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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

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WFOT supports The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2017“Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution 47/3 in 1992. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of on the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

Building on many decades of UN’s work in the field of disability, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006, has further advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international development frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, the New Urban Agenda, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development.

The theme for this year’s IDPD is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”.

The 2030 Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”. Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development. Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a “team” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (Acknowledgement to UN)

WFOT is a signatory to the UN Global Compact, which is now expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All WFOT project plans are required to identify the relevant SDGs so that WFOT can continue to meet its obligations and commitment to the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other kindred non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to support the rights and inclusion in society of persons with disabilities.

Information and Resources:

How you can commemorate IDPD 2017 in your local community

Include: Observance of the Day provides opportunities for collaborative and inclusive events by all stakeholders – Governments, the UN system, civil society and organizations of persons with disabilities – to focus on issues related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development, both as beneficiaries and agents of change.

Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the themes of IDPD 2017to discuss and share ways of including and empowering persons of all abilities to develop and be fully included in their local communities.

Celebrate: Plan and organize performances everywhere to celebrate the contributions made by persons with disabilities as agents of change in the communities in which they live. Celebrate persons with disabilities by creating opportunities to help realize their potential, be it through music, sport, academia or interpersonal skills.

Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action to realize the objectives of the Day for persons with disabilities and their communities. So, highlight best practices and think about making recommendations to your local political leaders, businesses, academic institutions, cultural centers and others. Work to ensure that your activity leaves a legacy and brings about lasting change.

Take advantage – promote WFOT Position Statements

WFOT is proactive in supporting the rights of people with disabilities. Position Statements are developed by expert occupational therapists recruited from WFOT Member Organisations (MOs) to promote WFOTs stance on important international and professional issues.

Relevant position statements are available in the Resource Centre of this website including:

  • Client-centredness in Occupational Therapy (2010)

  • Community Based Rehabilitation (2004)

  • Consumer Interface with Occupational Therapy (2010)

  • Diversity and Culture (2010)

  • Global Health: Informing Occupational Therapy Practice (2014) Human Displacement revised (2014)

  • Human Rights (2006)

  • Occupational Therapy in Disaster, Preparedness and Response (2014)

  • Occupational Therapy in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) (2016)

  • Occupational Therapy in End of Life Care (2016)

  • Occupational Therapy Services in School-Based Practice for Children and Youth (2016)

  • Universal Design (2012)

  • Vocational Rehabilitation (2012)

WFOT also contributes to relevant programmes and events with the UN and WHO. Go to  to view WFOT’s contribution to global perspectives and actions relating to people with disabilities.