The Disability and Development Gap
Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre Working Paper Series: No. 21
21 Pages Posted: 31 May 2019
Date Written: May 20, 2013
International development efforts up to and including the Millennium Development Goals have improved the lives of millions of people over the past 15 years through significant advances in health, education, economic development, communications and human rights. However, in this paper, we argue that there has been little attention to the systematic inclusion of the world’s one billion persons with disabilities in these initiatives – and because they have not been included they have lagged behind their non-disabled peers. This ‘lag’ has created what we term here a ‘disability and development gap’ in many countries where the socioeconomic status of persons with disabilities has remained stationary while the well-being of many of their fellow citizens has moved ahead.
We further argue that unless specific measures are taken to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in current and future international development efforts, including the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals, the 15% of the world’s population who live with a physical, sensory (i.e. deafness, blindness) intellectual or mental health disability are at risk of continuing to live in poverty and social isolation, remaining poorer in both relative and absolute terms as their non-disabled peers rise out of poverty.
Keywords: disability, poverty, inequality, inclusion, development
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