Draft Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-Free and Rights-Based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific : note / by the Secretariat
|UN Document Symbol||E/ESCAP/APDDP/4/Rev.1|
|Convention||Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities|
|Document Type||Note by the Secretariat|
i, 27 p. : chart
|Subjects||Persons with Disabilities, Equal Opportunity, Education, Health, Employment, Poverty Mitigation, Women with Disabilities|
24 January 2003
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to Conclude the Asian and Pacific
Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002
25-28 October 2002
Otsu City, Shiga, Japan
CONSIDERATION OF A REGIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION TOWARDS AN
INCLUSIVE, BARRIER-FREE AND RIGHTS-BASED SOCIETY FOR PERSONS
WITH DISABILITES IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
(Item 6 of the provisional agenda)
BIWAKO MILLENNIUM FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION TOWARDS AN INCLUSIVE,
BARRIER-FREE AND RIGHTS-BASED SOCIETY FOR
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Note by the secretariat
The Commission, at its fifty-eighth session, adopted resolution 58/4 of 22 May 2002 on promoting an
inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for people with disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region in
the twenty-first century, by which it proclaimed the extension of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled
Persons, 1993-2002, for another decade, 2003-2012.
The present document sets out a draft regional framework for action that provides regional policy
recommendations for action by Governments in the region and concerned stakeholders to achieve an
inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with disabilities in the new decade, 2003-2012.
The regional framework for action identifies seven areas for priority action in the new decade. Each priority
area contains critical issues, targets and the action required.
The regional framework for action explicitly incorporates the millennium development goals and their
relevant targets to ensure that concerns relating to persons with disabilities become an integral part of efforts
to achieve the goals.
I. PREAMBLE......................................................................................................................... 1
II. PRINCIPLES AND POLICY DIRECTIONS OF THE BIWAKO MILLENNIUM
FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION............................................................................................. 3
III. PRIORITY AREAS FOR ACTION ...................................................................................... 4
IV. TARGETS AND ACTION IN THE PRIORITY AREAS .................................................... 5
A. Self-help organizations of persons with disabilities and related family and parent
associations ................................................................................................................... 5
B. Women with disabilities ............................................................................................... 7
C. Early detection, early intervention and education......................................................... 9
D. Training and employment, including self-employment................................................ 13
E. Access to built environments and public transport ....................................................... 15
F. Access to information and communications, including
information, communication and assistive technologies .............................................. 17
G. Poverty alleviation through capacity-building, social security and
sustainable livelihood programmes .............................................................................. 21
V. STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE THE TARGETS OF THE BIWAKO
MILLENNIUM FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION.................................................................. 24
A. National plan of action (five years) on disability.......................................................... 24
B. Promotion of a rights-based approach to disability issues............................................ 24
C. Disability statistics/common definition of disabilities for planning ............................. 25
D. Strengthened community-based approaches to the prevention of causes of
disability, rehabilitation and empowerment of persons with disabilities...................... 26
VI. COOPERATION AND SUPPORT IN PURSUANCE OF THE BIWAKO
MILLENNIUM FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION.................................................................. 26
A. Subregional cooperation and collaboration .................................................................. 26
B. Regional collaboration.................................................................................................. 27
C. Interregional cooperation.............................................................................................. 28
VII. MONITORING AND REVIEW............................................................................................ 28
A. Organization of regional and subregional meetings ..................................................... 28
B. Regional working group to coordinate and monitor the Biwako
Millennium Framework for Action............................................................................... 29
C. Mid-point review of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action .......................... 29
We, the members and associate members of ESCAP represented at the High-level
Intergovernmental Meeting to Conclude the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons,
1. Recognize that while an estimated 400 million persons with disabilities have the capacity to
contribute to national development in the Asian and Pacific region and have increasingly become
agents of change in their communities through their collective action, the majority of persons with
disabilities are still excluded from education, employment and other economic and social
opportunities and constitute some 20 per cent of the poorest people,
2. Recall that following the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981, the United Nations
General Assembly, in its resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982, adopted the World Programme of
Action concerning Disabled Persons, aimed at achieving full participation and equality and protection
of rights of persons with disabilities,
3. Also recall the continuing commitment of Governments in the Asian and Pacific region to the
promotion of full participation and equality of persons with disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region
and to the improvement of their lives through the proclamation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of
Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, at the end of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-
1992) and through the adoption of the Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People
with Disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region and the Agenda for Action for the Asian and Pacific
Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, at the launch of the Decade at Beijing in 1992,
4. Affirm the policy guidelines set out in the Agenda for Action for achieving the goals of the
Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons within the 12 policy areas (national coordination,
legislation, information, public awareness, accessibility and communication, education, training and
employment, prevention of causes of disability, rehabilitation services, assistive devices, self-help
organizations and regional cooperation) and the 107 specific targets adopted at a regional review
meeting in 1995, further strengthened in 1999 and endorsed by the Commission at its fifty-sixth
session in 2000,
5. Recognize that in the 1990s, United Nations initiatives concerning global policies and
programmes in areas such as education, environment, human rights, population and development,
social development, advancement of women, children, and shelter and habitat incorporated disability
issues as substantive concerns in their declarations, frameworks and strategic action programmes. In
particular, the World Summit for Social Development, held at Copenhagen in March 1995, in its
Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development noted that people with disabilities, as one of the
worlds largest minorities, are often forced into poverty, unemployment and social isolation. It
recommended the promotion of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons
with Disabilities and the development of strategies for implementation of the Rules,
6. Note that the world community has expressed its commitment to economic and social
development in the face of rapid globalization in adopting General Assembly resolution 55/2 of
8 September 2000 entitled United Nations Millennium Declaration, embodying a large number of
specific commitments aimed at improving the lot of humanity in the twenty-first century,
7. Appreciate that under such a favourable policy milieu at the global and regional levels,
ESCAP members and associate members adopted resolution 58/4 of 22 May 2002 on promoting an
inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for people with disabilities in the Asian and Pacific
region in the twenty-first century, by which it proclaimed the extension of the Asian and Pacific
Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, for another decade, 2003-2012. The resolution will give
further impetus to the implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled
Persons and the Agenda for Action for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons in the region
8. Agree that overall improvement has been achieved in all 12 policy areas under the Agenda for
Action, but that progress has been uneven, particularly in the continuing and alarmingly low rate of
access to education for children and youth with disabilities, and has been marked by significant
9. Encourage Governments to actively implement the paradigm shift from a charity-based
approach to a rights-based approach to the development of persons with disabilities and to move
towards the human rights perspective, especially the perspective of the right to development for
persons with disabilities, bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 56/168 of 19 December 2001
on a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and
dignity of persons with disabilities,
10. Urge Governments in the region which have not done so to join the signatories to the
Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asian and
Pacific Region and to strive to achieve the 107 targets for the implementation of the Agenda for
Action for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons,
11. Adopt the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action to promote an inclusive, barrier-free
and rights-based society for persons with disabilities in the region. An inclusive society means a
society for all and a barrier-free society means a society free from physical and attitudinal barriers,
as well as social, economic and cultural barriers. A rights-based society means a society based on
the concept of human rights, including the right to development,
12. Confirm that the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action is set in the context of relevant
disability-specific United Nations international instruments, mandates and recommendations,
including General Assembly resolutions 2856 (XXVI) of 20 December 1971 on the Declaration on
the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons, 3447 (XXX) of 9 December 1975 on the Declaration on the
Rights of Disabled Persons, 37/52 of 3 December 1982 on the World Programme of Action
concerning Disabled Persons, the Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention
(No. 159), 1983, adopted by the International Labour Organization on 20 June 1983, and its
recommendation on that Convention, General Assembly resolution 48/96 of 20 December 1993 on
Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities and the Salamanca
Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education,
13. Anticipate that the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action will contribute to attaining the
millennium development goals and targets as issues relating to persons with disabilities are vital
concerns to be addressed in realizing the relevant millennium development goals and targets.
II. PRINCIPLES AND POLICY DIRECTIONS OF THE BIWAKO
MILLENNIUM FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION
14. To promote the goals of an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with
disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region, the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action, is guided
by the following principles and policy directions:
(1) Enact and/or enforce legislation and policies related to equal opportunities and
treatment of persons with disabilities and their rights to equity in education, health,
information and communications, training and employment, social services and other
areas. Such legislation and policies should include persons with all types of
disabilities, women and men, and people in urban and remote and rural areas. They
should be rights-based and promote inclusive and multisectoral approaches.
(2) Include disability dimensions in all new and existing laws, policies plans,
programmes and schemes.
(3) Establish or strengthen national coordination committees on disability which will
develop and coordinate the implementation and monitoring of the policies concerning
disability, with effective participation from organizations of and for persons with
(4) Support the development of persons with disabilities and their organizations and
include them in the national policy decision-making process on disability, with
special focus on the development of women with disabilities and their participation in
self-help organizations of persons with disabilities as well as in mainstream gender
(5) Ensure that disabled persons be an integral part of efforts to achieve the millennium
development goals, particularly in the areas of poverty alleviation, primary education,
gender and youth employment.
(6) Strengthen national capacity in data collection and analysis concerning disability
statistics to support policy formulation and programme implementation.
(7) Adopt a policy of early intervention in all multisectoral areas, including education,
health and rehabilitation, and social services for children with disabilities from birth
to four years.
(8) Strengthen community-based approaches in the prevention of causes of disability,
rehabilitation and equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities.
(9) Adopt the concept of universal and inclusive design for all citizens, which is costeffective,
in the development of infrastructure and services in the areas of, inter alia,
rural and urban development, housing, transport and telecommunication.
III. PRIORITY AREAS FOR ACTION
15. Further efforts need to focus on priority areas where progress was found inadequate and
action was lagging during the implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons,
1993-2002. By resolution 58/4, Governments in the region defined the priority policy areas as:
(a) Self-help organizations of persons with disabilities and related family and parent
(b) Women with disabilities;
(c) Early detection, early intervention and education;
(d) Training and employment, including self-employment;
(e) Access to built environments and public transport;
(f) Access to information and communications, including information, communications
and assistive technologies;
(g) Poverty alleviation through capacity-building, social security and sustainable
Graphic presentation of the priority areas
For each priority area, the following have been identified: (a) critical issues, (b) millennium
development goals, where applicable, (c) targets of the Biwako Framework and (d) action required to
achieve those targets.
IV. TARGETS AND ACTION IN THE PRIORITY AREAS
A. Self-help organizations of persons with disabilities and related family
and parent associations
1. Critical issues
16. Persons with disabilities are the most qualified and best equipped to support, inform and
advocate for themselves and other persons with disabilities. Evidence suggests that the quality of life
of persons with disabilities, and of the broader community, improves when disabled persons
themselves actively voice their concerns and participate in decision-making. Self-help organizations
are the most qualified, best informed and most motivated to speak on their own behalf concerning the
proper design and implementation of policy, legislation and strategies which will ensure their full
participation in social, economic, cultural and political life and enable them to contribute to the
development of their communities.
17. It is imperative to recognize the right of persons with disabilities to self-representation and to
strengthen their capacity to participate in the decision-making process. Persons with disabilities must
articulate their own issues and advocate for reforms that will bring about their development and
Women with disabilities Early detection, early intervention and education Training and employment,
including self-employment Access to built environments and public transport Access to information
and communications, including information, communication and assistive technologies Poverty alleviation through capacitybuilding, social security and sustainable livelihood programmes Self-help organizations of persons with disabilities and related family and parental associations
independent living in their communities and society at large. However, when children and others are
not able to represent themselves, their parents, family members and other supporters should be
encouraged and enabled to help advocate their rights and needs until such support is no longer
18. The development of a democratic, representative disability movement is one way to help
ensure that government provision is appropriate to the needs and rights of persons with disabilities.
Self-help organizations of persons with disabilities should include groups and organizations from
rural areas as well as those of particularly marginalized disabled persons such as women and girls
with disabilities, persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with psychiatric disabilities.
Target 1. Governments, international funding agencies and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) should, by 2004, establish policies with the requisite resource allocations to
support the development and formation of self-help organizations of persons with disabilities in all
areas, and with a specific focus on slum and rural dwellers. Governments should take steps to ensure
the formation of parents associations at local levels by the year 2005 and federate them at the national
level by year 2010.
Target 2. Governments and civil society organizations should, by 2005, fully include
organizations of persons with disabilities in their decision-making processes involving planning and
programme implementation which directly and indirectly affect their lives.
3. Action required to achieve targets
1. Governments should implement measures under the direction of the national
coordination committee on disability to increase the level of consultations between self-help
organizations of persons with disabilities and diverse sectoral ministries, as well as with civil society
and the private sector. These measures should include training of persons with disabilities, including
women with disabilities, on how to participate effectively in the various decision-making processes.
Governments should establish guidelines for the conduct of consultations and the process should be
periodically reviewed and evaluated by representatives of self-help organizations of persons with
2. Governments should establish a policy review panel within the national coordination
committee on disability consisting of representatives of persons with diverse disabilities. The panel
should review all policies and their implementation which directly or indirectly affect persons with
3. Governments should take action to increase the representation of persons with
disabilities in all areas of public life, including government, at all levels from national to local, as well
as the legislature and judicial bodies. This should be promoted by means of affirmative action and
4. Self-help organizations should develop programmes for capacity-building to empower
their members, including youth and women with disabilities, to take consultative and leadership roles
in the community at large as well as in their own organizations and enable them to serve as trainers in
the development of leadership and management skills of members of self-help organizations.
5. National self-help organizations of diverse disability groups should develop
mechanisms to engage rural persons with disabilities in self-help organizations for mutual support,
advocacy and referral to programmes and services, and to collaborate actively with rural and urban
development NGOs and Government in rural development initiatives.
6. International funding agencies and NGOs should give high priority in their
development policies to providing funding and technical assistance to promote and strengthen selfhelp
organizations of persons with disabilities.
