- September 12, 2019

Strengthening Advocacy for Social Protection Reforms that Promote Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
Exchange and learning week, In cooperation with the Asia Development Bank (ADB) as a part of the 2019 Asia Pacific Social Protection Week (APSPW)

8 - 13 September 2019 | ADB Headquarters, Manila

Clear evidence on inequalities and marginalisation faced by persons with disabilities have contributed to a growing consensus on the critical importance of social protection for inclusion[1]. In Asia Pacific, while many countries have been investing in the development of disability schemes, most persons with disabilities do not yet access adequate social protection, with an overall coverage estimated at 9.7% (ILO, 2018). A workshop organized by UNESCAP in November 2018 highlighted the ongoing progress as well as the different challenges that stakeholders are facing in the development of inclusive social protection. In other forums, organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) within the region have specifically expressed their difficulties to engage meaningfully in social protection reforms.

Committed to tackling these issues, 20 DPO leaders from the Asia and Pacific (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, Philippines) are participating in the first “exchange and learning week - Strengthening Advocacy for Social Protection Reforms that promote Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities”. Organized by IDA and ILO, within the framework of the UNPRPD project on inclusive social protection, the program is organised in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Social Protection Week 2019 (APSPW) organised by the Asian Development Bank in Manila.

The program includes participation of DPOs at the APSPW formal sessions, facilitated exchange between DPOs on different thematic and country case studies as well as specific sessions with intervention from social protection experts from the ILO, UNESCAP, ADB and Mahkota. Sessions cover design and financing of social protection schemes, disability assessment and eligibility determination, children with disabilities, economic empowerment and access to support services among others.

An official session within the APSPW titled “Towards inclusive social protection systems for participation of persons with disabilities” co-sponsored by the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) network has been an opportunity of a dialogue between Social protection experts and DPOs. The session was build on the basis of the  joint statement, launched in February 2019. Jenny Rosanna Damayanti, (Transforming Community for Inclusion Asia Pacific) presented the key messages prepared with all the participating DPO leaders that were pegged on the motto ‘We don’t want to be stuck at home!”, emphasising the importance of social protection in enabling participation and inclusion of all persons with disabilities. 

In addition, Carolyn Dagani (Philippine Federation of the Deaf), on behalf of the whole group, had the opportunity to give remarks in the closing ceremony and emphasised the critical importance of a greater dialogue between social protection practitioners at all levels and DPOs to build truly inclusive social protection systems.

The exchange and learning week is organized by IDA and ILO in the framework of the UNPRPD project on inclusive social protection, in cooperation with ADB and the GLAD network and with the support of Centre for Inclusive Policy, Leonard Cheshire Disability, OXFAM, the Pacific Disability Forum, Mahkota, Special Olympics and UNESCAP. 

[1] Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ report on social protection (2016), World Social Protection report 2018 (ILO), 2018 Report on the World Social Situation (UN DESA), 2018 Disability and Development report (UN DESA)

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