Meeting of UN-ESCAP: Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities
New Delhi: The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot, inaugurated a two-day Meeting of Second Session of the UN-ESCAP Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022 here.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister stated that hisGovernment is fully committed to the cause of empowerment of Persons with Disabilities(PWDs)and implementation of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesas well as the “Incheon Strategy”. He said that we are presently focussing on enactment of a new comprehensive law to fulfil our international obligations following ratification of the UNCRPD; using technology to deliver low-cost home-based education through e-learning and providing Identity Cards to all Persons with Disabilities so that they can avail Government benefits.
The Minister said that his government is also committed to ensureeasy access of PWDs to public facilities, public buildings and transport; develop income generation models to ensure their economic independence, and provide support to voluntary organizations working in this sector. He further said that India is eager to provide necessary technical support to UNESCAP in all its efforts and learn from the best practices in this region.“We in this region have adopted the Incheon Strategy to declare our regional cooperation and commitment to build a better future for persons with disabilities”, he said. The slogan of this Strategy is to “Make the Right Real”. Some of the important goals of Incheon strategy are: Reduction of poverty, Enhancement of accessibility, education and employment, Special focus on children and women, Promotion of social protection and political participation, and Strengthening of international cooperation etc.
Shri Gehlot said that we have chalked out a road map with specific time-frames to implement the Incheon Strategy and achieve these goals. The Minister expressed the hope that the Working Group would recommend constructive steps towards achieving disability-inclusive development for our region and the deliberations would provide valuable inputs in the international level as well, in the true spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, that is – the entire world is one family.”
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Lov Verma, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities stated that India is focussing on a multi pronged approach involving various Central Ministries to implement the Incheon Strategy to make right real. Various steps taken by the Government included ensuring accessibility, education and employment.
Shri Awanish Kumar Awasthi, Joint Secretary in the Departmentof Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Shri Nagesh Kumar, Director ESCAP Sub-Regional Office, South and South-West Asia, New Delhi and Mr Kang Inchul, Director, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea also spoke on the occasion.
India is hosting this meeting in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asian and Pacific (UNESCAP). About 70 delegates participated, which included representatives from 13 Member States, including China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Samoa, Thailand and 14 Civil Society Organisations in the region. Later India and China were elected Chair and Vice-Chair of the Working Group, respectively.