UNESCAP: New Regional Decade on Disability Starting from 2013

A United Nations meeting held in Bangkok August 20 has encouraged
businesses to embrace the rights and concerns of persons with disabilities,
highlighting the untapped consumer power represented by an estimated 400
million people in the Asia-Pacific region.

Over 60 participants at the two-day regional meeting on South-to-South
Cooperation on Disability, including Government officials and
representatives of businesses and disabled persons' organizations, explored
ways in which business development plans and employment practices could
become more inclusive.

The meeting, held at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific http://www.unescap.org/ (ESCAP) in the Thai capital, adopted a
statement urging leadership development of persons with disabilities and the
promotion of socially inclusive business development as priorities for the
next regional decade on disability.

The Second Asia-Pacific Decade for Disabled Persons will conclude in 2012,
and the Bangkok meeting recommended that governments in the region proclaim
a new regional decade on disability starting from 2013.

"Many of the 400 million or so persons with disabilities in the region live
in rural and isolated areas in conditions of abject poverty, encountering
deep and persistent barriers," noted Nanda Krairiksh, Director of the Social
Development Division of ESCAP.

"Viewing them as contributors to our region's economic dynamism, as
entrepreneurs, employees or an emerging market segment enhances everyone's
prospects for prosperity," she said.

The meeting, organized by ESCAP and the Asia-Pacific Development Centre on
Disability (APCD), in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation
 (JICA), also reviewed the implementation of the Biwako Millennium
Framework for Action - a regional plan for a barrier-free and rights-based
society for persons with disabilities.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

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