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UNESCO’s vision is the creation of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens. Within the context of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and disability-inclusive Sustainable Development Goals, UNESCO recognises the need to:

  • Prepare national policies and strongly encourages local governments to introduce specific legislation to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities.
  • Define governments’ aspirations regarding services for persons with disabilities, including equal access to information and knowledge, education and the use of ICTs.
  • Develop national standards for public goods in terms of products and services, such as accessibility guidelines, recommendations, curricula and other mechanisms to ensure that these standards are maintained.
  • Build the capacity of professional communities and persons with disabilities to provide access to information and knowledge, including hard and software developers and teachers.
  • Adapt and personalize ICTs to the nature of specific disabilities, particularly for learning and teaching purposes.
  • Enhance social and economic integration through improved access to information and knowledge.
  • Collect statistical data and carry out research.

In order to promote a better understanding of issues related to disability and mobilize support for the recognition of the dignity, rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities, and of the benefits of their integration in society, UNESCO has undertaken an action plan centred around thematic priorities:

  • Research and evidence-based data collection
  • Development of policies and strategies on inclusion of persons with disabilities
  • Building an enabling environment and raising awareness
  • Development of appropriate tools for inclusion
  • Capacity building


About the Initiative "Share your story for development"

The aim of this project is to demonstrate that persons with disabilities from all age groups and backgrounds can be and often are ‘empowered’, active agents and contributing members to society. In other words, this platform aims to mainstream a shift of perspective on disability-issues, demonstrating that removing barriers to participation can enable persons with disabilities to realise their potential and contribute to development. This view promotes a human rights approach that posits all individuals as equal and empowered on an equal footing. Governments, UN agencies, civil society organisations, academic institutions and the private sector, are encouraged to initiate new collaborations and embrace the perspectives and needs of persons with disabilities in their policies and initiatives.

Evaluating and defining what ‘empowerment’ involves varies contextually and in connection to multiple factors. A comprehensive methodology has been developed in order to identify and to explore the enabling factors and facilitators for persons with disabilities around the world to be empowered, what supported them in their efforts, as well as the barriers encountered throughout their life paths. It includes individuals located through self-identification and recommendations of different stakeholders. Different ‘Categories of achievements’ have been identified, including education, laws, policies, institutions, accessible communication, healthcare and rehabilitative services, etc., in order to gather statistical information for the consideration of governments, policy-makers, and other decision-makers.

The online platform “Story for Development” is created by UNESCO and supported by the Nippon Foundation. This collection of stories constitutes an important set of case studies and data from which governments, disabled people organisations, other civil society organisations, as well as the private sector, can draw to develop informed policies, community actions, and business plans.