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Disability, Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals

Posted on: Friday, May 7th, 2021
Shukumar, wearing yellow, is stood outside and looks into the camera.

In September 2015, World Leaders agreed Agenda 2030, an ambitious new agenda to end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice and inequality over the next 15 years. It promises a better future for all.

Agenda 2030

Agenda 2030 sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UN Website – open link in new tab) (open link in new tab) that governments have committed to achieving. These Goals cover a range of different topics – from ending poverty, improving health care, building more inclusive and sustainable cities and making sure that we reduce the impact of climate change.

Including people with disabilities in the SDGs

Of the 1 billion people with disabilities – 80% live in low and middle income countries. They are often excluded from healthcare, education, and employment opportunities and in turn are much more likely to live in poverty.

People with disabilities were not included in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015 – and as a result, did not benefit equally. For example many countries now have close to 100% primary school enrolment but children with disabilities have been left out of this progress. In Nepal it is estimated that 85% of all children out-of-school have a disability.

Thanks to concerted advocacy by CBM and others, Agenda 2030 is much more disability inclusive. Agenda 2030 contains a specific promise to leave no one behind and includes 11 specific references to people with disabilities including in these five goals:

  • Goal 4: Quality education
  • Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
  • Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

While the inclusion of people with disabilities in five goals is extremely positive, it is important that all goals have relevance to people with disabilities. All 17 Goals cannot be achieved without including the 15% of the global population who live with disability.

Disability in the SDGs – What’s next?

The Sustainable Development Goals are determining what is prioritised by governments and development agencies around the world. Our job now is to translate the ambition of the SDGs into effective action. We need a global concerted effort to build an inclusive world where all people with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.

CBM will continue to work with governments and advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the implementation and measurement of the SDGs. Without implementation and measurement, promises will go undelivered, and people with disabilities will continue to be left behind.

Building a World For All

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