NEW YORK — At the upcoming United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, held September 25 to 27, the General Assembly will come together to discuss the post-2015 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Designed as the successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the world’s disabled have been specifically incorporated into the SDGs’ agenda.
Aiding people with a disability represents a huge milestone in the fight to end global poverty, given that 80 percent of the world’s disabled live in developing countries, according to the UN.
The disabled poor tend to be excluded and stigmatized within developing countries, even though 1 in 5 of the poorest people living in a developing nation are disabled.
This alienation results in lower access to education for an estimated 150 million, with 98 percent of disabled children not attending school in the developing world, according to the UN.
Tragically, the relationship between poverty and disabilities is often perpetuated in a cyclical pattern. Poverty leads to disability and disability leads to more extreme poverty.
One of the swiftest cycles of poverty to disability is seen in pregnant woman. Every year, an estimated 20 million women become disabled due to complications experienced during pregnancy and labor, according to the UN.
In 2012, during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the need for a successor to MDGs, which draws to a close in 2015, was recognized. The SDGs post-2015 agenda, entitled, “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet,” is set to pick up where the MDGs left off.
The UN hopes that by establishing goals designed to improve the educational, economic, health care and overall quality of living for the world’s most vulnerable, that the inclusion of the needs of the disabled will be met.
So, of the 17 SDGs, how do the goals breakdown for the benefit of the disabled?
- In Goal 4, the agenda calls for “inclusive and equitable quality education” and the promotion of “lifelong learning opportunities for all,” including the removal of intellectually or physically disparaging obstacles to children with a disability.
- In Goal 8, the agenda establishes equal access and compensation for work of equal value to their fellow laborers.
- Goal 10 aims at reducing inequality on a country-to-country level through the promotion of social, economic and political inclusion.
- Goal 11 aims for creating safe and sustainable public transportation, spaces and living conditions.
- And finally Goal 17 would place data collection of social changes within communities as a top priority, marking in what ways the SDGs are or aren’t working.
- Since the MDGs succeeded in cutting world hunger in half by 2015, doors have been opened to address more precise issues fueling global hunger, such as the role of disabilities among the world’s most impoverished. The goals, set to be achieved between 2015 to 2030, address the concerns of the poorest and socially excluded.
The UN is optimistic about the feasibility of the post-2015 agenda. However, even if greatly improving the lives of those facing extreme poverty, if it isn’t enough of an incentive for the General Assembly to adopt the agenda, the global financial benefits may be.
According to the World Bank’s 2006 estimate, the global GDP loss resulting from the exclusion of the disabled is between $1.7 trillion to $2.2 trillion annually. For now, things are looking positive for the SDGs post-2015 agenda to be adopted.
– Claire Colby