There are 800 million people with disabilities in developing countries. I am delighted that we can now give a real boost to this vulnerable group, said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein, when he announced Norway’s allocation during his visit to New York yesterday.
– We know that these people have to contend with negative attitudes, stigmatisation, discrimination and a lack of access to education and health services, as well as physical barriers, said Mr Ulstein.
– The Government is now seeking to step up efforts to reach the most vulnerable people in societies in all areas of Norway’s development cooperation. The Government’s political platform states that priority is to be given to vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, said Mr Ulstein.
– As Minister of Equality, I am pleased that we are also making a contribution internationally. We know that people with disabilities encounter obstacles that mean that they do not have the same opportunities to participate in society as other people, said Minister of Culture and Equality Trine Skei Grande.
This week, the two ministers are attending the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.
– Norway’s allocation is an important contribution to strengthening the rights of participation of the most vulnerable people, who are often people with disabilities, and women and children with disabilities in particular, said Ms Skei Grande.
The funding of NOK 100 million comes in addition to existing support from Norway, and it is in keeping with the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs, and the important principle of leaving no one behind. Women and children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to attack, and they are particularly at risk in situations of war and conflict.
– We must focus special attention on this group. International efforts to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities must be intensified. Existing efforts are inadequate, and they are not always sufficiently integrated into development programmes as a whole. Moreover, the fact that people with disabilities are often a huge resource is not acknowledged as much as it should be, said Mr Ulstein.
– A great deal of work needs to be done. We will do our part. And we must give this area priority. The Government will pursue an even more inclusive development policy, with a particular focus on education, global health and support for civil society. Efforts to promote gender equality and women’s rights will be a vital component.
Norway is cooperating closely in this area with a number of countries and multilateral organisations. Last year, the Government signed the Global Disability Summit Charter for Change in London. This sent an important signal that we will continue to promote implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Norway is currently participating in the negotiations on the Human Rights Council resolution on the rights of the child, and is working to ensure that the wording of the text on the rights of children with disabilities is as strong as possible.
– Children with disabilities must have the same rights as adults with disabilities, and as other children, said Mr Ulstein.