Letter dated 90/10/16 from the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
|UN Document Symbol||A/C.3/45/7|
|Convention||Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities|
|Subjects||Persons with Disabilities, Children with Disabilities, Women with Disabilities|
29 October 1990
Forty-fifth session THIRD COMMITTEE Agenda item 92
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORLD PROGRAMME OF ACTION CONCERNING DISABLED PERSONS AND THE UNITED NATIONS DECADE OF DISABLED PERSONS
Letter dated 16 October 1990 from the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
The Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations presents its compliments to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and has the honour to refer to the Expert Group Meeting on Alternative Ways to Mark the End of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons, which was held at Jarvenpaa, Finland, from 7 to 11 May 1990. The report of the Meeting is annexed hereto.
The Secretary-General is kindly requested to have the report circulated as a document of the General Assembly at its forty-fifth session.
[Original: Arabic/Chinese/ English/French/ Russian/Spanish]
REPORT OF THE EXPERT GROUP MEETING ON ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO MARK THE END OF THE UNITED NATIONS DECADE OF DISABLED PERSONS HELD AT JARVENPAA, FINLAND, FROM 7 TO 11 MAY 1990*
* This document has been reproduced without formal editing.
I. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTION 1-51
Preamble 1- 3
A. AGENDA FOR ACTION FROM 1990 TO 1992:
SUGGESTED PRIORITIES 4- 7
1. Activities at the national level .... 4 - 5
2. Activities at the regional level .... 6
3. Activities at the international level 7
B. ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO HARK THE END OF THE
DECADE IN 1992 8-13
C. OUTLINE OF A LONG-TERM STRATEGY TO
IMPLEMENT THE WORLD PROGRAMME OF ACTION
CONCERNING DISABLED PERSONS TO THE YEAR
2000 AND BEYOND 14-51
Preamble 14 - 19
1. The role of people who have a
2. Promoting the rights of people who
are disabled 23-29
3. Action at the national level ........ 30-39
4. Strengthening the United Nations
system 40 - 48
5. Preventing the causes of disability . 49-51
II. SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS 52 -101
III. ORGANIZATION AND OTHER ASPECTS
OF THE MEETING 102 -116
A. OPENING OF THE MEETING 103 -107
B. ATTENDANCE 108 -110
C. ELECTION OF OFFICERS Ill
D. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND TIMETABLE 112 -113
E. DOCUMENTATION 114
F. ADOPTION OF THE REPORT AND CLOSURE
OF THE MEETING
25 25 26 27 27 28
I. RECOMMENDATIONS FOB ACTION
1. The Meeting of Experts on Alternative Ways to Mark the End of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons affirms the validity and value of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons. However, in order to provide higher visibility to the Decade, to promote more action, and to build greater awareness about prevention, rehabilitation and equalization of opportunities for disabled people, specific areas must be targeted.
2. Whereas the philosophy and recommendations as contained in the World Programme of Action have been clearly documented, the Meeting emphasizes that action needs to be taken and recommends the following three priority areas:
a. In view of the accumulated expertise of organizations of
disabled people, their growing network of regional and national
affiliates and their strong commitment to the World Programme of
Action, programmes of organizations of disabled people should be
strengthened, supported and provided resources to ensure their
participation in the decision-making process.
b. Because there is the urgent need to improve the status of
disabled people particularly in developing countries, grassroot
models of empowerment such as multi-sectoral community-based
rehabilitation programmes. Including independent living, must be
c. Considering the specific physical and mental characteristics of
individuals, as well as the cultural, social and ecological barriers
which prevent the full participation of disabled people In society,
work must be done on measures to promote legislation to enable them
to exercise fully all human rights.
3. In support of these three priority areas, the Meeting recommends
that the following actions be undertaken at the national, regional and
A. AGENDA FOB ACTION FROM 1990 TO 1992: SUGGESTED PRIORITIES
1. Activities at the national level
4. The Meeting acknowledges the full validity of measures identified by the United Nations General Assembly, as contained in the annex of its resolution 43/98, entitled "Priorities for global activities and programmes during the second half of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons".
5. The Meeting recommends that Member States should be invited to consider the adoption of the following agenda for action from 1990 to 1992, the objectives of which would be to mount action to benefit
disabled persons at the grassroots level and to build greater awareness of disability issues related to the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persona. Member States are invited to:
a. Undertake a national evaluation of the implementation of the
World Programme of Action within the framework of the second round
of the monitoring and evaluation exercise of the implementation of
the World Programme Action, scheduled for 1992. Member States should
use this opportunity to review their plans, policies, programmes and
legislation regarding disabled persons. This should be done with a
special view to the rights for education of children with
disabilities as well as the integration of disabled women in
existing programmes. The purpose of the exercise, to be undertaken
in consultation with organizations of disabled persons, would be to
strengthen existing plans, review the effectiveness of policies
already implemented, and plan new development in the light of the
progress achieved so far, obstacles encountered and solutions
b. Request the Administrator of the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) to convene at country-level, under the leadership
of the UNDP Resident Representatives, a meeting on disability
issues, with the aim of creating a national committee on disability
in co-operation with UNDP and other United Nations bodies and
agencies; or where such Committees exist, to further strengthen
them. All United Nations agencies in the country and all
governmental and non-governmental organizations Interested in
disability issues, particularly organizations of people with
disabilities, should fully participate in such meetings. Guidelines
on the structure and functioning of the such committees, prepared by
the United Nations, should be used. By the end of the Decade all
countries should have active national committees on disability.
c. Request Parliament and other legislative bodies at the local,
national and regional levels, to hold special sessions during 1992
to discuss the World Programme of Action with special emphasis on
the equalization of opportunities for disabled persons.
d. Support the development of umbrella organizations of disabled
persons. These umbrella bodies should be provided with resources
from Governments to enable them to play an active role in advising
on legislative policies and programmes affecting the lives of
disabled persons. Whenever possible, persons with mental
disabilities should represent themselves or be represented by their
organizations, their parents or other advocates. Action on this
recommendation should be taken in all Member States by the end of
e. Support organizations of disabled persons at the national and
local levels in the development of projects that would benefit
persons with disabilities especially women and children. at the
grassroots level. Such projects should include income-generating
projects, vocational training programmes, technical aids factories,
mobility training programmes, agricultural activities, indigenous
sign language training programmes for deaf people, and sports and cultural activities.
f. Request organizations of disabled people in their countries to
report to the United Rations on programmes which are examples of
good practice, for compilation in an illustrated publication to be
co-ordinated, published and disseminated by the United Nations
Department of Public Information.
g. Launch an annual United Nations disability awareness campaign
and encourage and give recognition such as awards and prizes to
organizations and individuals who have contributed to the Decade.
h. Upgrade and strengthen concerned national governmental structures in order to focus more effectively on the needs of disabled people in their countries.
1. Ratify ILO Convention 159, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the United Rations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and accede to the provisions of the Nairobi Protocol to the Florence Agreement.