B. Women with disabilities
1. Critical issues
19. Women with disabilities are one of the most marginalized groups in society, as they are
multiply disadvantaged through their status as women, as persons with disabilities, and are overrepresented
among persons living in poverty. Women and girls with disabilities, to a greater extent
than boys and men with disabilities, face discrimination within the family, are denied access to health
care, education, vocational training, employment and income generation opportunities, and are
excluded from social and community activities.
20. Women and girls with disabilities encounter further discrimination as they are exposed to
greater risk of physical and sexual abuse, denial of their reproductive rights, and reduced opportunity
to enter marriage and family life. In rural areas girls and women are more disadvantaged, with higher
rates of illiteracy, and lack of access to information and services. Stigmatized and rejected from
earliest childhood and denied opportunities for development, girls with disabilities grow up lacking a
sense of self-worth and self-esteem and are denied access to the roles of women in their communities.
21. Within some self-help organizations of persons with disabilities in some countries in the
region, women with disabilities have faced further discrimination. Women with disabilities are underrepresented
in membership of such organizations and scarcely visible in leadership and executive
roles. Their concerns are not addressed in the advocacy agenda of self-help organizations and young
women with disabilities have not been targeted for leadership training.
22. The mainstream gender movement, which has had a significant effect on improving the
equality of lives of non-disabled women, has had minimal effect on the lives of women with
disabilities. Women with disabilities have not been included in membership of mainstream gender
organizations, their issues have not been addressed other than to note that they are of special concern
and they have lacked the advocacy skills to change this situation.
23. Governments have a special responsibility in rectifying the imbalances, providing the needed
support services and promoting the full participation of women with disabilities in mainstream
Target 3. Governments should, by 2005, ensure anti-discrimination measures, where
appropriate, which safeguard the rights of women with disabilities.
Target 4. National self-help organizations of persons with disabilities should, by 2005,
adopt policies to promote the full participation and equal representation of women with disabilities in
their activities, including in management, organizational training and advocacy programmes.
Target 5. Women with disabilities should, by 2005, be included in the membership of
national mainstream womens associations.
3. Action required to achieve targets
1. Governments should implement measures to uphold the rights of women with
disabilities and to protect them from discrimination. In particular, measures should be implemented
to ensure equal access to health services, education, training and employment, and protection from
sexual and other forms of abuse and violence.
2. Governments, NGOs and self-help organizations should implement programmes to
raise the publics awareness of the situation of women with disabilities and to promote positive
attitudes, role models and opportunities for their development.
3. Governments may facilitate the establishment of a mechanism at the regional, national
and subnational levels to disseminate relevant gender-related information among women with
disabilities. The information should include, but not be limited to, international documents and
information on national legislation.
4. Self-help organizations of persons with disabilities should ensure that women with
disabilities are represented at the local, national and regional levels of the organizations.
5. Self-help organizations should ensure that women with disabilities constitute at least
half of their delegations at meetings, workshops and seminars.
6. Women with disabilities should be encouraged to take part in and be given priority in
receiving training opportunities in managerial and general subjects provided by self-help
7. Governments, NGOs, self-help organizations and donors should provide leadership
training for women with disabilities to raise their awareness of gender issues and to increase their
capacity to participate in policy and decision-making processes at all levels of self-help organizations
of persons with disabilities and in advocacy and consultative roles with Government and in civil
8. Women with disabilities should form self-help groups within self-help organizations
and form national and regional networks as a means of support and of disseminating and sharing
9. Groups and networks of women with disabilities should promote the development of
girls with disabilities, with particular emphasis on access to education, health information, training
and social development.
10. National and regional groups and networks of women with disabilities should advocate
to mainstream womens groups for the inclusion of women with disabilities, their self-help groups and
concerns into the organizations and networks of mainstream womens groups, for information
dissemination and support.
11. Mainstream womens organizations should specifically include women with disabilities
in their training programmes through providing accessible venues, arrangements and support as well
as training materials in accessible formats.
12. All agencies, including Governments, NGOs, self-help organizations, donors and civil
society must promote and uphold at all times the rights of women with disabilities to choice and selfdetermination.
C. Early detection, early intervention and education
1. Critical issues
24. Available evidence suggests that less than 10 per cent of children and youth with disabilities
have access to any form of education. This compares with an enrolment rate of over 70 per cent for
non-disabled children and youth in primary education in the Asian and Pacific region. This situation
exists despite international mandates declaring that education is a basic right for all children and
calling for the inclusion of all children in primary education by 2015. Governments should ensure the
provision of appropriate education which responds to the needs of children with all types of
disabilities in the next decade. It is recognized that there is wide variation in the response which
Governments in the Asian and Pacific region have made in providing education for children with
disabilities, and that children are currently educated in a variety of formal and informal educational
settings, and in separate and inclusive schools.
25. The exclusion of children and youth with disabilities from education results in their exclusion
from opportunities for further development, particularly diminishing their access to vocational
training, employment, income generation and business development. Failure to access education and
training prevents the achievement of economic and social independence and increases vulnerability to
poverty in what can become a self-perpetuating, inter-generational cycle.
26. Infants and young children with disabilities require access to early intervention services,
including early detection and identification (birth to four years old), with support and training to
parents and families to facilitate the maximum development of the full potential of their disabled
children. Failure to provide early detection, identification and intervention to infants and young
children with disabilities and support to their parents and caretakers results in secondary disabling
conditions which further limit their capacity to benefit from educational opportunities. Provision of
early intervention should be a combined effort of Education, Health and/or Social Services.
27. Currently education for children and youth with disabilities is predominantly provided in
special schools in urban centres and is available to limited numbers of children in many countries of
the Asian and Pacific region. The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs
Education recommended that inclusive education, with access to education in the regular local
neighbourhood or community school, provides the best opportunity for the majority of children and
youth with disabilities to receive an education, including those in rural areas. Exceptions to this rule
should be considered on a case-by-case basis where only education in a special school or
establishment can be shown to meet the needs of the individual child. It is acknowledged that in some
instances special education may be considered to be the most appropriate form of education for some
children with disabilities.1 The education of all children, including children with disabilities, in local
or community schools assists in breaking down barriers and negative attitudes and facilitates social
integration and cohesion within communities. The involvement of parents and the local community in
community schools further strengthens this process.
28. Major barriers to the provision of quality education for children with disabilities in all
educational contexts include the lack of early identification and intervention services, negative
attitudes, exclusionary policies and practices, inadequate teacher training, particularly training of all
regular teachers to teach children with diverse abilities, inflexible curriculum and assessment
procedures, inadequate specialist support staff to assist teachers of special and regular classes, lack of
appropriate teaching equipment and devices, and failure to make modifications to the school
environment to make it fully accessible. These barriers can be overcome through policy, planning,
implementation of strategies and allocation of resources to include children and youth with disabilities
in all national health and education development initiatives available to non-disabled children and
29. Governments, in collaboration with other stakeholders, need to provide sport, leisure and
recreational activities and facilities for persons with disabilities, as the fulfillment of their basic rights
to the improvement of life.
1 See General Assembly resolution 48/96 of 20 December 1993 on Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, annex, rule 6. Education, para. 8.
2. Millennium development goal
30. In this priority area the millennium development goal is to ensure that by the year 2015,
children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling
and that girls and boys will have equal access to all levels of education.
