Make disability a priority for future International Development policy, says new...

Last week, the International Development Select Committee (IDC) published its report on disability and development. Several charities including Livability submitted evidence to the Inquiry.

The report calls on the Department for International Development (DFID) to make disability a priority for its current and future work and to lead the way globally, re. the disability and development agenda.

The report makes a number of recommendations which include:

  • The need for DFID to produce a disability strategy and ensure disabled people play a prominent role in its creation- therefore ensuring disability is fully embedded into all DFID’s future work.
  • To appoint more staff with specialist experience to the team responsible for disability issues.
  • To make DFID programmes accessible throughout for disabled people and to implement these changes in a sustainable, phased way across 1 or 2 major sectors and in a few countries initially.
  • To ensure that disabled people are included in the design and delivery of future DFID programmes.  This includes working more closely with disabled people’s organisations in developing countries.
  • To offer more financial support to disabled people’s organisations overseas who often find it difficult to navigate the complex application process to access funding.
  • To include and improve disaggregated data on disabled people to better inform DFID’s work- similar to the recent efforts made for gender.
  • To appraise the case for spending more on disability treatment and prevention programmes including rehabilitation and basic care, e.g. for people with spinal cord injuries.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron and the Minister for International Development, Lynne Featherstone, have publicly declared their commitment to ensure disabled people are made a priority within future UK development policy.  Prime Minister, David Cameron, who co-chaired the UN High Level Panel on post 2015, stated that ‘no one should be left behind’ in regards to the next global development framework; the Millennium Development Goals have been criticised by some disability charities for failing to include disability.

Stephen Muldoon, Head of Livability’s International disability and development programme, welcomes the report and says

“We are greatly encouraged by this report which adds to the growing body of evidence that international development programmes can and should play a major role in helping people with disability realise their rights and aspirations.

For 20 years Livability’s international work has focused on supporting the development of appropriate, accessible, affordable and sustainable services for people with disability in developing countries.  While progress has been made, today there are still far too many people with disability who cannot access the health and rehabilitation services that they need. This situation leads to high rates of preventable complications, social exclusion and ultimately early death.  I am particularly encouraged that the report highlights the significant development gains to be made by treating and preventing the conditions that cause disability and with the specific recommendation for DFID to increase its spending on programmes including rehabilitation and basic care, e.g. for people with spinal cord injuries.”

For more information including downloading the report see here: