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The Minister Says We’re Working Towards Sustainable Development Goals for Disabled People in Wales

Disabled People (Credits: Human Rights Watch)

The United Nations (UN) has established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an ambitious agenda to transform the world in terms of people, planet, and prosperity by 2030. These goals encompass various issues, from eradicating poverty and hunger to promoting gender equality, sustainable cities, and climate action.

Among the nations, Wales stands out as the only one thus far to have enshrined the UN Sustainable Development Goals into law. This signifies a profound commitment to achieving these global objectives at a local level, demonstrating Wales’ dedication to sustainable development and inclusivity.

The International Day of Disabled People, observed on December 3 each year, reminds us of the importance of inclusivity and empowerment for people with disabilities.

Disabled People (Credits: NPR)

This year’s celebration theme is “United in Action to Rescue and Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for, with, and by Persons with Disabilities.” This theme underscores the collaborative effort needed to ensure that the SDGs are realized inclusively, involving and benefiting people with disabilities.

On this occasion, the Minister visited Disability Wales and the British Deaf Association offices, emphasizing Wales’ shared ambition to achieve the SDGs for disabled individuals. The Minister highlighted integrating these goals into decision-making processes, possibly influencing the drafting of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

This legislative framework reflects a forward-looking approach that considers the well-being of current and future generations, leveraging the diverse talents of all individuals to foster the nation’s prosperity.

During the visit, discussions revolved around dismantling barriers experienced by disabled people across Wales. Adopting the Social Model of Disability, which focuses on societal barriers rather than individual impairments, has been instrumental in shaping policies and practices to promote inclusivity and accessibility.

Rhian Davies from Disability Wales expressed appreciation for the Welsh Government’s commitment to championing the Sustainable Development Goals and the rights of disabled people.

These goals, coupled with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, are crucial in advocating for equality and full inclusion of disabled individuals in Wales.

Disabled People (Credits: Lotterywest WA)

Rebecca Mansell of the British Deaf Association highlighted the ongoing challenges faced by the Deaf Community in Wales, particularly regarding access to information and communication in British Sign Language (BSL).

As a national representative organization under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), the BDA advocates tirelessly for equality and rights for the Welsh Deaf Community, emphasizing the importance of inclusive communication.

Establishing the Disability Rights Taskforce in 2021 marked a giant step towards addressing the needs and rights of disabled people in Wales. This task force, comprised of various working groups, collaborates to define key goals and actions necessary for improvements.

Importantly, these efforts are co-produced with disabled people, ensuring their voices and experiences shape the policies and initiatives to create a more equitable and inclusive Wales.

Lastly, Wales’ proactive approach to integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals into law and prioritizing inclusivity for persons with disabilities exemplifies a commitment to sustainable development and social justice.

By working collaboratively and ensuring that diverse perspectives inform policies, Wales strives to create a society where everyone can thrive and contribute to a brighter future for future generations.

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