In a change of practice from the Millennium Development Goals which preceded it, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for disaggregation of indicators by disability status. Both the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) in article 31 and the 2030 Agenda stress the importance of data for the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of more disability-inclusive policies. Disaggregated data is important to empower people and strengthen the dynamic relationship between people and their governments, especially when the aim of evidence-based inclusive policies is to “leave no one behind”.

Persons with disabilities are mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in article 25 and in nine of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Reference is also made to the marginalized persons, such as “persons living in situations of vulnerability”, which includes persons with disabilities. Moreover, within the 232 SDG indicators there are 41 mentions the word “disability”, “vulnerability” or “disadvantaged groups”, in the indicators themselves or their targets or their metadata (disaggregation), in areas such as population, poverty, food security, education, employment, population settlements, conflict, access to services, violence and human rights.

Disaggregating data is not a new subject. Countries have been disaggregating their data by common characteristics (sex, age, location) and some even cross-classifying them with socioeconomic characteristics such as employment and education (and less frequently wealth, access to resources, etc.). However, disaggregation by vulnerable subpopulations, including persons with disabilities was only given due importance in the 2030 Agenda.

The global data show that people with disabilities are disproportionately disadvantaged. Excluded from social and economic activities, they often live in poverty. Comprehensive and inclusive policy analysis, requires data disaggregated by disability status that is cross-cutting with other socioeconomic characteristics to address all people, without exemption, in formulating any developmental policies.

There is no existing policy-data integration monitoring tool for persons with disabilities based on CRPD and the SDGs. Having compiled 115 indicators, the ESCWA Disability Framework was presented to the Inter-agency and Expert Group Meeting on Improving Disability Statistics in the Sustainable Development Goals (Cairo, 8 to 20 September 2018). The objectives of the Framework are to guide the data collection efforts to generate reliable and comparable disability data for around six per cent of the world’s persons with disabilities who live in the Arab States; to develop a generic tool to support national statistical systems in engaging with their policy counterparts in identifying and prioritizing statistical information needs; and to support and inspire policymakers, civil society and academia to collaborate in designing more inclusive, responsive, effective and evidence-based policies.The first part of this technical publication elaborates on the mandates governing the production of disability statistics, the purpose of producing disability information and the methodology employed to develop the ESCWA Disability Framework. The second part of the publication presents the Framework and the interlinkages between the SDGs and the CRPD. The report ends with concluding remarks.

The ESCWA Disability SDG-CRPD Framework is supported by standardized metadata as a guiding tool for data collection efforts in producing evidence for programme formulation and policy aimed at improving the lives of persons with disabilities. The compilation of available indicators in the present Framework sets up a scenario for further investigation of any additional policy issues or indicators from the perspective of persons with disabilities.

[1]  The number of persons in the Arab region with disabilities is estimated at nearly 60 million persons (based on 15 per cent world average) out of the world’s 1 billion.