This paper constitutes the fourth in the Working Papers Series, which is produced by the Social Development Division of ESCWA. The research presented in this issue was conducted by the Social Policy Section as part of its ongoing efforts aimed at promoting an integrated approach to social policy and at fostering inclusive development in the region. Within that context, the paper responds to the Economic and Social Council resolution of July 2010, which “invites Governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, regional organizations and development partners to exchange views and share information on good policies and practices for mainstreaming social inclusion into social and economic policies at the national, regional and international levels aimed at achieving equity, equality, social inclusion, protection and cohesion, and recognizes existing efforts in this regard”.

This study is being published shortly after the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which was held in New York, 20-22 September 2010, and which sought to remind the international community that MDGs could only be achieved by including the world’s 650 million individuals who are living with disabilities, and by encouraging their participation in the MDG process. The study also serves as a background paper for a report on poverty and disability, which will be submitted to the eighth session of ESCWA’s Committee on Social Development (Beirut, March 2011).

The paper was designed and authored by Ms Dina Tannir, Associate Social Affairs Officer, and has benefited from the overall guidance and comments by Ms Gisela Nauk, Chief of the Social Policy Section, and by the views of Mr Frederico Neto, Director of the Social Development Division. The author is especially grateful to Mr Elias Attieh for his support in collecting disability-related data, and laws and policies in ESCWA member countries. Special thanks also go to Ms Lina Nassar for assisting in compiling statistics from ESCWA region-wide censuses and for editing earlier drafts of the paper. Appreciation is further extended to Ms Lara El Khoury, Ms Tanja Sejersen and Mr. Paul Tacon for their helpful observations. 

The Working Papers Series present preliminary research prepared by ESCWA staff aimed at promoting the exchange of ideas and at stimulating discussion around specific topics. The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ESCWA. Comments and suggestions can be sent through the ESCWA website at: