Tag Archives: Employment

The Secretary General Remarks at Launch of Policy Brief on Persons With Disabilities and COVID-19

New York, 5 May 2020 (recorded 4 May)

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every aspect of our societies, revealing the extent of exclusion that the most marginalized members of society experience.

Today, I would like to highlight how the pandemic is affecting the world’s 1 billion people with disabilities.

Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access education, healthcare and income opportunities or participate in the community.

This is exacerbated for those in humanitarian and fragile contexts.

People with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty, and they experience higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse.

The pandemic is intensifying these inequalities — and producing new threats.

Today we are launching a report that recommends a disability-inclusive response and recovery for everyone.

People with disabilities are among the hardest hit by COVID-19.

They face a lack of accessible public health information, significant barriers to implement basic hygiene measures, and inaccessible health facilities.

If they contract COVID-19, many are more likely to develop severe health conditions, which may result in death.

The share of COVID-19 related deaths in care homes — where older people with disabilities are overrepresented — ranges from 19 per cent to an astonishing 72 per cent.

In some countries, healthcare rationing decisions are based on discriminatory criteria, such as age or assumptions about quality or value of life, based on disability.

We cannot let this continue.

We must guarantee the equal rights of people with disabilities to access healthcare and lifesaving procedures during the pandemic.

Persons with disabilities who faced exclusion in employment before this crisis, are now more likely to lose their job and will experience greater difficulties in returning to work.

Yet, only 28 per cent of people with significant disabilities have access to benefits — and only 1 per cent in low-income countries.

People with disabilities — particularly, women and girls — face a greater risk of domestic violence, which has surged during the pandemic.

I urge governments to place people with disabilities at the center of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and to consult and engage people with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities have valuable experience to offer of thriving in situations of isolation and alternate working arrangements.

Looking to the future, we have a unique opportunity to design and implement more inclusive and accessible societies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

 Last year, I launched the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy to ensure the UN system is doing its part.

The Strategy represents the UN’s commitment to achieve transformative and lasting change.

When we secure the rights of people with disabilities, we are investing in our common future.

United Nations Zambia in promotion of Youth Participation

By Shiho Kuwahara, University Volunteer, UNIC Lusaka

In order to promote youth participation in development, the United Nations in Zambia has in

A UNYPP member participates in an SDG awareness creation activit in Lusaka. Photo: UNIC/Lusaka/2017/Maseko

A UNYPP member participates in an SDG awareness creation activity in Lusaka. Photo: UNIC/Lusaka/2017/Maseko

partnership with the Zambian Government, through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Child Development put together a group of youth with representation from all 10 provinces of Zambia under the UN Youth Partnership Platform-Zambia (UNYPP-Z). The group consists of youth aged between 15 to 35 years who are willing to work with UN Zambia, the Government and other partners on challenges of young people’s development and promote youth participation in decision making processes. UNYPP-Z is dealing with policies, programme development for young people as well as monitoring and evaluation.

There UNYPP-Z aims to facilitate knowledge and information sharing about youth policies and programmes, to create greater awareness on both international and domestic policies among youth groups and youth-serving partners, to strengthen the partnership between the UN and youth for meaningful youth participation in the development activities. The group also seeks to identify and raise issues and innovative programme delivery models for young people’s needs.

The Zambia UN Youth Partnership Platform includes a total of 23 members with one representative from each province being a focal point of each National Youth Policy Thematic areas such as education, employment and entrepreneurship, health and protection of rights and civic engagement.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the UN made selections of the UNYPP members following criteria such as age, gender balance, and educational or professional backgrounds and UN areas of focus,” said Francis Jere, UNYPP Zambia President.

“Young people are able to deepen their knowledge about development policies and activities, and take some action making use of it. On the other hand, the UN can get recommendations on priorities for the UN’s programmes in Zambia from the youth perspective and identify their actual needs, added Jere.

The tenure for the members is two years and those who have completed their terms can still continue to contribute to UNYPP-Z activities in terms of mentoring for new members. In addition, previous members remain resource persons for future youth related activities of the UN which need networking and collaboration.

Youth participation in development is key because they are the future. Youth participation is also a demonstration of the theme of “Leaving No One Behind” as Zambia works towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.