2. Activities at the regional level
6. The Meeting recommends that United Nations regional commissions, other regional inter-governmental bodies and/or interested governments should be fully involved in the revitalization of the Decade's activities at the regional level. The regional commissions should be invited to:
a. Establish or strengthen, when one already exists, a unit on
disability within each respective Social Development Division to act
as the focal point on disability-related Issues within their
regions, that would work in co-operation with the Disabled Persons
Unit of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs
and organizations of disabled persons.
b. Strengthen the collaboration among United Nations agencies with
offices at the site of the regional commissions or elsewhere in
their regions through a multi-sectoral approach Involving more than
one agency. This would avoid duplication and ensure effective use of
expertise at international and national levels.
c. Submit regional reports to the Secretary-General, by 31 March
1992, on the measures taken in observance of the Decade and in
implementing the agenda for action during the period 1990 to 1992.
d. Support the proposal of the Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific to undertake a regional campaign, in
collaboration with national focal points and non-governmental
organizations of disabled persons, to generate Increased regional
awareneaa of disability Issues to mark the end of the Decide.
e. Support the proposal of the United Nations Economic Commission
for Europe to organize a series of three workshops to review the
existing and emerging rehabilitation technologies In the region,
followed by the publication of a major study in 1992.
3. Activities at the international level
7. Recognizing the Important role of the United Nations system in the promotion, implementation and monitoring of the World Programme of Action, the Meeting recommends that:
a. In view of the fact that as of 1992 the focus of the United
Nations disability programme will be redirected from
awareness-raising efforts to the operationalization of the World
Programme of Action, the post of Interregional Advisor on
Disability, which was discontinued in 1982, should be re-established.
b. Donor countries and their development agencies should give
highest priority to disability issues within their bilateral
programmes of assistance and technical co-operation to developing
and other countries in special need of assistance. Donor countries
should review the status of disabled persons in their existing
programmes and projects and ensure that the needs of disabled
persons are recognized and integrated. In preparing its manual on
the integration of the needs and concerns of disabled persons in
national planning, the United Nations should consult with donor
agencies and organizations of disabled persons.
c. International organizations of disabled persons should be
consulted at the appropriate level regarding all measures concerned
with disability, and they should also be Invited by the United
Nations, by its bodies and agencies and by governments to
participate as partners in the planning, implementation and
evaluation of programmes and projects which affect the lives of
disabled people and their families. In order to facilitate this
process, it is recommended that the United Nations disseminate
guidelines on consultation with disabled people's organizations.
d. The World Federation of the Deaf should make its expertise in
sign language research, sign language teaching, and the training of
sign language Interpreters available to the United Nations In the
development of a model programme of applied research and training
for indigenous sign languages. The model is expected to be
implemented in two countries by 1992 and later used in a long-term
programme of action.
e. The United Nations should be requested to distribute a resource
kit on independent living produced by Disabled Peoples'
International. It should also distribute a resource kit for building
non-handicapping environments. These resource kits would reflect the
accumulated expertise in the areas of accessibility, legislation and
design solutions for public buildings, public spaces and housing,
and the emphasis would be on developing regions. These kits should
also be reviewed by organizations of people with disabilities.
f. In order that the World Programme of Action be easily
understood, a shortened version should be produced in pamphlet form
by the United Nations Department of Public Information, with
specific emphasis on the role of organizations of disabled persons
and the models of empowerment developed in independent living. This
should be made available, with Illustrations, In all United Nations languages and in alternate media, such as In Braille, large print and audio-tapes.
g. The management of the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons should be guided by priorities to be established by an Advisory Committee, reporting directly to the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Head of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs. The Advisory Committee should have a majority of members who are representatives for organizations of disabled persons. The Meeting recommends that the General Assembly decide to rename and continue beyond 1992 the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons.
h. United Nations bodies and agencies should make their buildings barrier-free and include in their budgets provisions to make information, documents and meetings accessible to disabled persons. Special attention should be given to providing Braille and sign language for visually and deaf participants respectively at meetings and to meeting the needs of other groups of disabled persons, as appropriate.
i. The Meeting requests the Secretary-General to take appropriate steps and to encourage Member States to ensure participation of disabled persons In the preparation and convening at the 1992 Conference on the Environment. This Conference should devote particular attention to the accessibility of the man-built environment.
J. New staff positions, at the regional and International levels, in United Nations bodies and agencies concerned with the Decade, should be filled by qualified disabled persons. At the same time, all United Nations bodies and agencies should examine their employment practices and develop an affirmative action plan to employ persons with disabilities, in keeping with the plan to improve the employment opportunities of disabled persons In the United Nations. A report Identifying the number of disabled persons and their status within the organizations should be included in the report of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly each year during the period 1990-1992.
k. The Meeting supports the establishment of the United Nations Children's Fund (UN1CEF) Task Force on Disabled Children, Youth and Women by 1992 to develop a sustainable Implementing mechanism to the year 2000. The Task Force, similar to the one on child survival, could consist of UNCSDHA, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNDP/IMPACT, World Bank, Rehabilitation International; some bilateral agencies such as CIDA, SIDA, USAID; and selected representatives from among organizations of disabled people. These partner organizations should be consulted on the alms of the Task
1. The Meeting supports the proposed IMPACT project to convene, within the next few months, an expert group meeting, with the support and participation of its sponsoring and collaborating agencies, to elaborate a long-term strategy for the prevention of disability.
m. In support of the revision of the International Classification
of Impairment, Disability and Handicap, and acknowledging the need to expand consultations on the revision of the concept of handicap In order to take Into consideration environmental factors, it la recommended that an expert meeting on definitions, composed of representatives of organizations of disabled people should be organized by 1992, on the understanding that a host country would undertake to organize such a meeting.
n. The Meeting strongly recommends that all United Nations bodies and agencies send all publications related to disability to the United Nations Office at Vienna, Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs to co-ordinate the review by appropriate organizations of persons wich disabilities prior to public release. This should be done on an ongoing basis.
o. The Meeting recommends continuation of the production,
dissemination, updating and use of the International Disability Statistics Database (DISTAT) by the United Rations Statistical Office and the submission of a report on this matter to the proposed World Conference on Disability In 1993.
B. ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO MARK THE END OF THE DECADE IN 1992
8. After careful consideration of alternative ways to mark the end of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons, the Meeting strongly recommends that the General Assembly convene a World Conference on Disability at the ministerial level, in 1993, subject to identification of a host country. This Conference would review the status of the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, and develop a long-term strategy to implement It until the year 2000 and beyond.
9. Each of the five United Nations regional commissions should organize a meeting of Governments during the next two years to prepare for the proposed World Conference on Disability in 1993. Governments should Include representatives from organizations of disabled persons In their delegations to these meetings.
10. In order to prepare more effectively for the proposed World Conference on Disability, the Secretary-General Is requested to strengthen the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs and to upgrade the Disabled Persons Unit to an executive secretariat, as was previously don? for the International Year of Disabled Persons In 1981. It is recommended that the Secretary-General for the World Conference on Disability, who should be a disabled person, be appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations at an early date, following the official decision to convene the Conference.
11. The United Nations should recognize the various activities organized by Member States and non-governmental organizations, such as the World Congress of the Disabled Peoples* international, Independence :92, the Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf, the Rehabilitation International World Congress, and the Third General Assembly of the World Blind Union, all taking place during 1992 as alternative ways to mark the end of the Decade. This recognition should Include providing information and sending representatives.
12. Support should be given to the public awareness media campaign known as the Global Project to Promoted the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persona, and it should be recognized as a major way of marking the end of the Decade in 1992.
13. The United nations should produce a major Joint publication which is easily understood by the general public to mark the end of the Decade. This publication would reflect the concerted efforts of the United Nations system in the disability field.
C. OUTLINE OF A LONG-TERM STRATEGY TO IMPLEMENT THE
WORLD PROGRAMME OF ACTION CONCERNING DISABLED
PERSONS TO THE YEAR 2000 AND BEYOND
14. When the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons was proclaimed and the World Programme of Action adopted, the focus for people with a disability was on Issues of citizenship.
15. However, the essential objectives have yet to be realized. There are still many individuals and groups of individuals who are disabled and who lack basic human and civil rights. In view of this, the primary goal of all nations is to establish a society for all by the year 2000; a society in which persons who are disabled are a natural and integral part. For this to be achieved, it must be recognized that obstacles to Independent living and full equality are not based on an individual's functional differences but on an environment that has not been designed to meet the needs of all citizens.
16. From 1992 to the year 2000 and beyond, the suggested priorities are equal participation, access to opportunity and the recognition of the rights of people who are disabled. The international context in which these concerns have been addressed since 1982 has changed and will continue to change in the years ahead. In the past few years advancements in technologies and the delivery of remedial Intervention have been evident. To develop strategies which promote independence and the empowerment of disabled persons, these factors need to be considered. It is also essential that the political, social and economic distinctiveness of each country and each region in the world be recognized. It Is realistic to look toward new partnerships in the Implementation of policies that ensure equalization of opportunities for disabled people. These new partnerships should revolve around the international Issues which affect the greater society such as underdevelopment, human rights, Illiteracy, environmental pollution, armed conflict and malnutrition. It is within these greater issues that the concerns of disabled people can best be articulated and ultimately resolved.
17. The Meeting agrees that certain issues and concepts that exist today are of fundamental importance and, therefore, should be given priority consideration In the formulation of a long-term strategy to the year 2000 and beyond.
18. These priority concepts are:
a. that disabled persons and their representative organizations
with their philosophy of self-advocacy, self determination
independent living and equalization of opportunities must serve aa
the core resource in the development and Implementation of policies
and programmes at all levels on issues of concern to people who are
b. that the full rights of people who are disabled must be clearly
outlined to serve as a global ideal which all nations must strive to
realize by the year 2000;
c. that action at the national level by all Member States, aimed
at achieving equalization of opportunities for people who are
disabled, is urgent and essential. Policies to achieve this should
reflect the particular needs and aspirations of people who are
d. that the structure and functioning of United Nations bodies and
agencies must be expanded and strengthened in order for them to
carry out their mandates to assist Member States in achieving the
goals as outlined in the World Programme of Action and elaborated
upon by the Global Meeting of Experts at the mid-point of the decade
in Stockholm, 1987 and at the Meeting of Experts on Human Resources
in the Field of Disability in Tallinn 1989;
e. that the prevention of the causes of disability must be
promoted within the context of human rights.
19. The experts agree that the strategy to achieve the long-term
prospects for disabled persons will be best served by the establishment
of permanent structures and mechanisms, in collaboration with
organizations of people who are disabled, to continuously advance and
promote the rights of persons who are disabled. To this end, the experts
recommend that the following proposals be implemented.
1. The role of people who have a disability
20. Organizations of disabled persons must be utilized at all levels as a vast resource of expertise and, as such, must be consulted in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes that affect their lives.
21. All developmental and financial institutions must develop and Implement policies and programmes which address the needs and concerns of people who are disabled, and all financial granting bodies should Identify funding sources for specific programmes which Implement the World Programme of Action.
22. Organizations of disabled persons at the national, regional and international levels Must be promoted and supported through the provision of sufficient funds and other resources by governments, appropriate United Nations bodies and agencies and international, regional and national financial institutions.
2. Promoting the rights of people who are disabled
23. The initiative of the Government of Sweden, proposing that the Commission for Social Development consider the establishment of an open-ended working group to elaborate a document containing international standard rules regarding the equalization of opportunities of disabled persons, should be supported. The Swedish Government should also be requested by the most appropriate mechanism to make those amendments to its proposal which would ensure consultation and participation of organizations of disabled persons and all other relevant agencies, in the United Rations and outside. It is further requested that periodic reports on this work be submitted to the General Assembly and all Member States.
24. A global conference to draw up a convention on the rights of disabled people, to be supported by legislation at the national level, should be organized in collaboration with organizations of people who are disabled and held not later than the year 2000.
25. Member States should be requested to Implement and enforce existing declarations on the rights of disabled people, in collaboration with organizations of people who are disabled, by all appropriate and necessary means.
26. United Nations regional commissions should be encouraged to hold regional conferences In collaboration with people who are disabled, with a view to preparing regional conventions and other binding agreements which address the rights of people who are disabled. An excellent example of a regional initiative is the Council of Europe's Conference of Ministers Responsible for Disabled Persons, to be held in 1991, on the theme of "Independent Living". Other regions are urged to organize similar meetings on this topic.
27. Member States should be encouraged to implement all existing United Nations resolutions on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against disabled persons and to promote further resolutions in collaboration with organizations of people who are disabled, to ensure the elimination of all forms of discrimination against disabled people.
23. Member States should be encouraged to Implement and enforce all existing legislation In favour of disabled people. Where there are internationally binding legal instruments which could be amended so as to include articles protecting the rights of the disabled people, the General Assembly should support efforts to amend them.
29. Member States should enact legislation and adopt policies which
promote the gainful employment of disabled persons by eliminating
disincentives to work and by implementing the recommendations on
employment found In the Tallinn Guidelines for Action on Human Resources
Development in the Field of Disability.
3. Action at the national level
30. Member States should emphasize the implementation of article 195 of
the World Programme of Action regarding the periodic review of progress
achieved in the implementation of the World Programme of Action.
31. Rational ministries should regard the Issues of disability as an integral part of their programmes. Related policies and programmes must be developed in consultation with people who are disabled and oust be effectively and functionally co-ordinated.
32. Member States, in co-operation with organizations of people who have a disability, should develop legislation and implement national plans for independent living as well as community integrated programmes which promote the empowerment and self-determination of people with a disability. Such policies must include the establishment of comprehensive support services and systems, Independent living skills and training, and should encourage alternatives to Institutional approaches.
33. Member States, in co-operation with organizations of persons who are disabled, should adopt She recommendations on accessibility as specified in the Tallinn Guidelines for Action on Human Resources Development in the Field of Disability. Member States should establish information and referral centers for the exchange and dissemination of information relevant to the programmes of national and local organizations of people who are disabled, other non-governmental organizations and governmental organizations. Topics should Include inventories of resources, legislation, disability statistics, national committees and model projects.
34. Member States should pursue such financial policies, fiscal policies and excise tax and import duty policies as necessary to ensure that assistive devices can be obtained by disabled persons at minimal cost. In particular, Member States are urged to accede to the Nairobi Protocol of the Florence Agreement of UNESCO.
35. Member States should recognize that persons who are disabled have the sane rights as all other citizens to live productive lives with their families and in the community by adopting policies providing supportive services, such as personal assistance for persons who have extensive and multiple disabilities, and by promoting non-institutional approaches to dally living.
