Panel: Operationalizing the 2030 agenda for sustainable development: Disability data, statistics and indicators, monitoring and evaluation for inclusive development

My name is Dorodi Sharma and I represent Disabled People’s International (DPI) at this panel. DPI is the world’s first cross-disability global disabled people’s organization established in 1981. As of today, we have members in more than 150 countries across seven regions of the world.

At the outset, I would like to extend my personal and my organization’s appreciation to UNDESA and the leadership at the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities not just for today but for their overall support in furthering the cause of disability.

Ladies and gentlemen, majority of DPI’s membership is in countries of the Global South. And therefore, when we look at issues such as accessibility, inclusion, urban development, habitat – some of the issues discussed, and disability data, we look at it from the lens of the 800 million people with disabilities in these countries. These, as one of the panelists said, are ‘data poor’ countries.

If we are to make Agenda 2030 a reality for persons with disabilities, especially for those from these ‘data poor’ countries, we have to go beyond the goals, targets, and indicators where disability is explicitly mentioned. It has to be an overarching effort encompassing all aspects of the SDGs. Why? Because it is 2015 and we are already several decades behind. And if not now, then when?

One of the most critical components that will determine the success of Agenda 2030 will be data. Unfortunately, disability is more often than not left behind when it comes to data. Besides the lack of data, the other problem with whatever little data is available is that of comparability and reliability. Even today, there is a lack of cohesion when it comes to tools of data collection. While it is heartening to see that at the global level there is a growing convergence between the Washington Group, UNICEF, WHO, ILO, and others, we do not see this at the grassroots. I would like to give you an example from my own experience. I am from India and when we were working with the Indian disability movement toward inclusion of disability in the Population Census of 2011, the Washington Group question was one of the choices given to the leaders. Yet, they decided to go with a question based on the medical model of disability. There is gap between the global and the grassroots when it comes to disability data and this needs to be bridged somehow. People with disabilities at the grassroots need to be informed and their capacities built so that they can effectively advocate for globally comparable disability data.

Given this scenario, DPI welcomes the setting up of the Global Network on Monitoring and Evaluation for Disability Inclusive Development and feels privileged to be part of this. We pledge our support towards the work of this network.

DPI also takes this opportunity to place before this gathering a call for a ‘Disability Data Revolution’ towards fulfillment of Agenda 2030. Unless we count EVERYONE, including the one billion people with disabilities we will not really know who has been ‘left behind’!

DPI also calls upon the United Nations and its Member States to set up a framework to catalyze this Disability Data Revolution.

To conclude, DPI calls for the full participation of people with disabilities, especially those from the Global South, towards fulfillment of the Disability Data Revolution and Agenda 2030, keeping in consideration the spirit of ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’.

Statement on behalf of Disabled People’s International delivered by Dorodi Sharma at International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2015 Word FileOpens in a new window