situation of persons with disabilities. However, in spite of such gains, disability remains largely invisible in most mainstream development processes, including the MDGs. Greater efforts are needed to ensure that development processes include persons with disabilities to help realize the overall objective of the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society.
In 2010, the General Assembly in its resolution 65/186, proposed the convening of a high-level meeting on disability and requested further information from the Secretary-General in this regard. The Secretary-General submitted his report (A/66/128) on strengthening efforts to ensure accessibility for and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of development efforts and explored options for priorities and possible outcomes for the proposed high-level meeting.
Subsequently in 2011, the Assembly adopted resolution 66/124 and decided to convene a one-day high-level meeting of the General Assembly on disability (HLMD) at the level of Heads of State and Government on 23 September 2013, the Monday before the start of the general debate of the sixty-eighth session. Under the theme: “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”, the HLMD will comprise of a plenary meeting and two consecutive informal interactive round tables. Participation in each round table will include Member States, observers and representatives of entities of the United Nations system, as well as representatives of civil society, organizations of persons with disabilities and the private sector.
The HLMD will result in a concise, action-oriented Outcome Document in support of the aims of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities. Prior to the convening of the HLMD in September 2013, a draft text of the Outcome Document will be produced by the President of the General Assembly in consultation with Member States, along with input from organizations of persons with disabilities through informal consultations.