Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)


Promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in food security and agricultural development programmes and policies

Dear Forum Members,

For decades the international disability movement has been saying that disability is a cause of poverty, that poverty often leads to disability and that disabled people are among the poorest of the poor in any country. Estimates by the World Bank suggest that 1 in 10 of the world’s population has a disability, with 80 per cent being in developing countries.
'Mainstreaming disability into development cooperation is the process of assessing the implications for disabled people of any planned action, including legislation, policies and programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making disabled people's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that disabled people benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve disability equality.' Carol Miller and Bill Albert, Mainstreaming disability in development: lessons from gender mainstreaming (March 2005).

I would add that the mainstreaming of disability goes beyond disability equality, but also benefits the poorest of the poor and society as a whole.

I have been working with disabled people’s organizations over the last ten years, as a researcher and communications specialist. I have become increasingly interested in disability in the context of development, and am constantly surprised by how little effort is put in to making all development programmes relevant to all stakeholders, including those with disabilities.

  • What efforts, if any, are being taken in your region, country, or institutions to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities into policies and programmes related to food security and nutrition?
  • How can policy-makers be convinced that without the involvement of Disabled People’s Organisations and the mainstreaming of disability issues on the MDGs and Right to Food agenda that these goals and rights will not be realized?

Thank you for your thoughts and inputs on this topic. I hope that some of your responses can help guide future work in the area of disability and agricultural development.

James Edge
Communications Officer
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome, Italy

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