- August 31, 2021

“It is vitally important for UNICEF to adopt a disability inclusion strategy, considering its leadership within the UN on the disability agenda,” said Vladimir Cuk, IDA’s Executive Director.

Last month, UNICEF convened a consultation with IDA, which covered the gaps and priorities related to children with disabilities, steps for a transformative research agenda and UNICEF’s added value on the disability agenda.

Rosangela Berman Bieler, Chief of the UNICEF Disability Section, recalled the successful actions taken through the IDA-UNICEF collaboration, including inclusive humanitarian actions, empowerment of youth with disabilities, and strategic political collaborations. This newest collaboration will feed into the UNICEF Disability Strategy and Action Plan, as well as the Global Research Agenda for Children with Disabilities.

The in-depth discussions looked at the key research needs and UNICEF’s added value in the disability space as they develop the future Strategy and the Research Agenda.

While collaborations between UNICEF and IDA have focused on the global level, participants realised that there is heightened need to accelerate contact and engagement between OPDs and UNICEF Country Offices at the national level.

OPDs highlighted the potential role of UNICEF as an ally of OPDs to secure change from governments, which requires better connections, information sharing, creating opportunities, and flexible modalities for partnerships.

Research topics and priority actions that were discussed included:

  • protection of children with disabilities in humanitarian settings and situation of risks;
  • inclusive education for children with disabilities, particularly for underrepresented groups such as children with intellectual disabilities, children with deafblindness;
  • early childhood development;
  • social protection and the extra costs associated to disability;
  • mainstreaming disability through twin-track; and
  • intersectionality approaches across UNICEF’s work.

The IDA-UNICEF consultation was attended by representatives from the IDA Board, Programme Committee and Secretariat.

UNICEF came away from the consultation with an understanding on the fundamental role of OPDs in providing essential insights into the strategy and the research agenda processes. UNICEF has committed to continuing consultations with OPDs so that they can share their priorities and contribute to setting the research agenda on the rights of children with disabilities. Future rounds of consultations, surveys and interviews are foreseen through 2021 and into the beginning of 2022.

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