Persons with disabilities included in financing for development outcome document

The 2018 Financing for Development (FfD) Forum is currently taking place this week (23-26 April) at the UN Headquarters in New York focusing on the financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Forum is structured with a ministerial session on the first two days and an expert session during the final two days.

Unlike former Forums, persons with disabilities have been strongly included in this year’s Forum as a result of long-term advocacy. The first presentation in the opening session of the Forum, the President of the Economic and Social Council, Marie Chatardová said that financing for development needs to be accessible and to leave no one behind, including for persons with disabilities.

Additionally, the Forum’s inter-governmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations are inclusive with three explicit references to persons with disabilities – for the first time! This outcome document is important as it feeds into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The references are found in paragraphs 15, 27, and 30 highlighting gaps in financial inclusion; the need to strengthen education, employment, and social protection policies; and efforts to collect, analyse and disseminate disaggregated data for persons with disabilities. Exact language is below.

“We recognize recent progress in financial inclusion, but note that gaps still remain for women, people in rural and remote areas, elderly people, youth, migrants, forcibly displaced persons and people with disabilities, as well as for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and businesses and enterprises in the social and solidarity economy operating in both formal and informal sectors” (para 15).

Science, technology, innovation and capacity-building: “We will support lifelong learning and skill acquisition for all, including entrepreneurial skills, adapt and strengthen employment, decent work and social protection policies and measures for all, as appropriate, and make efforts to address continued gender disparities and enhance inclusion of people in vulnerable situations, including for young people and persons with disabilities” (para 27).

Data, monitoring and follow-up: “We will strengthen our efforts to collect, analyse and disseminate data, disaggregated by sex, age, disability and other characteristics relevant in national contexts, including at the national, subnational and local levels, and gender statistics to improve policy design and implementation with regards to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” (para 30).

It is very positive that persons with disabilities are included in the FfD outcome document, although the document lacks solutions on how to address these gaps. As a way forward, we need to focus on practical solutions on addressing these gaps, particularly at the national level, focusing on a full, participatory, and human rights approach.