Regional Leadership Conference of Persons with Disabilities South Asia 2010
Regional Leadership Conference of Persons with Disabilities South Asia 2010

Regional Leadership Conference of Persons with Disabilities South Asia 2010

  • Post category:Events

Regional Leadership Conference of Persons with Disabilities South Asia 2010

The Government of Pakistan has officially endorsed the creation of the South Asian Disability Forum (SADF). This forum aims to connect various Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) and NGOs across South Asia to address disability issues from a regional perspective.

The decision to establish SADF was made at the conclusion of the Regional Leadership Conference for Persons with Disabilities. This conference was jointly organized by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education, British Council, STEP, Telenor Pakistan, and Sightsavers. Over 150 representatives with disabilities from both within the country and abroad attended the event.

In collaboration with governments, the Asia-Pacific Center on Disability (APCD), corporate sectors, international NGOs, regional agencies, UN agencies, and other partners, SADF aims to prioritize the inclusion of persons with disabilities in development agendas. The SADF secretariat will be based in Islamabad.

A significant announcement at the conference was made by Muhammad Ather Tariq, Secretary for the Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education, who revealed that the new National Labor Policy will increase the employment quota for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) from 2% to 3%.

Key Conference Highlights

  • Regional Concerns: Participants emphasized the growing concern for disability issues within the region and called for actions by all stakeholders, including government and non-government sectors, to ensure PWDs enjoy equal rights and opportunities.
  • Attitudinal Barriers: The conference highlighted the need to address and replace exclusionary terms with more inclusive language. Terms like “special parks” and “special buildings” should be replaced with more inclusive terminology.
  • Judicial and Administrative Reforms: Recognizing that current systems often do not cater to the needs of PWDs, participants urged for reforms to make governance and judicial processes more inclusive.
  • Research and Development: There was a call for increased research and development to demonstrate good practices and raise public awareness about disability issues.
  • Inclusive Education and Training: Emphasizing the importance of inclusive education and training, participants urged for support from governments, APCD, corporate sectors, international NGOs, and other partners to ensure educational opportunities for PWDs.
  • Community-Based Inclusive Development: The conference stressed the importance of community-based inclusive development programs. It emphasized that accessibility standards should be implemented in the construction and refurbishment of commercial and public buildings and in disability-sensitive communications.
  • Poverty Reduction Programs: Participants advocated for the mainstreaming of disability issues in poverty reduction programs from a regional perspective.

Executive Insights

Akiie Ninomiya, Executive Director of APCD, praised Pakistan’s potential and geographic location, making it ideal for establishing the SADF. He highlighted mobility as a major issue for PWDs and called for South Asian countries to focus on health, education, and community involvement for PWDs to enable their full participation as useful citizens.

Conclusion

The Regional Leadership Conference for Persons with Disabilities marked a significant step towards inclusive development in South Asia. The endorsement of SADF by the Government of Pakistan and the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders underscore the commitment to addressing disability issues at a regional level.

Group Picture of Regional Leadership Conference of Persons with Disabilities South Asia 2010