Social Security Policy Support (SSPS) Programme

An initiative of the Cabinet Division and the General Economics Division (GED), Bangladesh Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh
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Report on International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Seminar 2023

Disability Alliance on SDGs Bangladesh, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) SSPS Programme, UNPPRD, UNICEF, UNWOMEN, UNFPA, ILO, Australian Aid & Sightsavers have called on the government of Bangladesh for effective implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act and the National Action Plan on Disability to ensure people with disabilities can have their equal rights and opportunities.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the SSPS Programme, Disability Alliance on SDGs Bangladesh, UNPPRD, UNICEF, UNWOMEN, UNFPA, ILO, Australian Aid & Sightsavers have made this appeal to the government in a national seminar titled with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) theme being “United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons of disabilities,” organized on Saturday 02 December 2023 at the Bangabhandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka.

Mr. Md. Akhter Hossain, Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs) Prime Minister’s Office, Government of the People’s
Republic of Bangladesh attended the seminar as the Chief Guest whereas Ms. Zuena Aziz, Former Principal
Coordinator (SDG Affairs) Prime Minister’s Office, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, graced the occasion as the Special Guest.

The keynote paper was jointly presented by Mr. Aminul Arifeen, National Project Manager of the SSPS Programme at UNDP and Mr. Ayon Debnath, Campaign Adviser at Sightsavers, discussed a comparison between the monumental SDGs with the previous MDGs. He described the evaluation of the different framework in which Rights to persons with disabilities has been addressed over the years. He further highlighted the SDGs’ transformed approach to disability rights across its comprehensive framework. Mr. Arifeen, emphasized on the need to ensure rights, inclusion, and equitable opportunities for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Bangladesh. He presented an overview of policy advancements through progressive measures including the Rights and Protection of Persons with Disability Act of 2013 and the monthly allowance schemes for persons with disabilities (PWDs). However, Mr. Arifeen also highlighted enduring gaps in monitoring and localized execution that constrain the on-ground impact of legal provisions introduced for promoting disability welfare. While the policy ecosystem denotes progress, more focused efforts to enhance compliance and optimize outcomes across administrative tiers remain vital for furthering the effectiveness of disability-centric interventions under the ambit of SDGs. Strengthening last-mile service delivery for intended persons with disabilities (PWDs) beneficiaries constitutes an integral priority. Mr. Aminul Arifeen also gave an overview of suggested reforms in the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) and its’ Action Plan.

Mr. Ayon Debnath spoke on Disability in the 8th Five Year Plan 2021-25, Disability Social Protection in National Budget, Rights enshrined in the constitution and legal instruments. He also mentioned the Somotar Bangladesh campaign which includes OPDs, & the Disability Alliance on SDGs Bangladesh for implementing the Rights and Protection of Persons with Disability Act.

The keynote address ended with challenges, ways forward and lastly the future, smart Bangladesh. The event was a success with a total of 153 participants in attendance where a total of 65 persons with disabilities (33 male participants and 32 female participants) took part in the event. Ms. Farjana Reza, National Programme Officer, ILO, conducted the programme as the Master of Ceremony. She asked all the audiences to take their seats including the sign language, Bangla and English language interpreters as well.

Assimilating the theme ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with, and by the persons with
disabilities,’ the host, began, by thanking all those who came and especially mentioned the Chief Guest from the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Md. Akhter Hossain, Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs).

Ms. Farjana Reza added that since 1992, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities has been celebrated
after the United Nations declaration and based on this, from 1999, Bangladesh has been observing the National
Day of Persons with Disabilities. The main objective of celebrating the day is twofold: the first one being to
understand disability in all its aspects, and the second one is to disseminate awareness about disability inclusion throughout the nation. She further added Australian Aid, all UN agencies and Sightsavers Bangladesh jointly organized this event to share their common goal of disability inclusion and practices for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Bangladesh. The event will aim to communicate to all the relevant stakeholders, i.e. persons with disabilities, different benevolent organizations working on disabilities, respective government authorities, private sector, civil society representatives, youth and media at the same table to discuss to find ways on how all stakeholders can work together for the betterment of persons with disabilities in all aspects. In addition, she focused that media can play a vital role and invited Ms. Amrita Rejina Rozario, Country Director, Sightsavers & Convener, Disability Alliance on SDGs Bangladesh, on the stage. Introductory Speech

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