36. Member States should support and promote social services for people who are disabled, within a co-ordinated and comprehensive system.
37. At the close of the Decade, it is imperative that Member States recognize that certain groups of people who have a disability have been oppressed and continue to be discriminated against, in particular, deaf people, people with multiple disabilities, people who are mentally disabled, disabled women, people who are deaf-blind and disabled children. Priority must be given to the adoption of legislation and the Implementation of programmes which clearly identify priorities, targets and deadlines as well as effective monitoring and review procedures. The guiding principles must be self-determination and equalization of opportunities for disabled people.
38. Member States should establish national co-ordinating committees which report directly to the highest government authorities on Issues of concern to disabled people, In addition to advising on policy and programmes for people who are disabled. The membership of such committees
must constant of qualified members appointed upon the recommendation of organizations of people who are disabled.
39. Member States should adopt legislation and implement programmes
which facilitate the integration of people who are disabled into the
community and ensure equalization of opportunities for them.
4. Strengthening the United Nations system
40. Member States should continue to acknowledge and support the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs as the focal point for the Implementation of the World Programme of Action and should upgrade the status of its Disabled Persons Unit for this purpose.
41. At the international, regional and national levels, technical co-operation activities should be strengthened through the offices of the United Nations system in developing nations and countries with special needs, in co-operation with organizations of disabled people. Such programmes should Include the areas of: training in the manufacture of technical devices, sign language and disability statistics. In this regard, manufacturing companies should be encouraged to ensure that the needs of disabled persons, such as wheelchairs, artificial limbs and other orthopaedic and prosthetic appliances, hearing devices and equipment for the blind, are considered In the development and manufacture of equipment and appliances for the general public.
42. The United Nations should set up a system-wide action plan to promote and co-ordinate the policies and programmes to be implemented in their efforts to address the needs and concerns of people who are disabled. This action plan should be monitored through the inter-agency mechanism on disability, which has the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs as its focal point.
43. Developmental and financial institutions should adopt appropriate policies which would provide favourable terms to programmes and activities which address the needs and concerns of people who are disabled. In addition, international and regional financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, regional development banks, and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities should allocate funds for projects dedicated to the implementation of the World Programme of Action.
44. Member States should agree that all international aid programmes contain a component which addresses disability issues.
45. Member States should augment the resources of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs so that the human resources and services of the Disabled Persons Unit can be expanded. Such expansion, in collaboration with organizations of people who are disabled, would Include a team of experts with, as its mandate, the authority to call upon other experts as needed.
46. The Disabled Persons Unit should be given the mandate and resources to establish and administer an international information database network system which has access to the information available at national information centers. In this regard, referrals would be made to resources
such as organizations of disabled persons. An important role in this respect should continue to be played by the United Nations Statistical Office and the International Disability Statistics Database (DISTAT).
47. The Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, through its Disabled Persons Unit, should develop an efficient and effective communication network with the United Nations bodies and agencies that implement programmes that address the issues and concerns of people who are disabled. It should also Initiate and co-ordinate information exchange between appropriate bodies.
48. The United Nations should work with organizations of disabled persons, such as the World Federation of the Deaf, to formulate policies and identify programmes which address the needs of disabled persons, such as those who are deaf. The focus of these programmes should be the equalization of opportunities for disabled persons.
S. Preventing the causes of disability
49. The United Nations and Member States should recognize that modern life styles have Increased the incidence of disability. Such life styles include the danger of drug and alcohol addiction, AIDS, environmental factors and pollution, traffic, domestic and occupational accidents, and new forms of violence such as atomic and chemical warfare.
50. The Meeting recognizes that secondary positive medical intervention is also Important in preventing disabling conditions and that recent advances in medicine have simplified and Increased the effectiveness of preventing disabling conditions. It is, therefore, recommended that due regard be paid to developing these simple and cost-effective techniques, especially where applicable in isolated and rural areas; and that all such programmes promote the concept of independent living.
51. Member States should adopt policies and programmes which by the year 2000 could reduce by half the prevalence of avoidable disability by all available means, such as those articulated In the documents developed by WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and IMPACT and by resorting to United Nations mechanisms for the prevention and peaceful settlement of armed conflicts within the framework of Chapter VI and VII of the United Nations Charter.
II. SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS
52. Agenda Item 3 entitled "Agenda for action from 1990 to 1992:
suggested priorities" was Introduced by the representative of the
Secretariat. The objective of this discussion would be to provide higher visibility to the Decade, to promote more action and to build greater awareness of disability Issues during the remaining years. This agenda for action would Include, for example, the second review and appraisal exercise of the implementation of the World Programme of Action, called for every five years, that would co-lncide with the end of the Decade in 1992. A second Important issue dealt with the emerging need for an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach through the establishment and/or strengthening of national co-ordinating committees. A third important issue dealt with the establishment and strengthening of organizations of disabled persons. Other issues Included a review of national legislation with a view to developing comprehensive legislation concerning people
with disabilities; preparation or a manual to promote the inclusion of disability Issues in all national development planning; the possible revision of the World Programme of Action, especially the concept and definitions of impairment, disability and handicap; and the development of an Information database network In the field of disability. The agenda for action was considered a more comprehensive task than just listing a few proposals. The philosophy behind it and the feasibility of Implementing the numerous ideas were of paramount Importance in this process.
53. The Consultant then introduced his background paper which he said was divided Into three sections: action to be proposed to the United nations General Assembly, to Member States and to non-governmental organizations In the period 1990 to 1992; alternative ways to mark the end of the Decade; and an outline of a long-term strategy to be implemented following the Decade. He enumerated the 12 main recommendations included In the first section of the paper, reflecting proposed action at the International and national levels.
54. The proposals contained In the paper were generally approved by the speakers. Regarding the recommendation to reissue the World Programme of Action In leaflet form, participants supported the preparation of a simplified version of this document. It was said that such a document should emphasize the role of persons with disability as its central theme.
55. Several speakers supported the recommendation that information on examples of good practices in projects and services should be prepared and shared among Member States, non-governmental organizations and concerned persons. Experts emphasized that such examples of good practices should be examined by the consumers. It was then asked what guidelines the United nations would use to Identify successful projects and it was requested that a list of such projects be provided. It was considered necessary to promote the preparation of resource kits on independent living.
56. The recommendation to use public awareness campaigns through mass media to promote a positive Image of disabled persons received various comments. Reference was made to the proposed global project to promote the Decade, which has received a pledge from the Malaysian Sports Aid Committee to launch the project. Other Issues raised In relation to a public awareness campaign Included a proposed awareness week culminating in an international day of disabled persons or the designation of a special national day. One expert related that the national access awareness week In her country had been controversial because of the promotional costs and the resources available. It was also suggested that it would be wise to promote relevant public service announcements several times a day over local and national broadcasting systems.
57. The importance of the recommendation to strengthen the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons was emphasized. A speaker proposed that a committee of disabled persons should have an advisory role In the use of the Voluntary Fund. It was also felt that the Disabled Persona Unit at the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Office at Vienna should be upgraded to an executive secretariat, in order to, among others, help strengthen the Voluntary Fund. An advisory committee for the Voluntary Fund could then be attached to the secretariat.
