Most Arab countries have signed and/or ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Like other international conventions, State Parties have an obligation to align their national legislation and policies with the CRPD, and to report to the CRPD Committee on the progress made periodically. National disability strategies and policies are important tools for aligning national frameworks with the CRPD and are necessary but not sufficient components of CRPD compliance. They provide the enabling policy and legal environment to issue laws, programmes and initiatives to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. Most Arab countries have adopted some form of national disability strategies and policies with this goal in mind. Some are general disability policies, others are more focused on specific themes like digital inclusion, independent living, inclusive education and so on.

This brief aims to map national disability strategies and action plans in the Arab region. It will first look at States’ former and current strategies in this area. Second, it will look at thematic strategies, including both general disability strategies and more specialized strategies for inclusive education, inclusive health or e-accessibility. It aims to assess where countries stand in terms of existing policies and identify gaps.

A comprehensive analysis of all these strategies is beyond the scope of this review. Rather, it will present a quick snapshot of some strengths and weaknesses and identify what thematic or policy areas Arab States can focus on moving forward.