Target 6. Children and youth with disabilities will be an integral part of the population
targeted by the millennium development goal of ensuring that by 2015 all boys and girls will
complete a full course of primary schooling.
Target 7. At least 75 per cent of children and youth with disabilities of school age will, by
2010, be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
Target 8. By 2012, all infants and young children (birth to four years old) will have access
to and receive community-based early intervention services, which ensure survival, with support and
training for their families.
Target 9. Governments should ensure detection of disabilities at as early an age as
4. Action required to achieve targets
1. Governments should enact legislation, with enforcement mechanisms, to mandate
education for all children, including children with disabilities, to meet the goals of the Dakar
Framework for Action and the millennium development goal of primary education for all children by
2015. Children with disabilities need to be explicitly included in all national plans for education,
including national plans on education for all of the Dakar Framework for Action.
2. Ministries of Education should formulate educational policy and planning in
consultation with families and organizations of persons with disabilities and develop programmes of
education which enable children with disabilities to attend their local primary schools. Policy
implementation needs to prepare the school system for inclusive education, where appropriate, with
the clear understanding that all children have the right to attend school and that it is the responsibility
of the school to accommodate differences in learners.
3. A range of educational options should be available to allow the selection of a school
that will best cater for individual learning needs.
4. Adequate public budgetary allocation specifically for the education of children with
disabilities should be provided within the education budget.
5. Governments, in collaboration with others, should collect comprehensive data on
children with disabilities, from birth to 16 years old, which should be used for planning appropriate
early intervention and educational provision, resources and support services, from birth through
6. Five year targets should be set for the enrolment of children with disabilities in early
intervention, pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary (post-school) education. Progress towards
meeting these targets should be closely monitored with a view to achieving the goal of 75 per cent of
children with disabilities in school by 2012.
7. Ministries of Health and other concerned ministries should establish adequate early
detection and identification services in hospitals, primary health care, centre and community-based
health care services, with referral systems to early intervention services for all disabled infants and
children (birth to four years old). Governments should routinely screen high-risk pregnancies and
high-risk newborn babies for early detection of disabilities at birth or soon thereafter.
8. Ministries of Health and Education should establish early intervention services, in
collaboration with other concerned ministries, self-help organizations, NGO and community-based
agencies, to provide early intervention, support and training to all disabled infants and children with
disabilities (birth to four years old) and their families.
9. Governments, including Ministries of Education, should work in partnership with
NGOs at the national and local level to conduct public awareness campaigns to inform families of
children with disabilities, schools and local communities, of the right of children and youth with
disabilities to participate in education at all levels, in urban and rural areas, and with particular
emphasis on the inclusion of girls with disabilities where there is a gender imbalance in school
10. The following measures should be taken, where appropriate, by Governments in the
region to improve the quality of education in all schools, for all children, including children with
disabilities, in special and inclusive educational contexts: (a) conduct education and training for
raising the awareness of public officials, including educational and school administrators and
teachers, to promote positive attitudes to the education of children with disabilities, increase
sensitivity to the rights of children with disabilities to be educated in local schools and on practical
strategies for including children and youth with disabilities in regular schools; (b) provide
comprehensive pre- and in-service teacher training for all teachers, with methodology and techniques
for teaching children with diverse abilities, the development of flexible curriculum, teaching and
assessment strategies; (c) encourage suitable candidates with disabilities to enter the teaching
profession; (d) establish procedures for child screening, identification and placement, child-centred
and individualized teaching strategies and full systems of learning and teaching support, including
resource centres and specialist teachers, in rural and urban areas; (e) ensure the availability of
appropriate and accessible teaching materials, equipment and devices, unencumbered by copyright
restriction; (f) ensure flexible and adaptable curriculum, appropriate to the abilities of individual
children and relevant in the local context; (g) ensure assessment and monitoring procedures are
appropriate for the diverse needs of learners.
11. Governments should implement a progressive programme towards achieving barrierfree
and accessible schools and accessible school transport by 2012.
12. Governments should encourage programmes of research at tertiary institutions to
develop further effective methodologies for teaching children and youth with diverse abilities.
13. Organizations of and for disabled persons should place advocacy for the education of
children with disabilities as a high priority item on their agenda.
14. Regional cooperation needs to be strengthened to facilitate the sharing of experiences
and good practices and to support the development of inclusive education initiatives.
D. Training and employment, including self-employment
1. Critical issues
31. The challenge of integrating and including persons with disabilities in the economic
mainstream has not been met. Despite international standards and the implementation of exemplary
training and employment legislation, policies and practices in some countries, persons with
disabilities, and especially women, youth and those in rural areas, remain disproportionately
undereducated, untrained, unemployed, underemployed and poor.
32. Persons with disabilities have a right to decent work. Decent work is productive work in
conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. Persons with disabilities have unique
differences and abilities and they should have the right to choose what they want to do based on their
abilities, not on their disabilities. They require the same educational, vocational training, employment
and business development opportunities available to all. Some may require specialized support
services, assistive devices or job modifications, but these are small investments compared to lifetimes
of productivity and contribution. Furthermore, a lifetime of exclusion often results in psychosocial
barriers, which must be addressed if persons with disabilities are to succeed in training and
33. Vocational training and employment issues must be considered within the context of the full
participation of persons with disabilities in community life and within the macro context of changing
demographics and workplaces. Responses to issues such as globalization, job security, poverty
reduction and unemployment among youth and older workers must also consider how these issues and
responses affect persons with disabilities.
34. Generally, there is a lack of trained and competent staff working with persons with
disabilities, especially with regard to training and employment. Other capacity issues that relate to
developing, implementing, evaluating and disseminating effective policies and programmes on
national and regional levels must continue to be addressed. Persons with disabilities must also be
regularly and actively involved in initiatives related to employment and training, not just as
consumers but also as advocates, designers and providers of services.
Target 10. At least 30 per cent of the signatories (member States) will ratify the
International Labour Organization Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons)
Convention (No. 159), 1983, by 2012.
Target 11. By 2012, at least 30 per cent of all vocational training programmes in signatory
countries will be inclusive of persons with disabilities and provide appropriate support and job
placement or business development services for them.
Target 12. By 2010, reliable data that measure the employment and self-employment rates
of persons with disabilities will exist in all countries.
3. Action required to achieve targets
1. Governments should examine, ratify and implement the Vocational Rehabilitation and
Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention (No. 159), 1983.
2. Governments should have policies, a written plan, a coordinating body and some
mechanism to evaluate the success of including persons with disabilities in training, employment,
self-employment and poverty alleviation programmes. These activities should include consultations
with organizations of and for persons with disabilities as well as employers and workers
3. Governments should develop and implement employer incentives and strategies to
move persons with disabilities into open employment and recognize that government, as a major
employer in most countries, should be a model employer with regard to the hiring, retention and
advancement of workers with disabilities.
4. Governments should examine and/or enact anti-discrimination legislation, where
appropriate, that protects the rights of workers with disabilities to equal treatment and opportunity in
the workplace and in the marketplace. Governments should encourage and promote employment of
persons with disabilities in the private sector and should provide a mechanism for the protection of
rights of those persons with disabilities affected by layoffs and downsizing exercises.