58. Regarding the recommendation to review national plans and legislation, it was felt that disabled persons should be directly involved. Several participants referred to the need for a legally binding international instrument, such as a convention on the rights of disabled persons and equalization of opportunities for them.
59. With reference to the successful role of national co-ordinating committees during the International Year of Disabled Persons, the recommendation to strengthen national co-ordinating committees in view of the diminishing number of such committees since IYDP was strongly supported.
60. Many speakers supported the recommendation to promote organizations of disabled persons. It was stressed that such organizations should be the product of the wishes of disabled persons themselves and not of governments. Meaningful consultation with organizations of disabled persons was seen to be a relationship between equal partners so that disabled persons had an active role in the decision-taking process. It was felt that the promotion of organizations of disabled persons and the right of disabled people to speak for themselves should be a priority issue and that this should be promoted by the United Nations. Several speakers saw the present consultation process as inadequate, with a credibility gap between what was said and what was done. The representative of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) referred to regional action to strengthen organizations of disabled persons at the grassroots level. He also called the attention of the Meeting to the existence of the ESCAP Inter-agency Task Force on Disability Issues, which had the active participation of leading non-governmental organizations in the region. To strengthen regional activities regarding disability issues In the presence of resource constraints, he proposed that the Meeting might recommend the secondment or internship of personnel by governmental or non-governmental organizations to the regional commissions.
61. Regarding the recommendation to examine the provision of support services and materials, the representative of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) emphasized the Importance of regional co-operation to widen the market for appropriate technologies and equipment for use by disabled persons in order to lower costs and Increase the size of the market for such items.
62. The recommendations to have Member States ratify ILO Convention 159, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child received wide support. One expert said that the ILO Convention was not followed in ratifying countries, particularly regarding disabled persons, and that ILO should work more closely with concerned non-governmental organizations to make people aware of what deafness and blindness mean. Speakers often referred to the specific problems that people who are deaf or mentally disabled have in training and employment. It was strongly felt that the situation of disabled women needed particular attention.
63. Other comments referred to: at-risk children born to mothers who were addicted to alcohol and drugs or who were HIV positive; drugs and mental disabilities; the difficulties which associations concerned with
mentally disabled persons have In being recognized and accepted; the need for Information programmes In Africa from now to the end of the Decade to Inform people of what was happening, the obstacles being encountered and what could be done; the problems of disabled youth and the importance of their active involvement In national disability organizations; the need for one United Nations organization rather than different bodies and agencies to deal with all aspects of disability; the importance of Independent living; human rights with regard to disabled children and persons affected by armed conflict; the advantage of tapping into available United Nations system databases on disability-related issues; the need for translations of the World Programme of Action into national languages; the necessity to complete recent ongoing work on the definitions and international classification of impairment, disability and handicap; the need for national employment policy and monitoring systems; and the special needs of deaf people.
64. It was felt that the agenda for action must Include a special component directly benefitting disability Issues, such as the establishment of a comprehensive database system on disability. It was suggested that the agenda for action should also include a response to the question of what could be done in Africa by 1992.
65. The Meeting then discussed agenda item 4 entitled "Alternative ways to mark the end of the Decade in 1992". In his introduction of this item, the representative of the Secretariat. Informed the Meeting of the contacts made by the Secretary-General to obtain input on this subject from Member States, United Nations bodies and agencies, and concerned non-governmental organizations as well as the experts who had participated in the global mid-term review. He drew attention to the position expressed by United Nations agencies that the end of the Decade should provide a strong and optimistic transition to the period beyond, so as to ensure the planning and implementation of strategies into the 21st century, and an effective shift of emphasis from awareness to action.
66. The contacts of the Secretary-General had resulted in various proposals, lnter_alla:
a) preparation of a United Nations system-wide publication containing examples of success stories and good practices during the Decade;
b) visits by experts to different countries to discuss problems and ways to overcome them;
c) organization of activities at different levels, from grass-roots to global action", including regional meetings;
d) designation of an end-Decade conference of two or three days during the forty-seventh session of the General Assembly In 1992;
e) organization of special events at the national level focusing on Independent living; and
f) a proclamation by the General Assembly in 1992 of a programme called "Disability 2000" and the convening of a ministerial level conference.
67. Reference was made to the recommendations In section two of the
background paper. Regarding the recommendation to promulgate a second
Decade (1993-2002), the idea was supported by few participants as long *a
another Decade would have outlined strategies of action to fulfill the aspirations of disabled persons. The possible extension of the Decade for another five years was also mentioned. Some experts considered that the proclamation of a second Decade might not be useful. It was alternatively preferred that the Disabled Persons Unit of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs should be upgraded to an executive secretariat, having a stronger monitoring and co-ordinating capacity.
68. The recommendation for a world conference to mark the end of the Decade was supported by many speakers. It was suggested that It should be a global conference at the ministerial level in 1992 or 1993. Another expert considered it unfeasible to designate a special session of the General Assembly for a few days as an end-Decade conference. However, he strongly supported a United Nations two-week global meeting on disability at the ministerial level, similar to the global environment conference, held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972. It was emphasized that a host government would have to be identified for such an end-Decade conference.
69. The representative of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) suggested that a series of regional preparatory meetings be organized to discuss relevant technical Issues. The outcome of ouch meetings could be a valuable input to the proposed global conference. Another speaker focused on the African situation, pointing out that Africa suffered from huge national problems as a result of poverty, wars, droughts and underdevelopment. He suggested action for short-term regional development, such as public awareness campaigns. He informed the Meeting that Rehabilitation International would organize its next World Congress in Nairobi, Kenya in 1992, and that It would focus on the situation of disabled persons in Africa. He also supported the proposal of a series of regional meetings.
70. Other issues raised by the participants Included the suggested compilation of the activities and contributions of United Nations bodies and agencies and non-governmental organizations during the Decade. This document would also state clearly their planned activities beyond the Decade. It was further suggested that concerned ministers be involved and participate in national-level conferences on disability. Another suggestion was that the language of United Nations reports on disability should be clear and simple to reflect the special characteristics and needs of each country or region.
71. It was underlined that the success of the Decade depended on having a strong network of national organizations. It was proposed that, through the United Nations Office at Vienna, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) should be invited to have UNDP Resident Representatives, in collaboration with Governments, set up a one-day seminar on the establishment and/or strengthening of national committees, to which organizations of disabled people would be Invited. Such seminars could Involve representatives of International non-governmental organizations and national professional organizations concerned with rehabilitation. A list of possible attendees could be supplied to UNDP. The purpose of the seminars would be to set up national committees with immediate effect or to strengthen existing ones so that they might collaborate in the agreed ways to mark the end of the Decade, including the formulation of a national plan of action. There was strong support for the convening of such seminars. An expert said that it would
be Ideal to set up an executive mechanism similar to that of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or a United Nations task force on disability, such as that on child survival. In this way it would be possible for United Nations bodies and agencies to formulate agenda for action within their respective mandates. Another participant proposal that there should be an annual evaluation of national activities and the progress achieved. There was strong support for the Voluntary Fund and the strengthening of the Disabled Persons Unit.
