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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré 

High Level Meeting on disability and Development (HLMDD)

High Level Side Event "The UN Delivering as one in Enabling a Disability-Inclusive Development Agenda Towards 2015 and Beyond"

23 September 2013, New York, USA

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications and ICTs, with a global Membership that includes 193 Member States and more than 700 Sector Members and Associates.

In accordance with Resolution 175 from the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (Guadalajara, 2010), ITU is firmly committed to promoting the empowerment of persons with disabilities through the use of ICTs, and also to enable the full participation of persons with disabilities in the activities of the Union.

This year’s session of ITU Council agreed to issue an official statement in support of this meeting to contribute to the historic opportunity that the HLMDD represents.

The statement – agreed unanimously – highlights the critical role of telecommunications and ICTs in the building of a society in which persons with disabilities are both beneficiaries and agents of development efforts.

We have also been one of the partners in a new jointly-produced report, ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework, which is co-published by:

  • The Broadband Commission for Digital Development;
  • The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ICT);
  • The International Disability Alliance (IDA);
  • ITU
  • Microsoft;
  • The Foundation;
  • And UNESCO.

It a great pleasure to announce the launch of this report today, which is a historic date for the advancement of the rights of the persons with disabilities.

In producing this report, our multi-stakeholder partnership adopted a participatory approach and carried out a global consultation to collect over 150 expert inputs from 55 countries across the world.

The report seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the extent to which ICTs enable and accelerate the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities.

It highlights that when ICTs are available, affordable and accessible, they significantly improve access to all aspects of society and development.

The report also lists challenges that are still to be addressed while outlining concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and relevant indicators to monitor progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda.

The report also highlights the importance of The UN delivering as one in enabling a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond.

The agencies, programmes and bodies of the United Nations system commit to continue raising awareness on the inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities within the development agenda and promoting the active participation of persons with disabilities in the design of the post 2015 goals, targets and indicators.

It is important that we deliver as one as we incorporate the issue of disability into our discussions, identifying the key barriers that need to be addressed and the main opportunities – such as the use of ICTs – that can be leveraged to achieve a post-2015 disability-inclusive development agenda.

Our vision is of inclusive development and a society in which persons with disabilities, as both agents and beneficiaries of development efforts, can maximize the use of ICTs to fully access healthcare services, benefit at all educational levels, be competitive in the labour market, participate in public life, and live independently.

We therefore invite you to maximize your use of the evidence in this report and we look forward to working together towards the achievement of this vision.

Thank you.