5. Governments, international organizations, NGOs, training institutions and other social
partners should collaborate to increase the availability and upgrade the competencies of staff
providing training, employment and vocational rehabilitation services to ensure that trained and
competent staff are available. Persons with disabilities should be actively recruited and included in
such training programmes and hired as staff.
6. Governments, with the assistance of NGOs, should ensure that persons with disabilities
have the support services they require to participate in mainstream vocational training and
employment, and allocate the additional funds required to remove barriers to inclusion, with the full
recognition that the price tag related to exclusion is higher.
7. Governments, NGOs and disabled persons organizations should collaborate more with
employers, trade unions and other social partners to develop partnerships, policies, mutual
understanding and more effective vocational training and employment services that benefit persons
with disabilities working in formal, informal or self-employment settings.
8. Governments, in collaboration with employers organizations, workers organizations,
organizations of and for persons with disabilities and other social partners should review current
policies, practices and outcomes related to the vocational training of persons with disabilities to
identify gaps and needs and develop a plan to meet these needs in the light of workplace changes
related to globalization, ICT and the needs of persons with disabilities living in remote and rural
9. Funds must be allocated to meet the needs of those with the most extensive disabilities
to provide training and employment services in dignified and inclusive settings to the extent possible,
by using strategies such as transitional and production workshops and community-based and
10. Recognizing the lack of formal job opportunities in many countries, Governments,
international agencies, donors, NGOs and others in civil society must ensure that persons with
disabilities and organizations of and for persons with disabilities have equitable access and are
included in programmes related to business development, entrepreneurship and credit distribution.
11. Regional organizations, including those of persons with disabilities, in collaboration
with national governments and international agencies, should develop mechanisms for the collection
and dissemination of information related to good practices in all aspects of training and employment,
especially those that reflect regional and cultural needs.
E. Access to built environments and public transport
1. Critical issues
35. Inaccessibility to the built environment, including the public transport system, is still the
major barrier which prevents persons with disabilities from actively participating in social and
economic activities in the countries of the region. Some Governments recognize disabled persons
basic right to equal access to built environments. Creating inaccessible built environments, streets
and transport systems discriminates against persons with disabilities and other members of society.
The concept of universal/inclusive design has emerged as a result of the struggle of persons with
disabilities for accessible physical environments. Universal/inclusive design approaches have proven
to benefit not only persons with disabilities but also many other sectors within the society, such as
older persons, pregnant women and parents with young children.
36. Most of the worlds population of older persons resides in the Asian and Pacific region. The
numbers are expected to increase dramatically given current demographic trends. The proportion of
older women is also steadily growing given that women outlive men in nearly all countries, both rich
and poor. As more people - men and women - survive to older age, the numbers of older people with
disabilities are rising. Additionally, the onset of physical disability in old age will only exacerbate the
social stigma older persons face as they are often viewed as burdens and liabilities. All persons with
disabilities, however, whether young or old, have issues in common which affect them equally. These
include the barriers in our environment, such as the lack of access to built environments and public
37. The universal/inclusive design approaches provide safer environments for all by reducing the
rate of accidents. Physical barriers are known to prevent full participation and reduce the economic
and social output of persons with disabilities. Investments in the removal and prevention of
architectural and design barriers are increasingly being justified on economic grounds, particularly in
areas most critical to social and economic participation (e.g., transport, housing, education,
employment, health care, government, public discourse, cultural and religious activities, leisure and
recreation). It is important to note that not only facilities but also services should be accessible in
their entirety. In this connection dealing with persons with disabilities should be an important part of
a staff training curriculum.
Target 13. Governments should adopt and enforce accessibility standards for planning of
public facilities, infrastructure and transport, including those in rural/agricultural contexts.
Target 14. All new and renovated public transport systems, including road, water, light
and heavy mass railway and air transport systems, should be made fully accessible by persons with
disabilities and older persons; existing land, water and air public transport systems (vehicles, stops
and terminals) should be made accessible and usable as soon as practicable.
Target 15. All international and regional funding agencies for infrastructure development
should include universal and inclusive design concepts in their loan/grant award criteria.
3. Action required to achieve targets
1. Governments, in collaboration with disabled persons organizations, civil society
groups such as professional architecture and engineering associations and others in the corporate
sector, should support the establishment of national and/or regional mechanisms to exchange
information on means to realize accessible environments, with display, library and research facilities,
and information centres and should network with research and/or educational architectural and
2. Ensure that professional education and academic courses in architecture, planning and
landscape and building and engineering contain inclusive design principles; teaching the teachers
courses in effective teaching of practical accessible design are established for all design schools in the
region, including travelling workshops which involve the active participation of persons with
disabilities; and support continuing education professional development courses on best practices in
inclusive design techniques for experienced practitioners, including those professionals who work
closely with the end-users, such as community-based rehabilitation personnel.
3. Encourage innovative techniques, such as through design competitions, architectural
and other awards and various other forms of support, to identify particular applications that enhance
accessibility and apply local knowledge and materials. Local materials to make built environments
accessible, e.g., tactile blocks and non-slip floor tiles, should be developed and made available.
Networks to disseminate innovative techniques should be developed.
4. Support the establishment of appraisal mechanisms on how codes and standards have
been developed, applied and enforced and how they have increased accessibility in various countries.
Feedback and case studies on areas (rather than on a single new or upgraded building) are important,
with publicity and dissemination of the findings, and show how improvements could be made.
5. Ensure that the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities be included in all
rural/agricultural development programmes, including but not limited to access and use of sanitation
facilities and water supply through a process of consultation that includes disabled user-groups.
6. Create access officers or posts which include the function of access officers at local,
provincial and national levels whose functions include providing architects/designers/developers with
technical advice and information on access codes and application of inclusive design, and appropriate
technology in the natural and built environments in rural, peri-urban and urban contexts.
7. Disabled persons organizations should implement confidence-building and advocacy
measures to present their needs collectively and effectively in the built environment in one voice
representing the needs of different disability groups, including not only persons with physical, visual
and hearing disabilities but also persons with intellectual disabilities.
F. Access to information and communications, including
information, communication and assistive technologies
1. Critical issues
38. ICT has been the engine of economic growth and continues to spur the globalization process.
However, the benefits of ICT development have spread unevenly between the haves and the have-nots
and between developed and developing countries.
39. The effects of ICT upon persons with disabilities have been both positive and negative. Many
disabled persons benefit from ICT development, as the technologies are opening up opportunities for
employment at all skill levels and opportunities to live independently in the community. Deaf-blind
persons, with proper training, are using a refreshable Braille screen reader and persons with severe
cerebral palsy are taking part in information exchange through the Internet. However, benefits are
still largely limited to persons with disabilities in more developed countries. The rapid development
of ICT has given rise to unanticipated problems for persons with certain disabilities. For example,
online processes for registration, banking or shopping transactions may not be accessible to persons
with cognitive/intellectual, physical or visual and/or auditory disabilities.
40. The majority of disabled persons in the developing countries in the Asian and Pacific region
are poor and have been excluded from ICT use, although there is a great potential benefit for the use
of ICT in rural areas in developing countries.
41. The Tokyo Declaration on Asia-Pacific Renaissance through ICT in the Twenty-first Century,
adopted by the Asia-Pacific Summit on the Information Society, organized by the Asia-Pacific
Telecommunity and held at Tokyo in November 2000, declared that people in the Asian and Pacific
region should have access to the Internet by the year 2005 to the extent possible. It also recognized
disability as one of the causes of the digital divide, along with income, age and gender. The World
Summit on the Information Society will be held at Geneva in 2003 and at Tunis in 2005. At the
Summit, issues concerning persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups should be
42. In the information society, access to information and communications is a basic human right.
Copyright owners should bear responsibility for ensuring that content is accessible to all, including
persons with disabilities. Any anti-piracy or digital rights management technology should not prevent
persons with disabilities from access to information and communications.2 Information and
2 The right to information and communications should include, but not be limited to, disabled persons access to:
?? Computer hardware/software and related accessory devices purchased and used by state agencies or purchased
and owned by private agencies for public use;
?? Public communication facilities;
?? Broadcasting systems, including community radio, video content and digital television;
?? Telecommunication systems, including telephone service;
?? The Internet, including web, multimedia content, internet telephony and software used to create web content;
?? Other consumer electronic/communication devices, including mobile communication devices;
?? Interactive transaction machines, including kiosk machines;
?? Services provided through electronic information systems;
?? Instructional materials, including textbooks, teachers edition and electronic learning environments;
?? Spoken language through sign language interpretation and vice versa;
?? Information and communication in the individuals mother tongue, including indigenous languages which may
not have their own written scripts;
?? Any print materials, through all means, such as computer screen readers, Braille, other augmentative and
?? Any future ICT intended for public use.
When, for whatever reasons, direct access by persons with disabilities to the items listed above cannot be readily achieved,
ICT developers should ensure effective interoperability of their products and services with assistive technology used by
persons with disabilities.
communication technology should break down the barriers in telecommunication and broadcasting
systems. Developing countries need greater support in the area of ICT.
43. In many countries in Asia and the Pacific, Sign Language, Braille, finger Braille and tactile
sign language have not yet been standardized. These and other forms of communication need to be
developed and disseminated. Without access to such forms of communication, persons with visual
and/or hearing impairments cannot benefit from ICT developments. More importantly, they maybe
deprived of the basic human right to language and communication in their everyday lives.
Target 16. By 2005, persons with disabilities should have at least the same rate of access
to the Internet and related services as the rest of citizens in a country of the region.
Target 17. International organizations (e.g., International Telecommunication Union,
International Organization for Standardization, World Trade Organization, World Wide Web
Consortium, Motion Picture Engineering Group) responsible for international ICT standards should,
by 2004, incorporate accessibility standards for persons with disabilities in their international ICT
Target 18. Governments should adopt, by 2005, ICT accessibility guidelines for persons
with disabilities in their national ICT policies and specifically include persons with disabilities as their
target beneficiary group with appropriate measures.
Target 19. Governments should develop and coordinate a standardized sign language,
finger Braille, tactile sign language, in each country and to disseminate and teach the results through
all means, i.e. publications, CD-ROMs, etc.
Target 20. Governments should establish a system in each country to train and dispatch
sign language interpreters, Braille transcribers, finger Braille interpreters, and human readers and to
encourage their employment.
3. Action required to achieve targets
1. Governments should promulgate and enforce laws, policies and programmes to monitor
and protect the right of persons with disabilities to information and communication; for instance,
legislation providing copyright exemptions to organizations which make information content
accessible to persons with disabilities, under certain conditions.
Governments, in collaboration with other concerned agencies and civil society organizations,
2. Set up an ICT accessibility unit within the ICT ministry/regulatory agency, and
encourage private companies to establish an equivalent unit to coordinate activities within and outside
3. Conduct and encourage awareness-raising training for ICT policy makers, regulatory
agencies, representatives as well as technical personnel of private ICT companies to raise
understanding of disability issues, including disabled persons ICT accessibility needs, their capability
and aspiration to be productive members of society.
4. Support computer literacy training and capacity-building for persons with disabilities,
through training on how to communicate with software and hardware developers and standards
organizations to address their needs.
5. Provide various forms of incentives, including exemption of duties for ICT devices
used by persons with disabilities and subsidize the cost of assistive technology equipment to ensure
that they are affordable for persons with disabilities in need.
6. Support the creation and strengthening of networks, including cooperatives, of
consumers with disabilities at the national, regional and international levels in order to increase the
bargaining and buying power for ICT products and services, which are generally expensive to buy
7. Take all necessary steps to ensure, in the development of measures and standards
relating to ICT accessibility, that organizations of persons with disabilities are involved in all stages
of the process.
8. Adopt and support ICT development based on international standards which are
universal/open/non-proprietary to ensure the long-term commitment to ICT accessibility for persons
with disabilities among all sectors, with special attention to standards that have accessibility
components and features with a proven record of effectiveness. Examples of these are the Web
Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium and the Digital Accessible Information
9. Require that local language applications and content use national/international standard
character encoding and modelling, such as the Unified Modeling Language, and encourage dialogue
on accessibility requirements of character encoding and modelling.
10. Support participation of civil society organizations representing and reflecting the
requirements of persons with disabilities in discussions on regional and international standards
towards a goal of increased harmonization of international standards supporting the requirements of
persons with disabilities. Where such international standards are lacking, Governments should
support alternative initiatives to address those needs, with attention to compatibility and
interoperability with international standards.
11. Bilateral and multilateral donor agencies and international funding agencies should
adopt award criteria based on the social responsibility of the receiving agencies/organizations,
including their obligation to promote ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities.
12. Support and establish a regional working group to develop standards in ICT,
telecommunication and broadcasting to ensure that new and existing technologies are based on
disability inclusive standards and are developed on a universal design concept. In addition to ICT,
measures to ensure communication of persons with disabilities, including development of
standardized Sign Language and Braille, need to be established.
G. Poverty alleviation through capacity-building, social security
and sustainable livelihood programmes
1. Critical issues
44. In the Asian and Pacific region, it is estimated that of 400 million persons with disabilities, over
40 per cent are living in poverty. Those persons with disabilities have been prevented from accessing
entitlements available to other members of society, including health, food, education, employment
and other basic social services, and from participating in community decision-making processes.
45. Poverty is both a cause and consequence of disability. Poverty and disability reinforce one
another, contributing to increased vulnerability and exclusion. Poor nutrition, dangerous working and
living conditions, limited access to vaccination programmes and health and maternity care, poor
hygiene, bad sanitation, inadequate information about the causes of impairments, war and conflict and
natural disasters are factors responsible for disability. Many of these causes are preventable.
Disability in turn exacerbates poverty, by diminishing access to means of livelihood, increasing
isolation from the marketplace and economic strain. This affects not just the individual but often the
46. The increasing numbers and proportions of older people living to advanced old age has meant
that the number of persons with disabilities will increase and this may be a contributing factor to
human poverty. The issues of concern for older persons have to do with disabilities related to ageing
and the provision of appropriate health care and social security. In ageing societies, especially, these
issues will have a profound impact on national health and long-term care systems and on whether
social security schemes are sufficient as currently constituted.
47. The main factors that account for the low level of social services for poor persons with
disabilities are household-based and community-based. However, there is little knowledge about the
determining factors for the low welfare level of persons with disabilities in the developing countries
of the region. Social and economic survey data at the household and community levels, which are
necessary for an analysis of the factors, are lacking. It is important to examine to what extent the
development of community-level infrastructure affects the provision of services for poor persons with
48. An integrated approach is required, linking prevention and rehabilitation with empowerment
strategies and changes in attitudes. The significance of disability should be assessed as a key
development issue and its importance should be recognized in relation to poverty, human rights and
the achievement of internationally agreed development targets. Eliminating world poverty is unlikely
to be achieved unless the rights and needs of persons with disabilities are taken into account.
49. One of the millennium development goals has a specific target of poverty eradication. This is
a positive approach. However, there is a danger that this strategy may omit the important vulnerable
group of persons with disabilities as efforts to achieve the targets could focus on those who can be
brought out of poverty most easily and not those in extreme poverty, among whom persons with
disabilities are disproportionately represented. The root causes of poverty of persons with disabilities
are far more complicated and multifaceted. Hence, conscious efforts should be made to include
persons with disabilities in the target groups given priority in the poverty reduction strategy to achieve
the millennium development goals.
2. Millennium development goals
50. The relevant millennium development goal in this priority area is to halve, by the year 2015,
the proportion of the worlds people whose income is less than one dollar a day and the proportion of
people who suffer from hunger, and by the same date, to halve the proportion of people who are
unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water.
Target 21. Governments should halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of persons
with disabilities whose income/consumption is less than one dollar a day.
4. Action required to achieve targets
1. Governments should immediately include, as a major target group, persons with
disabilities in their national poverty alleviation programmes in order to achieve the millennium
development goal target to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
2. Governments should allocate adequate rural development and poverty alleviation
funds towards services for the benefit of persons with disabilities.
3. Government should include disability dimensions and poverty mapping and disability
into the collection and analysis of millennium development goal baseline data on income poverty,
education, health, etc., so as to ensure baseline data for poor persons with disabilities.
4. Government should mainstream disability issues into pro-poor development strategies
(a) Increased resource allocation for poor persons with disabilities and the
introduction of social budgeting for disability;
(b) Participatory evaluation of existing social and economic policies through
more effective methodologies, including the use of citizens report card method;
(c) Establishment of appropriate social protection schemes, such as schooling
subsidy and/or health insurance for poor families with disabled children and older
persons with physical and mental disabilities;
(d) Comprehensive development policies targeting persons with disabilities and
families with disabled persons.
5. Governments should document and disseminate good field-based practices in poverty
alleviation for persons with disabilities that can be used as models for capacity-building in
government sectoral ministries, civil society organizations and the private sector.
6. Governments should encourage the building of strategic alliances among and
advocating the importance of disability issues to policy makers. organizations of persons with
disabilities and community development organizations, with assistance from the United Nations
system, with a view to incorporating disability issues into development policies
7. Preventive measures aimed at minimizing the causes of disability and the provision of
rehabilitation services should be an integral part of the normal business of Governments, the private
sector and NGOs. Programmes aimed at disability prevention and rehabilitation should be included in
national plans, policies and budgets.
8. Governments should design and adopt a national strategy on prevention of causes of
disabilities and rehabilitation for persons with disabilities.
9. The national strategy should acknowledge the role of all three approaches,
institutional, outreach and community-based, in the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
Community-based approaches, in particular, should be emphasized to achieve maximum coverage and
outreach of services as well as to maximize their cost-effectiveness.
10. The health service delivery structures, both governmental and non-governmental,
should include rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy as well as the
provision of essential assistive device services. Little is known about gender-specific measures and
health care approaches for mental health and physical disabilities among older women and men.
Service provision for mental illness in older people needs attention. Special emphasis should be
placed on ensuring that such services are available at the local level, including rural and urban poor
11. Governments should support the formation of self-help groups of persons with
disabilities in rural and urban poor areas and their federations, with a view to developing their
capacity in mutual support, advocacy and participation in the decision-making process.
V. STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE THE TARGETS OF THE BIWAKO MILLENNIUM
FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION
51. The following strategies should support Governments, in collaboration with civil society
organizations, in the achievement of targets cited in chapter IV.
A. National plan of action (five years) on disability
52. A national plan of action concerning disability is vital to implement the Biwako Millennium
Framework for Action, 2003-2012, at the national and subnational levels.
Strategy 1. Governments should develop, in collaboration with organizations of persons
with disabilities and other civil society organizations, and adopt by 2004, a five-year comprehensive
national plan of action to implement the targets and strategies of the Biwako Millennium Framework
for Action, 2003-2012. The national plan should have inclusive policies and programmes for
integrating persons with disabilities into mainstream development plans and programmes.
B. Promotion of a rights-based approach to disability issues
53. A rights-based approach should be taken to advance disability issues. The civil, cultural,
economic, political and social rights of persons with disabilities should be addressed and protected.
Disability issues should be integrated into national plans relating to development and into a human
rights agenda. Globally, more than 40 countries have adopted non-discrimination laws on disability,
but only 9 countries in the Asian and Pacific region have done so.
Strategy 2. Governments should examine the adoption of laws and policies and review of
existing laws to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, especially to ensure non-discrimination.
They should include a clear and specific definition of what constitutes discrimination against persons
with disabilities. Such laws and policies should comply with United Nations standards on human
rights and disabilities. Persons with disabilities should have equal access to effective remedies to
enforce their rights under such laws.
Strategy 3. National human rights institutions should draw special attention to the rights
of persons with disabilities and integrate them into the full range of their functions. Governments
should consider, according to the concrete circumstances of their countries and areas, establishing an
independent disability rights institution to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.
Strategy 4. Governments should ensure that persons with disabilities, including disability
groups in civil society, fully participate from an early stage in helping to shape the laws and policies
that will affect their lives and in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of these laws and
policies and in recommending improvements.
Strategy 5. States should consider ratifying the core international human rights treaties.3
After consultation with disability groups, Governments should include specific information about the
rights of persons with disabilities in reports submitted to treaty monitoring bodies under the treaties
they have ratified.
Strategy 6. Governments should consider support for and contribute to the work of the Ad
Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 56/168 of 19 December 2001 to consider
proposals for a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights
of persons with disabilities in the elaboration of the comprehensive and integral international
convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities and should
encourage and facilitate the full participation of a wide range of disability groups from all regions of
the world in contributing to the Committees work.
Strategy 7. Governments should include persons with disabilities and their organizations,
in their procedures at the national, regional and international levels, concerning the drafting and
adoption of the proposed human rights convention on disability, (as decided by General Assembly
resolution 56/168 of 19 December 2001) which by passing, will ensure a strong consumer-influenced
monitoring mechanism on the rights and responsibilities of persons with disabilities.