72. It was suggested that a United Nations questionnaire be prepared and circulated to all Member States and non-governmental organizations, requesting information on their activities in the implementation of the World Programme of Action, The importance of preventive measures, especially in developing countries, and the problem of limited numbers of qualified personnel in the disability field vis-a-vis the increasing incidence of disability were also underlined. The need for United Nations assistance regarding ways to improve services in the Third World was stressed. The convening of a conference to draft a convention on the rights of disabled persons, in which not only policy makers but also disabled experts would participate was also suggested. Such an international legal Instrument was seen as one means of ensuring the provision of orthopedic services in developing countries.
73. The representative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) supported a system-wide publication on the Decade and expressed ECLAC's readiness to print and distribute the Spanish version, as a way of promoting public awareness in the Spanish-speaking countries. Regarding the recommendation that a visiting team of experts be Invited to countries, it was stressed that it would be Important if such experts were persons who were disabled themselves. The need for the training of leaders of deaf persons in sign language was emphasized, and the Meeting was informed that according to a survey carried out in developing countries by the World Federation of the Deaf, only one percent of the people who were deaf had access to education and employment. It was strongly recommended that United Nations bodies and agencies should consult with deaf people on issues which directly affected them.
74. There was support for the establishment of a United Nations task force on disability but it was recommended that It should deal with disabled children and women, and that it should not be considered as a way to mark the end of the Decade but as a means of establishing a sustainable implementing mechanism to the year 2000. A task force of this sort could strengthen co-operation between the United Nations system and bilateral agencies.
75. It was emphasized that the Global Project to Promote the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons was an important event of the Decade. The three main aims of the Project included: to Initiate an international Information and publicity campaign; to launch a campaign of commercial sponsorship and public fund raising; and to provide a springboard for action to the year 2000 and beyond.
76. It was proposed that two awards be created, one in recognition of dedicated efforts in the disability field and the other for dedicated efforts on behalf of disabled women; that cultural events and sports
competitions be organized by the United Nations; and that the United Nations compile national disability legislation.
77. The representative of United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) informed the Meeting that the Department was prepared to reissue the World Programme of Action in a leaflet form. This would Include translation of the leaflet Into the six official languages of the United Nations. He welcomed the proposal for a special publication on examples of good practice during the Decade. He also assured the Meeting that DPI would make every effort to assist In promoting public awareness through all Its available means, and to consult with organizations of disabled persons organization in these activities.
78. Several speakers regretted the absence of representatives of some key United Nations agencies, Including the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Educational, Scientic and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) at the Meeting. Regarding the financial resources for Decade activities, it was recommended that a comprehensive document be prepared for the General Assembly that would include Information on all funding being used for disability programmes and projects in the United Nations system, including the Voluntary Fund.
79. The representative from the United Nations Centre for Human Rights proposed consideration of recommendations to reiterate the need for:
a) principles and guarantees to protect persons with mental disorders, to be taken up in the deliberations of the Commission on Human Rights;
b) measures to be taken by concerned United Nations bodies and agencies to ensure the prompt and regular evacuation of the war wounded or persons disabled in armed conflicts; and
c) preventive measures by governments to forbid female circumcision, including by legislation, support to the activities of non-governmental organizations aimed at eliminating this practice. He welcomed the proposal for a system-wide publication on the Decade and indicated the Centre's willingness to consider a financial contribution to this project.
80. The representative of the United Nations Statistical Office supported the Idea of an international Information database system with the Centre of Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs as its focal point. She noted the urgency to continue the production, dissemination, updating and use of the International Disability Statistics Database (DISTAT) as a main component of this information system. In referring to the recommendation in the background document to develop a core set of indicators for monitoring the World Programme of Action, she stated the willingness of the Statistical Office to participate In such an exercise. Other speakers supported the further development of DISTAT for this purpose.
81. The representative of the World Health Organization European Regional Office (WH0/EUS0) informed the Meeting of its activities in the biennis 1990-1991 and 1992-1993 in the areas of community-based rehabilitation in industrialized countries; creation of barrier-free environments, including a seminar in 1991; adaptation of the
International Classification of Impairment, Disability and Handicap; preparation of six instructional packages for the community-based rehabilitation of elderly persons; preparation of "A to Z on Aging", to be available in September 1990; and the distribution of a report on maximizing the functional potential of hospitalized elderly patients prior to discharge. Two other activities planned until the year 2000 were the preparation of the publication "Creating better opportunities for disabled people", Including equalization of opportunities, barrier-free environments and independent living; and the development of indicators for monitoring progress in reaching the target of "better opportunities for disabled people" by the year 2000.
82. During the discussion on this agenda item, the Meeting was addressed by Michel Gillibert, Minister Responsible for Disabled Persons in France. The results of the Decade had been rather disappointing, he stated. In order to be effective, he said, the remainder of the Decade had to be approached through a firm and clear Analysis. He doubted, for Instance. that the proposal to have an international convention on equal opportunities for disabled persons was, at this stage, appropriate. He believed instead in comprehensive disability policies to deal with all aspects of a disabled person's dally life that would encompass in a co-ordinated, coherent way all the measures necessary to ensure everything from the prevention of impairment to education, training, vocational Integration and accessibility, as well as cultural, leisure and sport activities. This would ensure the full integration of a disabled person into society as a full citizen.
83. He then proposed the Introduction of a new concept and a new terminology in the field of disability, including the replacement of the term handicap in French with "acquired accidental disability" so as to underline the haphazard dimension of a disability resulting from an accident or a disease, or happening at birth. He proposed a strategy based on a step by step approach, whereby only a few priorities at a time would be drawn from the World Programme of Action for urgent action. Because many countries had interesting and successful experiences from which lessons could be drawn, he proposed that all interested countries be Invited to participate in an exchange of Information before the end of the Decade and to report on efforts aimed at setting up comprehensive national rehabilitation policies or efforts in the achievement of some of the main objectives of the World Programme. He announced that France had taken the Initiative to convene in Paris, in the autumn of 1991, the Council of Europe's First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Disabled People, on the theme "Independent Living".
84. Also addressing the Meeting was Bengt Lindgvlst, Minister for Family Affairs and Matters concerning the Disabled and Elderly in Sweden. He Informed the participants of the decision by the Swedish Government to re-open the question of an international legal instrument on the equalization of opportunities for disabled persons. He stated that the Government had fully recognized the equal rights and obligations of disabled citizens, and that social, cultural and economic barriers had to he ELIMINATED and national policies developed. Although the original proposal had been for a convention on the rights of disabled persons, preliminary consultations had shown that this proposal was not supported by a majority of countries. On the other hand, nearly all countries that had been approached had expressed the willingness to set up some kind of international legal Instrument in the disability field,
85. A draft resolution on this subject, he stated, was being submitted to the Economic and Social Council at its first regular session in 1990, in New York this month. The resolution urged ECOSOC to request the Commission for Social Development to establish an open-ended working group to draft the text of international standard rules on the equalization of opportunities regarding disabled persons. The outcome of its work would be reported to the forty-seventh session of the General Assembly in 1992. The Swedish Government, he said, was willing to make financial contributions to this project, along with other countries. In response to questions from the participants, he noted the importance of the participation of non-governmental organizations in this process.
