UNICEF wants to give children with disabilities access to an inclusive world

Posted 10 months ago by Bianca Iovino

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has released their Disability Inclusion Policy and Strategy (DIPAS) in order to create a more inclusive world, free from barriers for the 240 million children living with disabilities by 2030.

With actions outlined in the DIPAS being implemented as early as this year, UNICEF plans to have their regional and headquarters Divisional Directors develop a divisional/regional action plan by December, 2023.

Under DIPAS, UNICEF will also increase its organisational budget expenditure by 10 percent by 2030 to progressively accelerate disability inclusion across its programmes and operations, using data from The Centre of Excellence on Data for Children with Disabilities.

UNICEF’s Executive Director, Catherine Russell, said the DIPAS set out a bold vision and clear targets for the entire organisation to advance disability inclusion.

“We need you – your commitment and actions – to ensure that every child with a disability has the same opportunities as their peers without disabilities,” she says.

“Change starts with me, with you, with all of us.” 

Six strategic priorities are outlined in the DIPAS which include: 

  • Prevention of stigma and discrimination
  • Improvement of disability-inclusive services, programmes and workplaces
  • Access to comprehensive community care and support services
  • Access to assistive technology
  • Disability-inclusive action in humanitarian, emergency and fragile contexts
  • Full and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities

The DIPAS was developed through intensive internal and external consultations with United Nations Agencies, Governments, and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities and is guided by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS).

UNICEF pledges that by 2025, all offices will progressively increase the number of employees with disabilities by at least 2 percent, with all regional offices to have at least one dedicated full-time disability specialist to coordinate and support disability inclusion in the region.

By the same year, they plan to mainstream disability inclusion, specifically of children with disabilities, into media communications and advocacy and have 75 percent of UNICEF staff trained in disability inclusion.