BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — In order to enable the full participation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the society and economy, national and regional stakeholders need reliable data to inform and strengthen their programming targeting this vulnerable group.
To address the deficit of disability data in the region, the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a project to support disability assessments in Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Under the project, these countries will benefit from workshops designed to train participants in the conduct of disability assessments, disseminate assessment findings and obtain feedback on those findings, and discuss strategies for more effectively addressing disability in the region.
“We know that persons with disabilities continue to face stigma, discrimination and exclusion, and are vulnerable to poverty, despite their ability to function in the society and the economy. It is therefore imperative that we invest in creating enabling environments for disabled persons, in order to reduce these vulnerabilities and advance multidimensional progress in the region,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB.
“This developmental focus forms an important part of fulfilling regional and national commitments and is a critical linchpin of the ‘no one left behind’ principle that underpins the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda,” he added.
PWDs as defined in Article 1 of the ‘United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disibilities’, include “those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”
These barriers include inaccessible infrastructure, inaccessible communication, limited reasonable accommodation and assistive aides, stereotypes, and weak enforcement of treaty, legislative and policy commitments.
CDB, through the disability assessment project, seeks to minimise these barriers by addressing disability data deficits in the region.
The bank aims to achieve this by:
• Providing robust disability data in social, economic and political domains.
• Examining the differential impact of disability and its intersection with other vulnerabilities associated with sex, age cohort (children, youth, elderly and working age), ethnicity, and race (as relevant).
• Identifying constraints and enablers to equal participation of PWDs compared with persons without disabilities in growth sectors of the formal and informal economy.
• Examining vulnerabilities to natural disasters, economic shocks and climate change.
The first phase of the intervention is scheduled to commence in 2018 and is expected to be implemented over a 30-month period. The findings of the assessments will enable CDB to develop more targeted evidence-based projects and knowledge products and services to support disability mainstreaming in the region and will identify opportunities for development cooperation between CDB, its BMCs and other development partners.
The remaining 15 of the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries will benefit under a subsequent phase of the project.