86. Agenda item 5 entitled "Outline of a long-term strategy to implement to World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons until the year 2000 and beyond" was introduced by the representative of the Secretariat. A long-term strategy would be needed to initiate and enforce those processes in communities that would direct development towards the master goal of full integration and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities. A long-term strategy should, firstly, strengthen the successful and promising developments initiated during the Decade he said. The objectives of the World Programme of Action should be translated into concrete targets, to be reached within a specified timeframe, that would lend themselves to being monitored. In order to reach such targets, it was considered vital to analyze the weaknesses of past and current approaches and to make a realistic forecast of probable future trends, including both expected obstacles to be overcome and the opportunities to be used. The major challenge, he said, would be to transform the positive awareness created during the Decade into action towards a society for all, that would enable and empower persons with disabilities as well as other members of society to meet their full potential.
37. The representative of the Canadian Society for the International Classification of Impairment, Disability and Handicap (ICIDH) said that an initiative to revise the ICIDH was underway in Canada. He emphasized that better definitions meant a better understanding for action. It was important to recognize the part played by ecological factors in creating barriers to social Integration and to the exercise of human rights by persons with physical or mental differences. The use of an integrated terminology would have an influence on programme planning, the promotion of rights, information systems and the evaluation of the actual changes being made in each country. Additionally, he said, it would be an essential link in communication between various agents and agencies. A special conference on the revision of the definitions was being proposed for 1992 as one way of marking the end of the Decade.
88. It was emphasized by a number of speakers that the World Programme of Action reaffirmed the rights of disabled people as stated in human rights instruments of the United Nations. While the World Programme of Action provided the basic guidelines, there was a need to reinterpret it In the light of recent developments, especially technological change, advances in preventive medicine and changes in the ideological climate, A new and broader understanding of disability was needed to replace the group-specific approach. Therefore, disability Issues would also have to be considered in connection with related issues, such as aging.
89. While persons with disabilities should automatically enjoy human rights, it should be understood that such rights included the right of a person not to become disabled when there were means available to prevent and cure disabilities. As a concrete target which had become feasible due to changes in technologies regarding disability prevention, it was suggested that there should be a greater reduction in the incidence of avoidable disabilities both in developing and developed countries.
90. The representative of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) confirmed that some three million children under five years of age became seriously disabled each year from diseases that were preventable by immunization; that about 500,000 children lost their sight every year because of vitamin A deficiency; and that millions of children were becoming disabled due to birth defects, accidents, war and malnutrition. UNICEF had produced a set of concrete goals concerning child survival, development and protection, to be reached by the year 2000.
91. It was also stated that other targets for set periods should be defined in order to design feasible action plans. A suggestion was made that such targets could be expressed as minimum standards. This approach was criticized for several reasons. Firstly, it was suspected that minimum standards on aspects concerning quality of life might be impossible to define due to the differences of life styles, cultures and developmental stages of countries. On the other hand, setting minimum standards that were too low might mean that they could be met too easily. The situation in various parts of the world and among different population groups was considered so heterogeneous that it might be better to define goals at the regional or sub regional levels, and ultimately within the framework of a national plan of action.
92. It was suggested that the United Nations should urge Member States to prepare long-term, step-by-step national plans in the field of disability, based on the objectives of the World Programme of Action but adapted to local conditions. Additionally, disability issues would also have to be linked with programmes in other fields which tended to have higher priority, such as literacy, poverty, environment and refugees. For national plans to be formulated, it was considered vital that disability issues should be raised to the political level and taken up in political debates. This could be done, for example, by Involving Parliament members. It was recognized that the formulation of national action plans was ultimately the responsibility of Governments.
93. While reaffirming the Importance of the World Programme of Action, the participants also suggested that the emerging Interpretations of Issues such as a "good life" and "equality" should be reflected In long-term plans. These interpretations stemmed from the concept of Independent or self-reliant living and the idea of empowerment. These new ideas needed further consideration and adaptation due to different Jiving conditions and cultures.
94. The representative of the Council of Europe gave an overview of the main objectives to be pursued by the Council in the years to come within the conceptual framework of the World Programme of Action. She explained that as a way to mark the end of the Decade, a Conference of Ministers Responsible for Disabled Persons would be convened in Paris in the autumn 1991, at the invitation of the French authorities, on the theme
"Independent Living". The 23 member states of the Council of Europe, as well as Canada, Hungary, Monaco, Poland, Yugoslavia, and the Holy See would attend the Conference with representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations. The three major expectations of the Conference would be: a) the adoption of a European policy on Independent living; b) the launching of a plan of action on independent living for the 1990s; and c) the elaboration of an additional protocol to the European Social Charter, a legally binding instrument for the protection of the social rights of the individual, endowed with a monitoring mechanism, so as to include a new set of rights in accordance with the existing European policy on independent living.
95. Regarding the International level, it was suggested that each United Nations body or agency should set an agenda of action within its respective mandate with specific targets to the year 2000. Targets mentioned included: IMPACT - preventable disabilities; UNICEF - childhood disability; FAO - malnutrition and disability; and 1L0 - employment of disabled persons. It was further suggested that each agency or organization should consider defining one to three priorities. The priorities mentioned included: children, because they constitute an Investment In the future; disabled women, because of their double disadvantage in their societies and their role as mothers and carers; and deaf persons, because of the serious lack of attention to their problems during the Decade.
96. Additionally, it was felt that special attention should be given in International programmes to the least developed countries that suffer from severe crises in the economic and social sectors due to the heavy debt burden, economic restructuring programmes, ecological factors and population growth.
97. It was suggested that, In order to realize a long-term action plan, it was necessary to establish structures which were able to carry on work on a sustainable basis. Such structures could include: a) upgrading the Disabled Persons Unit to an executive secretariat, and augmenting Its staff with qualified disabled persons; b) attaching a core of specialized experts to the Unit, who were trained in fields such as accessibility, prevention and legislation; c) establishing an executive mechanism according to the model of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and d) having national co-ordinating committees play a major role in the planning and implementation of strategies.
98. It was emphasized that non-governmental organizations, especially those of disabled people, should be viewed as an Instrument that could be used to make known the true needs of disabled persons, and to provide relevant expertise for the planning and impletsntatlon of related programmes and projects. It was stated that in order to recognize the value of organizations of disabled people as Instruments of change because of their expertise and devotion, continuous adequate funding should be guaranteed as a part of the national disability policy. Such funding, however, should not be controlled by outside organizations, including the government.
99. It was further suggested that international organizations of disabled people could also play a more important role in the field of development co-operation, provided that donor governments would channel
some funding through them to assist their affiliated organizations in developing countries In the implementation of local projects. Funding of non-governmental organizations, It was suggested, could also be guaranteed by increasing the membership fees of affiliated organizations In developed countries according to the model of progressive taxation found in welfare states.
100. It was strongly recommended that organizations of disabled people should have more Influence at both the national and International levels, and that they should be accepted as equal and active partners in the planning and implementation of policies, programmes and projects that affect the lives of their members. It was felt that this should also apply to the planning of international strategies beyond the year 1992. Because social objectives could not be achieved through the activities of the public and private sectors alone or only through those of non-governmental organizations, It was strongly recommended that the economic sectors, both public and private should be mobilized to co-operate In the pursuit of the well-being of disabled persons. This could be done through the provision of employment opportunities that allowed self-reliance and the full use of disabled people's potentials.