C. Disability statistics/common definition of disabilities for planning
54. Lack of adequate data has been one of the most significant factors leading to the neglect of
disability issues, including the development of policy and measures to monitor and evaluate its
implementation, in the region. In many developing countries, the data collected do not reflect the full
extent of disability prevalence. This limitation results in part from the conceptual framework adopted,
the scope and coverage of the surveys undertaken, as well as the definitions, classifications and the
methodology used for the collection of data on disability. It is also recognized that a common system
of defining and classifying disability is not uniformly applied in the region. In this connection, a wider
usage of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health in countries of the
region will be expected to provide a base for the development of such a common system of defining
and classifying disability.
3 Six core human rights treaties are: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Strategy 8. Governments are encouraged to develop, by 2005, their system for disabilityrelated
data collection and analysis and to produce relevant statistics disaggregated by disability to
support policy-making and programme planning.
Strategy 9. Governments are encouraged to adopt, by 2005, definitions on disability based
on the Guidelines and Principles for the Development of Disability Statistics,4 which will allow
intercountry comparison in the region.
D. Strengthened community-based approaches to the prevention of causes of disability,
rehabilitation and empowerment of persons with disabilities
55. Many developing countries in the region are now beginning to augment and replace
traditional institutional and centralized rehabilitation programmes and projects with approaches better
suited to their social and economic environments of poverty, high unemployment and limited
resources for social services. Community-based rehabilitation programmes form the hub of such
strategies. The community-based approach is particularly appropriate for the prevention of causes of
disability, early identification and intervention of children with disabilities, reaching out to persons
with disabilities in rural areas, raising awareness and advocacy for the inclusion of persons with
disabilities in all activities in the community, including social, cultural and religious activities.
Education, training and employment needs could also be met by this approach. It is essential that
persons with disabilities exercise choice and control over initiatives for community-based
Strategy 10. Governments, in collaboration with organizations of persons with disabilities
and civil society organizations, should immediately develop national policies, if that has not yet been
done, to promote community-based approaches for the prevention of causes of disability, for
rehabilitation and for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. Community based rehabilitation
(CBR) perspectives should reflect a human rights approach and be modelled on the independent living
concept, which includes peer counselling.
VI. COOPERATION AND SUPPORT IN PURSUANCE OF THE BIWAKO
MILLENNIUM FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION
A. Subregional cooperation and collaboration
56. One of the important focuses of the new regional framework is to strengthen cooperation and
collaboration among Governments at the subregional level. Countries in the same subregion share
common concerns, aspirations and constraints and are in the best position to provide mutual support
and collaboration. In this regard, Governments in each subregion are requested to formulate their own
subregional priorities and a plan of action to seek mutual support in the implementation of the Biwako
Millennium Framework for Action.
4 United Nations publication, Sales No. E.01.XVII.15.
Strategy 11. Governments, in cooperation with relevant NGOs, such as the Asian and
Pacific Disability Forum, and self-help organizations of persons with disabilities in each subregion of
Asia and the Pacific, should establish, by 2004, subregional mechanisms to support governments to
achieve targets and strategies contained in the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action.
Strategy 12. Governments in each subregion should collaborate with relevant NGOs in
establishing focal points within appropriate subregional organizations with a view to coordinating
subregional activities on disability.
B. Regional collaboration
1. Collaboration with the Asian and Pacific Development Center on Disability
57. The Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability will be established towards 2004 at
Bangkok, as a legacy of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, to promote the
empowerment of persons with disabilities and a barrier-free society in the Asian and Pacific region.
The Center will serve persons with disabilities and persons working with them in training and
information support in the Asian and Pacific region.
Strategy 13. Governments, the United Nations system, civil society organizations and the
private sector should collaborate, support and take advantage of the training and communication
capability of the Center in the field of disability in the region. Capacity-building of persons with
disabilities in the Pacific should be also clearly addressed by the Center.
2. Networking among centres of excellence in focused areas
58. There are government institutes and agencies, as well as civil society and private
organizations involved in research and development, implementing new approaches in the field of
disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region. It would be useful to identify those
institutes/agencies/organizations as centres of excellence and to facilitate the exchange among them of
information, experiences and personnel to promote networking, with a view to maximizing
cooperation and collaboration. The Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability could play a
supporting role in establishing and maintaining such a network.
Strategy 14. Governments, civil society organizations and the private sector should
establish a network of centres of excellence in focused areas to maximize cooperation and
Strategy 15. ESCAP and other United Nations agencies should assist in the establishment
of a network of centres of excellence in focused areas through the identification and promotion of
Strategy 16. Governments of the region should enter into a suitable agreement on trade,
technology transfer and human resource development for fast and efficient sharing of resources.
Governments should also promote regional cooperation, share information and document good
practices on the achievements of he Biwako Millennium Framework targets.
C. Interregional collaboration
59. The Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, has influenced developments
at the international level, in particular in countries in Africa. The African Decade of Disabled
Persons, 2000-2009, was declared in 1999. It is also expected that the Arab Decade of Disabled
Persons, 2003-2012, will be declared, which will coincide with the newly extended regional
framework on disability in the Asian and Pacific region. In order to strengthen regional programmes,
learn from other regional experiences and create synergy among the regional frameworks on
disability, interregional exchange activities are important.
Strategy 17. The Asian and Pacific region, the African region and the Western Asian
region should strengthen their cooperation and collaboration to create synergy in implementing
regional decades through interregional exchange of information, experiences and expertise, which will
mutually benefit all the regions.
VII. MONITORING AND REVIEW
A. Organization of regional and subregional meetings
60. The Commission, by its resolution 58/4 of 22 May 2002 on promoting an inclusive, barrierfree
and rights-based society for people with disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region in the twentyfirst
century, requested the Executive Secretary of ESCAP to report to the Commission biennially
until the end of the Decade on the progress made in implementation of that resolution. ESCAP should
convene biennial meetings to review achievements and to identify action that may be required to
implement the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action. At those meetings, the representatives of
national coordination committees on disability matters comprising government ministries/agencies,
NGOs, self-help organizations and the media will be invited to present reports to review progress in
the implementation of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action at the national and subnational
levels. Self-help organizations of persons with disabilities should be encouraged to participate
actively in the review process. Regional meetings should focus one at a time on the targets adopted in
the following thematic areas:
(a) Self-help organizations of persons with disabilities, women with disabilities,
education, training and employment;
(b) Access to built environments and access to information and communications;
(c) Poverty alleviation through social security and sustainable livelihoods.
61. Governments in each subregion should organize subregional meetings to review
achievements and to identify action that may be required to implement the Biwako Millennium
Framework for Action based on their subregional priorities and action plan in a similar manner as at
the regional level described in the above paragraph.
B. Regional working group to coordinate and monitor the
Biwako Millennium Framework for Action
62. A regional working group comprising the United Nations system, Governments and civil
society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities in the region should meet
regularly to coordinate and monitor implementation of the Biwako Millennium Framework for
C. Mid-point review of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action
63. A mid-point review of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action should be conducted.
Based on the review, the targets and strategic plans for the second half of the Decade may be modified
and new targets and strategic plans formulated.
. . . . .