Disability and development at the core of the UN High Level Meeting in New York

23 September 2013
EDF President Yannis Vardakastanis speaking at the event

The UN General Assembly held a High-Level Meeting on disability and development at the UN headquarters, with statements from over 50 Member States, UN Agencies and civil society. In his capacity as Chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, spoke on behalf of persons with disabilities at the opening of the meeting. EDF was also represented by its Executive member, Pat Clarke, and its deputy director, Javier Güemes.


Yannis Vardakastanis speaks at the opening of the meeting This was a historic meeting, since it is the first time in the UN history that the rights of persons with disabilities have been discussed within the framework of the UN political agenda.

In his statement, IDA Chair and EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, called on decision-makers at the highest levels to recognise the importance of mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

“Persons with disabilities must stop being receivers of lower levels of education, of higher levels of unemployment; they must stop being victims to a system that lacks accessible transportation, healthcare and information services. The post-2015 development agenda must aim to take persons with disabilities out of lower income scales; poverty eradication for persons with disabilities must be fully prioritized,” said Yannis Vardakastanis.

Watch Yannis Vardakastanis’ speech here


Speakers during the opening session of the High-Level Meeting included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of the General Assembly John Ashe, Chair of the Committee on the Rights and Participation of Persons with Disabilities Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes and Stevie Wonder, award-winning songwriter and musician and UN Messenger of Peace.

Find the analytical media release on IDA’s website


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