101. It was agreed that special attention should be given to the situation of deaf persons. They should have the right to their own language, to family life, to have children and to whatever is provided to other citizens.
III. ORGANIZATION AND OTHER ASPECTS OF THE MEETING
102. The Meeting of Experts on Alternative Ways to Mark the End of the
United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons was convened at Jarvanpaa,
Finland, from 7 to 1! May 1990.
A. OPENING OF THE MEETING
103. The Meeting was opened by the Director of the Social Development Division, Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Office at Vienna. In his opening statement, he enumerated common views regarding the achievements and shortcomings of the Decade so far. He traced the continuity of efforts in the field of disability back to the success attained in the observance of the 1981 International Year of Disabled Persons. Sustaining the momentum of the Year Into the Decade had been difficult and by the mid-Decade review in 1987, six major obstacles to Implementing to World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons had been Identified by the meeting of experts, convened by the United Nations In Stockholm. However, it had to be acknowledged that the Decade had been proclaimed as a long-term plan of action, on the understanding that no additional resources would be needed for this purpose from the United Nations system. Therefore, the United Nations had been given the impossible task of reconciling the high expectations of many additional activities and projects with a lack of additional resources. Despite this, there had been definite achievements.
104. The new approach to disability issues in the past ten years could be described as a revolutionary evolution, he said. The World Programme of Action had served as the basic philosophy to conceptualize the role of human beings as purpose-oriented agents. It had challenged the outdated
passive and incapacitating approaches. He then outlined the preconditions for progress between now and the end of the Decade and the purpose of the Meeting's discussion items in planning short-term and longer-term strategies. Any future strategy, he said, would have to respond to a number of challenges including, for example, the increasing number of people with functional limitations, the consequences of AIDS, the aging of populations, and laissez-faire attitudes which were bound to affect social policies and programmes in the field of disability.
105. In her address at the opening session, Minister Tuulikkl Hamalalnen of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said that Finland considered the Decade with related measures to be very important and necessary. She emphasized the significance of the World Programme of Action in improving the situation of disabled persons. However, despite the attention which had been focused on disabled persons during the Decade, there appeared to be no major change in many cases.
106. She referred to the need to strengthen organizations of disabled persons at the national and international levels as an important starting point. In an effort to strengthen such international organizations, there had to be joint methods developed, and Member States could also support them directly. In this respect Finland had decided, in principle, to give its support to Disabled Peoples' International in the Implementation of its development programme during the next three years. As the end of the Decade approached, she said, the development of the area of equalization of opportunities would be a priority. She termed the role of the United Nations as Important in many ways, including its efforts to improve the living conditions of disabled persons.
107. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Promotion of the Decade referred to the global community of people with disabilities as very diverse in cultural and environmental backgrounds, in its needs and priorities, and in its state of development regarding Integration and participation within its respective societies. In those countries where progress was more noticeable, he said there were usually active organizations of disabled persons. This had shown that although it was Governments that had the ultimate responsibility for creating an Integrated environment to benefit its disabled population, it was through the advocacy, advice and assistance of the community of disabled persons that action was usually undertaken.
108. The Meeting was attended by the following. experts, participating in
their individual capacities:
Mahua Paul (Bangladesh), Joan Westland (Canada), Ondoua Abah Gabriel (Cameroon), Jing Liu (China), Pierre Daverat (France), Kalle Konkkola (Finland), Eita Yashiro (Japan), Dominic Ouma Majiw (Kenya), Munira Al-Gatami (Kuweit), Jtousa Cnasafeddine (Lebanon), Santanina I. Hasul (Philippines), Aleksander Hulek (Poland), Francisco Javier Die Lamana (Spain), Ephralm Magagula (Swaziland), Emanuel Hoseln (Trinidad and Tobago';, Enrique Elissalde (Uruguay), Sir John Wilson (United Kingdom), Sandra S. Parrino (United States of America), Ilya Zaslavski (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and Felix Silwimba (Zambia).
109. Observers from the following organizations also attended: (a) United Nations Secretariat Units: United Nations Statistical Office of the Department, of International Economic and Social Affairs (DIESA), Department of Public Information (DPI), Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA); (b) United Nations bodies and agencies: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Rations Development Programme and IMPACT (UNDP/IMPACT), United Nations Centre for Human Rights (UNCHR), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization/Regional Office for Europe (WHO/EURO); (c) intergovernmental organizations: Council of Europe; and (d) non-governmental organizations: Association of the Hard of Hearing (Finland), Disabled Peoples' International, Federation of Persons with Disabilities In Japan, Finnish Association of the Deaf, Finnish Association of Disabled Persons, Finnish Central Association of the Handicapped, Independent Living Movement, International Council on Disability, International League of Societies for Persons with Mental Handicaps, National Association of the Disabled (Finland), Rehabilitation International, World Blind Union, World Federation of the Deaf and World Veterans Federation; (d) others: British Broadcasting Corporation, Gallaudet University, Japan Council for the International Year of Disabled Persons, and the National Council on Disability (USA); and the Government of Finland: Marja-Liisa Kauppinen, Matti Marjanen, Esa Markkanen, Tuija Partonen and Merja Pylkkanen.
110. Other participants Included (a) resource persons: Patrick Fougeyrollas (Canada), Liisa Kauppinen (Finland) and Marie-Jose Schmitt (France); (b) consultant: Peter Mittler (United Kingdom); (c) special guests: Norman Acton, Yerker Anderson (representing King Jordan, President of Gallaudet University), Michel Gillibert, Rachel Hurst, T. Lambert, Bengt Lindqvist, John W. McDonald, Otto Regenapurger and Ann-Marit Saeboenes; and (d) individual observers: Aurelio Fernandez, Rafael Mondaca, Vadim v. Menshikov and Marie-Rita Saulle.
C. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
111. The following persons were elected by acclamation as officers of the
Kalle Konkkola Chairman
Ilya Zaslavsky Vice-chairman
Ephraim Magagula Vice-Chairman
Santanina I Rasul Vice-Chairman
Enrique Ellssalde Vice-Chairman
Emanuel Hosein Rapporteur
Dominic Ouma Majlwa Vice-Rapporteur
D. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND TIMETABLE
112. The Meeting adopted the following agenda:
1. Election of officers.
2. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.
3. Agenda for action from 1990 to 1992: suggested priorities.
4. Alternative ways to mark the end of the Decade in 1992.
5. Outline of a long-term strategy to implement the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons to the year 2000 and beyond.
113. The Meeting adopted the timetable contained In the programme of
work. All of the main items were discussed in plenary. The draft
recommendations were discussed in two working groups: one on agenda items
3 and 4 and another on agenda item 5.
114. The background paper for the Meeting was entitled "United Nations
Decade of Disabled Persons (1983- 1992): Towards 2000 - from awareness to
F. Adoption OF THE REPORT AND CLOSURE OF THE MEETING
115. The report of the Meeting was adopted by consensus on 11 May 1990.
116. At the closing ceremony, brief statements were made by the Director of the Social Development Division, the Rapporteur and the Chairman of the Meeting. The participants expressed their gratitude to the Government of Finland and the city authorities of Jarvenpaa for the excellent facilities and services provided for the Meeting.