Following the 2019 Joint Statement on inclusive social protection systems, the disability and social protection communities have worked intensely over 3 years to create momentum, enhance awareness, strengthen capacities, and build stronger evidence on how to build disability-inclusive social protection systems. In parallel to the work of WB, GIZ and others, the related UNPRPD financed programme implemented jointly by ILO, UNICEF, and IDA in collaboration with many partners and strong engagement of DPOs has been an important catalyst for this work.

As the programme is coming to an end in March 2022, it is important to take stock of where we stand – and what are the next steps in our journey - to ensure adequate and comprehensive social protection benefits are accessible for all people with disabilities. Hence, ILO, UNICEF, IDA, UNPRPD, DFAT, WB, ADB, FCDO, GIZ, Norad, HelpAge, EU, the UN Joint SDG Fund and UN ESCAP are organising this online event with the following objectives:

  1. Bring together key actors working on disability-inclusive social protection.
  2. Show-casing current thinking on key issues of disability-inclusive social protection: what have we done and learnt since the adoption of the joint statement regarding how to strengthen the inclusivity of social protection systems and what questions remain open and require further discussion, research, and experiences?
  3. Strengthen momentum for building disability-inclusive social protection systems and create a joint vision on how to move forward.

To this end, the conference had a high-level segment, with technical sessions on key questions around designing and implementing disability-inclusive social protection policies, programmes, and delivery mechanisms, as well as sessions to report on a series of regional webinars that discussed trends specific to certain country contexts and an event of DPOs.

The event was held on 16 and 17 March 2022. Sessions were conducted in English, with Sign Language Interpretation and captioning on all sessions, and simultaneous translation in French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic on selected sessions.

Agenda - Day 1

Opening session and regional perspectives - 16 Mar, 2022 | 02:00 PM - 03:10 PM CET

During preparatory meetings prior to the conference, regional Organisations of Persons with Disabilities, international organisations and development partners discussed regional trends, opportunities, and challenges in relation to social protection and inclusion of persons with disabilities in each region. During the session, rapporteurs from each region will share the key takeaways from their meeting, showing the diversity of regional contexts and the state of play of social protection systems support for the inclusion of people with disability.

Measuring disability related costs for social protection - 16 Mar, 2022 | 03:20 PM - 04:10 PM CET

Due to the diversity of barriers people with disabilities face as well as the lack of support services, persons with disabilities and their families must spend more than those without disabilities to access essential services or participate in social, cultural and economic life. In addition to these direct extra costs, they also face indirect costs in terms of fewer employment opportunities and a reduction of household income due to the need for family members, often women and girls, foregoing work and education to provide care and support for the persons with disabilities. Social protection systems should contribute to addressing these disability extra costs. However, these costs vary depending on the needs of people with disabilities and their environment and are therefore difficult to measure.

Designing cash transfer for inclusion - 16 Mar, 2022 | 04:10 PM - 05:00 PM CET

Cash transfer programs and schemes contribute to fulfilling two functions for people with disabilities: ensuring income security and covering disability-related extra costs across the life cycle. Reflecting on the diversity of contexts, this session will present how different countries design, adapt and combine mainstream and disability-specific cash transfer schemes and programs to progressively fulfil those two functions.

Coverage of costs to access health care and assistive technology- 16 Mar, 2022 | 04:10 PM - 05:00 PM CET

People with disabilities tend to have higher need for health services on average compared to the broader population, including rehabilitation and assistive products. They also face more barriers and ultimately higher costs and are more at risks of catastrophic health expenditures. This session examines efforts in different countries to cover the cost of health care and assistive devices for people with disabilities across the life cycle.

Agenda - Day 2

Social protection and children with disabilities- 17 Mar, 2022 | 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM CET

Due to social stigma, lack of support to their families and other barriers, children with disabilities are more likely to be multidimensionally poor, out of school, to be victims of violence and to be placed in institutions than those without disabilities. The session will present a variety of measures countries implement in conjunction with social protection to improve inclusion of children with disabilities through cash transfers, early identification, access to child and family care, improved case management and access to education.

Social protection and working age adults - 17 Mar, 2022 | 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM CET

Social protection for persons with disabilities in working-age has historically been focused on income replacement and in some contexts institutional care. The session will focus on how social protection systems are evolving to support independent living and the economic inclusion of working-age adults with disabilities. It will present approaches to cover disability-related costs in support of work and to develop support services such as personal assistance.

Social protection and older persons - 17 Mar, 2022 | 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM CET

Prevalence of disability increases significantly with age leading to higher support needs to live independently in the community. While Old age pensions provide important income security, older persons with disabilities may face challenges in accessing them and the value of those benefits are rarely sufficient to meet their needs for specific support, including care in the community, health care and assistive devices. The session will explore how countries seek to develop support systems that facilitate autonomy and life in the community in old age.

Disability assessment, identification and information systems - 17 Mar, 2022 | 03:05 PM - 04:10 PM CET

In order to provide specific support required by persons with disabilities across the life cycle, social protection systems have to identify and assess the support needs of people with disabilities. Due to the diversity of people with disabilities, this has been a challenge in many countries, which often have focused on assessing impairment rather than the set of functional difficulties, support needs and barriers faced by persons with disabilities. Disability assessment mechanisms and related information systems can be the foundation to support effective eligibility determination, case management and policy planning. They have proven also critical for shock responsive social protection. The challenge is to develop context-relevant mechanisms that are easily accessible for persons with disabilities, provide comprehensive information, and are reliable and transparent.

Closing Session: The way forward - 17 Mar, 2022 | 04:20 PM - 05:00 PM CET

The variety of ideas, successful experiences and practices from around the world presented in the conference illustrate the momentum and the shift in the way social protection systems seek to support the inclusion of people with disabilities across the life cycle. However, coverage and adequacy of support remain low in many regions. This session will discuss the financing gap to be addressed as well as some emerging challenges and opportunities in the way forward to progressively provide universal social protection for the inclusion of persons with disabilities across the life cycle.