Ever since its promotion by the United Nations in 1992, December 3 has been marked as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The day has been observed around the world with an aim to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. Along with understanding, it also seeks to integrate persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

With one billion people living with disability, each year the day, which was originally called International Day of Disabled Persons until 2007, focuses on a different issue, and it has been implemented in 177 countries.

The themes change each year, and this year it is ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’, which speaks of UNDP’s work to achieve inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

To support governments and organizations in achieving this, UNDP launched a guidance note on persons with disabilities on December 3, 2018 which highlights the practical ways of working in countries around the world to support disability inclusion. It is also taking forward a number of initiatives within the organisation to help reduce barriers and foster an enabling environment for the employment, retention, and closer collaboration with persons with disabilities.

A program is also launched on December 3 in India to serve the differently-able community of the country as an initiative called Accessible India Campaign under the Article 9 of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

In 1976, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 1981 as the International Year of Disabled Persons. It called for a plan of action at the national, regional and international levels, with an emphasis on equalization of opportunities, rehabilitation and prevention of disabilities.

The United Nations is committed to working towards ensuring that people with disabilities have equal access and voice in society, and can realize their fullest possible potential.