This project aims to demonstrate that persons with disabilities from all age groups and backgrounds can be and often are empowered, active agents and contributing members to society. In other words, this platform aims to mainstream a shift of perspective on disability-issues, demonstrating that removing barriers to participation can enable persons with disabilities to realise their potential and contribute to development by inspiring others. This view promotes a human rights approach that posits all individuals as equal and empowered on an equal footing. Governments, UN agencies, civil society organisations, academic institutions and the private sector, are encouraged to initiate new collaborations and embrace the needs and perspectives of persons with disabilities in their policies and initiatives.
What does it mean to be "empowered"?
Evaluating and defining what ‘empowerment’ involves varies contextually and in connection to multiple factors. A comprehensive methodology has been developed in order to identify and to explore the enabling factors and facilitators for persons with disabilities around the world to be empowered, what supported them in their efforts, as well as the barriers encountered throughout their life paths. It includes individuals located through self-identification and recommendations of different stakeholders. Different ‘categories of achievements’ have been identified, including education, laws, policies, institutions, accessible communication, healthcare and rehabilitative services, etc., in order to gather statistical information for the consideration of governments, policy-makers, and other decision-makers.
What are the benefits of registering as a user?
By sharing their stories, persons with disabilities who have succeeded in different fields can inspire and encourage those who are in a similar position or face similar obstacles, but can also make their voices heard by wider audiences and actors working in the public and private spheres globally. Users of the website can contribute to the celebration of persons with disabilities and their accomplishments by sharing their own stories (as written words, audio files, videos, and other formats), engaging in online discussions, and promoting the voices of others in larger networks.
How does UNESCO support the empowerment of persons with disabilities?
UNESCO’s vision is the creation of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens. Within the context of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and disability-inclusive Sustainable Development Goals, UNESCO recognises the need to:
Prepare national policies and strongly encourages local governments to introduce specific legislation to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities.
Define governments’ aspirations regarding services for persons with disabilities, including equal access to information and knowledge, education and the use of ICTs.
Develop national standards for public goods in terms of products and services, such as accessibility guidelines, recommendations, curricula and other mechanisms to ensure that these standards are maintained.
Build the capacity of professional communities and persons with disabilities to provide access to information and knowledge, including hard and software developers and teachers.
Adapt and personalize ICTs to the nature of specific disabilities, particularly for learning and teaching purposes.
Enhance social and economic integration through improved access to information and knowledge.
Collect statistical data and carry out research.
In order to promote a better understanding of issues related to disability and mobilize support for the recognition of the dignity, rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities, and of the benefits of their integration in society, UNESCO has undertaken an action plan centered around thematic priorities:
Research and evidence-based data collection
Development of policies and strategies on inclusion of persons with disabilities
Building an enabling environment and raising awareness
Development of appropriate tools for inclusion
Additionally, UNESCO contributes to the annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3 (link is external). Celebrated on 3 December around the world, IDPD mobilizes support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities, promotes awareness-raising about disability issues and draws attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all. UN agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector are encouraged to support IDPD by collaborating with organizations for people with disabilities to arrange events and activities. More information available at https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/personswithdisabilitiesday