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Speech by Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at the Side Event on Disability Data



Distinguished Under Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin,

Distinguished Vice President Jia Yong,

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen:

I wish to welcome you all to today's thematic side event on disability data.

There are more than 1 billion persons with disabilities in the world, accounting for 15% of the total population. Persons with disabilities are equal members of the human family. The issue of persons with disabilities is an important one that we should face together. It is a glorious mission to help persons with disabilities gain equal rights and achieve inclusive development.

Twenty percent of the world’s poorest people have disabilities and 80% of them live in developing countries. In the era of globalization, we must follow the principle of shared development through consultation and collaboration, strengthen international and regional cooperation, and work together to promote the development of the global cause of persons with disabilities. We should increase support for developing countries and the least developed ones in particular, to help them build up their capacity so that they can attain a higher level of economic and social development.

All countries should endeavor to find a path suited to their own national conditions for the development of the cause of persons with disabilities. While efforts should be made to promote inclusive development, attention should be paid to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. The United Nations and other international organizations should pay greater attention to poverty reduction and other sustainable development goals. They should promote civil and political rights, economic, social, and cultural rights, and development rights in a balanced manner.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes specific goals for ensuring equal access for persons with disabilities to quality education, full employment and decent work, and for taking care of the special needs of persons with disabilities in urban planning. Countries should take practical measures to implement the sustainable development goals concerning persons with disabilities and their obligations under the convention, actively encourage and support the participation of all sectors of society, especially non-governmental organizations for persons with disabilities, attach importance to the important role played by grass-roots organizations so as to ensure that commitments take effect on the ground, and truly benefit persons with disabilities.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires a significant increase in the availability of high-quality, timely, and reliable data on income, gender and disability among others. To address the issue of persons with disabilities, it is necessary to have a clear picture of their living conditions and actual needs. Data are crucial for formulating national development plans and policies. The United Nations should also pay attention to ways and means for helping countries strengthen their capacity for data collection.

With more than 85 million persons with disabilities, China has the largest population with disabilities in the world. As the largest developing country, China faces unparalleled difficulties and challenges in the cause of persons with disabilities. It is our unshirkable responsibility to guarantee equal opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in social life, and share material and cultural achievements of the society. In pursuit of the concept of people-centered development, the Chinese government has created a working mechanism of coordination that is government-led and involves all sectors of society. It extensively mobilizes all social groups and taps all the resources of the society to be a part of and give support to the cause of persons with disabilities. President Xi Jinping pointed out in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that as China develops, it will continue to protect and improve people's livelihood, develop the cause of persons with disabilities, and strengthen rehabilitation services for disabilities. we are implementing the five-year development program for persons with disabilities in sync with the national plan for economic and social development. We publish a statistical bulletin on the development of the cause of persons with disabilities each year, which has played a critical role in monitoring and evaluating the progress of implementation.

Later, the representative of the China Disabled Persons' Federation will share with you some of China's best practices in the development of persons with disabilities and in in the field of statistics in particular. We look forward to your participation in the discussion so as to learn from each other and work together to promote the sustainable development of persons with disabilities and their “equality, participation, and wellbeing ” .

Finally, I wish the meeting a success.

Thank you.

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