FEEDBACK: Inclusive Economic Growth – Promoting the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities Throughout SDG 8

Posted by: on Jul 17, 2019 | No Comments

Not surprisingly, ending inequalities was at the forefront of most stakeholder’s agendas of this whole first week of reviews of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the High Level Political Forum, in New York.

Drafted by: Angela Kohama, HI Specialist on Inclusive Employment

To my interest, the employment SDG (SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all) was being reviewed globally this year: and one buzzword I could often hear was the promotion of “inclusive economic growth”.

While, clearly this does not mean the same for the different stakeholders gathered at the HLPF – States (high, middle and low income), multilateral and bilateral donors, philanthropic organisations, civil society, corporations…-  all seemed to agree that globally, we are not on track to achieve SDG 8.

This is showed by the vote cast by the +200 participants at the beginning of the SDG8 review official session:

In this debate, the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities laid out three recommendations to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind when looking to achieve SDG 8:

  1. To promote full and decent employment for all persons with disabilities, equality, human rights, sustainability, participation, inclusion, and accessibility must be the core principles, in line with article 27 of CRPD, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the International Labour Organization’s convention 159.
  2. The employment of persons with disabilities must be included as part of mainstream employment promotion programs, especially those targeted at a specific population such as youth and women with disabilities.
  3. The state must ensure that national government legislation protects persons with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in all matters of employment. This includes the denial of reasonable accommodation as a form of discrimination, and requires that more attention be given to the situation of the youth with disabilities.

Click here to read the full statement.

Remarkably, several State parties specifically called out for the need to include persons with disabilities in their national economies and labor market. For example, the Government of Poland outlined in detail the importance of intentionally including persons with disabilities in the labor market and more broadly, under social protection systems through inclusive policy making.

Like many others I hope, I was particularly impressed by the call for action cried out by Yolanda Joab Mori, Founder and Executive Director of Island PRIDE, and ONE Young World Ambassador from Micronesia. She addressed the assembly calling for accelerating the inclusive transition to decent work, and specifically called out the importance of including young persons with disabilities in the expansion of labor market opportunities.

Another aspect of the debate that I followed with attention was digitalization and digital inclusion. At a side event, it was highlighted the alarming, growing divide between access to the internet and development of digital skills between high & middle income countries and low income countries; and within countries, the divide between economically well off and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Hence, stakeholders identified the importance of delivering programs that bridge the digital divide to get equal economic and social opportunities to all, regardless of socio-economic status or geographic location. However, how disappointing to hear that the ITU is not currently collecting disability – disaggregated data. As pointed by the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities, initiatives also are needed to ensure the use of universal design principles to make services universally accessible to persons with disabilities.


Read the other articles on HLPF 2019: