Truly Sustainable Development for Persons with Disabilities Means Ensuring Equal Rights, Ending Discrimination, Secretary-General Tells Commemorative Event

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the commemorative event to observe the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, today: 

It is an honour to address this important commemorative event. Today, the UN family gathers together with Governments and civil society partners to discuss a vital issue — the rights of persons with disabilities.

This year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities reminds us that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires living up to the promise to leave no one behind, especially the 1.3 billion persons with disabilities worldwide.

Today, at the halfway point to the 2030 Agenda, persons with disabilities continue facing systemic discrimination and barriers that restrict their meaningful inclusion in all areas of society.

Truly sustainable development for persons with disabilities requires a laser-like focus on their needs and rights — not only as beneficiaries, but as active contributors across social, economic and political life.

This means ensuring that persons with disabilities are at every decision-making table, in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and across countries’ efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals — from poverty eradication, to health, education and climate action.

The United Nations is leading by example through our Disability Inclusion Strategy, and by supporting Member States as they drive progress for, and with, persons with disabilities.

On this important day, I call on the world to work side-by-side with persons with disabilities to design and deliver solutions based on equal rights in every country and community.

For information media. Not an official record.