NEWS: Australia Commits to Leading Disability Inclusion in Development in Pacific Region

Posted on 30 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, News, Policy & Legislation | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Australian government agency devoted to international assistance programs, AusAid, released the following statement yesterday.


AA 08 60 29 September 2008
Australia Leads Support for People With Disabilities in Asia Pacific
Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan, today committed Australia to a leadership role in supporting people with disability in the Asia Pacific.

An estimated 650 million people across the world have a disability and about 80 per cent of the population with a disability live in developing countries. The Asia Pacific region is home to two-thirds of this population.

“The Australian Government recognises that poverty is both a cause and consequence of disability and is committed to ensuring that the benefits of development reach those who are most excluded,” Mr McMullan said.

Australia is providing $45 million over two years to develop an avoidable blindness program and the development of a comprehensive disability strategy to guide Australia’s international development assistance program.

Mr McMullan said the Government’s new emphasis on disability reflected Australia’s commitment to increasing social participation for all.

Mr McMullan released the draft strategy for consultation today at the International Conference on Disability, Disadvantage and Development in the Pacific and Asia on 29 September – 1 October.

“This conference shows that there is a growing interest in disability across the region and increasing recognition that people with disability, who often count amongst the poorest of the poor, have an important role to play in national development.

“I am determined that Australia will take a lead in this respect,” said Mr McMullan.

He said the conference also represented a timely opportunity to discuss the draft disability strategy with disability representatives, many of whom have contributed to its development, before its official launch later this year.

The conference aims to exchange knowledge and promote action on disability in developing countries. Organised by the Australian Disability and Development Consortium, it has attracted over 200 participants from the region and will open at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on 29 September.

Australia has recently ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and, in addition to a disability strategy for its aid program, is preparing a national disability policy to be released in 2009.

The text for the above statement statement was taken from the AusAid website at:

More information about AusAid efforts to include disability issues in their assistance programs is available at:

Looking to make your own mainstream international development organization more disability-inclusive? Check the page on Resources, Toolkits, and Funding for a listing of past We Can Do posts with links to resources related to inclusive development.

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I first received a copy of AusAids’ statement via the AsiaPacificDisability email discussion group.

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