Cities leaving no one behind: COVID-19 responses for persons with disabilities, from policy to practice

This online discussion aims to foster disability rights at all governance levels, and in collaboration with a wide array of stakeholders, including advocates from the sport and creative sectors. It will address the importance of ensuring inclusive approaches in providing services to persons with disabilities in the multidimensional context of the COVID-19 crisis and will highlight good practices across regions. By presenting the summary of the UNESCO tools on disability inclusion targeting national and local authorities, this discussion will also reflect on the importance of using an intersectional framework of analysis that would examine other types of vulnerabilities linked to gender, age, and ethnicity, among others.

The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in asymmetric impacts to persons with disabilities, whose vulnerabilities are compounded due to gaps in basic health services and social protection systems. Their access to information and health care is further challenged because public health systems often times do not have the adequate resources to provide them to all sectors of the population. Government responses to the crisis, both at the national and local levels, should therefore take into consideration the pre-existing marginalization and discrimination faced by persons with disabilities. Local authorities, who are at the forefront of these challenges, have a major role to play in providing inclusive social policy responses and service delivery.

This webinar will address the importance of ensuring inclusive approaches in providing services to persons with disabilities in the context of the multidimensional context of the COVID-19 crisis.

Within the framework of the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD), UNESCO is contributing to the UN joint programme to support countries design and implement disability-inclusive response and recovery planning for COVID-19.

UNESCO is developing two tools on disability inclusion targeting national and local authorities: the first tool is a policy-based guideline that will foster inclusive governance and the second tool is a practical guide in the implementation of programmes and the enhancement of service delivery related to the protection and inclusion of persons with disabilities. The objectives of the UNESCO initiatives are the following: to build the capacity of city authorities to develop disability-inclusive responses to COVID-19 and beyond, raise the profile of disability inclusion as a priority policy response in the context of COVID-19, and advocate for disability rights at the local level.