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Millenium Development Goals and Disability

Worldwide more than 650 million people live with disabilities. They are particularly affected by poverty. Only a few of them manage to free themselves from the vicious cycle of poverty and disability. Due to an UN statistics, 80% of the people who live with disability are living in developing countries. According to the World Bank, 20% of the people who live in extreme poverty have disabilities. Therefore, it is necessary to include people with disabilities into the programs for the implementation of the MDGs, because the goals cannot be achieved by ignoring 10% of world population.
20% of all people worldwide living in poverty have disabilities. The development goals cannot be achieved without the involvement of people who live with disabilities!

Implementing human rights – to involve people with disabilities in international cooperation – no poverty reduction without inclusive MDGs
People with disabilities have the right of participation – also in international cooperation (§32 UN-Behindertenrechtskonvention [§32 UN-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ]). In 2009, Germany - besides 86 other states - has committed to include people with disabilities in international cooperation and to consider them in cases of disaster and emergency relief situations by ratifying the UN-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
People with disabilities are extremely affected by poverty because disability is both - cause and consequence of poverty. According to an estimation of the World Bank, one fifth of the world’s population which lives in poverty is affected by disability. If we do not consider them for programs and projects to reduce poverty, we ignore 20% of the poorest and the most marginalized people worldwide.

MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education
According to UNESCO, more than 90% of the children with disabilities do not attend school in development countries.

MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Women with disabilities are disadvantaged twice: because of their status as a woman and because of their disability. Girls who live with disabilities less frequently attend a school on a regular base than boys with disabilities and they do not have access to an income which generates micro loans. Women and girls who have a disability become more likely victims of sexual abuse.

MDG 4: Reduce child mortality rates
The mortality rate for children with disabilities lies at 80%, even in countries that have an infant mortality of less than 20% for under five-year-olds. (Source: Department for International Development (DFID) 2000, Disability, Poverty and Development, DFID, UK).

MDG 5: Improve maternal health
About 10-15 million women suffer from long-term complications or disabilities that are caused by pregnancy or giving birth. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are significant causes for disabled children. An improvement of the health care system would help to reduce the risk of disabilities for mother and child. (Source: UNFPA: state of world population 2008)

MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
People with disabilities form a very vulnerable group especially for HIV/Aids, but they are mostly excluded in the worldwide fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and other diseases - as much in medical prevention as in medical treatment. People who are affected by HIV/AIDS are often discriminated and excluded from equal participation in their communities. Often, this means a double discrimination for people who live with disability.

MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
One third of all diseases that often lead to disabilities are caused by environmental risk factors. For example, polluted (drinking) water can lead to trachoma, one of the most common causes of blindness. Because of their marginalized position in society, people with disabilities could be stronger affected by the climate change, such as increased natural disasters. Many people with disabilities live in poor housing that are not able to withstand natural disasters, and/or they live in poor neighbourhoods that were built in disadvantaged areas. In addition, rescue measures do not work sufficiently after a disaster happened. (Source: Behinderung und Dritte Welt (3/2004) Schwerpunkt Ökologie und Behinderung)

MDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development
All people should be given the opportunity to make their contribution to development. Therefore international organisations and governments should increasingly incorporate people who live with disabilities in their strategies and programs of development work, not only as beneficiaries, but also as contributors and participants.