Concluding Remarks

The ESCWA Disability Framework presents disability as an issue that cuts across all spheres of life. Disability is not merely a component disaggregated from the overall goal of “leaving no one behind”, but rather a larger commitment to enable vulnerable populations through a human rights-based approach. The Framework can be an effective tool to convey urgent priorities for persons with disabilities and highlights the need for taking action and working towards inclusive societies. The Framework mobilizes the attention and participation of the main stakeholders, improves data and statistical system processes and provides policymakers with a tool for monitoring and reporting.

The framework is a stepping stone to bridge the gap between policy, persons with disabilities and statistics. The framework lends itself to localization at the national and regional levels by creating a common platform for effective user-producer dialogue in an equal environment. In this way, it increases ownership of indicators and statistics among civil societies and policymakers and enhances political and financial support for the development of national statistical systems. The data assessment implemented to develop the framework also indicates that countries’ level of readiness to compile and disseminate SDG-related disability is weak in the region.

To genuinely work towards inclusive societies, questions need to be asked from the perspective of persons with disabilities. Unless this is done, it is not surprising to see very few indicators with real relevance for people with disabilities available, specifically in the area of accessibility and sustainable cities and communities. For instance, the types of violence a girl with disabilities faces are different from those faced by a girl without disabilities and are not presently captured in the available standard indicators of violence against women. Therefore, it is important to research types of issues faced by persons with disabilities, which can be completely different from those faced by people without disabilities. 

The framework provides a policy-data integration monitoring tool interlinking social, economic, environmental and institutional areas and fostering interaction and dialogue between policymakers, persons with disabilities and data producers. The framework is a work in progress that enables all stakeholders to understand the gaps in policy and data in addressing issues related to persons with disabilities and work towards tailored indicators to allow for effective monitoring of policy and planned development priorities.