Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala said at the UN High-level Meeting on Disability and Development, held on Monday, 23 September in New York, that Finland will double its funding for projects supporting persons with disabilities, from under six million euros to more than ten million. The support will cover, inter alia, this year’s additional funding to the UN Disability Partnership programme.
“In Finland, domestic civil society organisations, especially organisations for persons with disabilities, are the Foreign Ministry’s main partners in the implementation of disability issues in development cooperation,” Minister Hautala stated. As to multilateral cooperation, Finland has been among the main donors of the UN Disability Justice Partnership Programme (UNPRPD) and the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability.
Every seventh person in the world has a disability. “Although the United Nations Millennium Declaration recognises the responsibility of States to secure human rights for all and States are urged to pay particular attention to the most vulnerable groups, persons with disabilities are not mentioned in a single one of the Millennium Development Goals,” Minister Hautala pointed out in Finland’s statement.
“The deadline year for the Millennium Development Goals, 2015, is approaching. We should seize the opportunity now, to ensure that the new framework will be inclusive, and that it will take into account the rights and needs of persons with disabilities,” she continued.
The elimination of inequalities is one of the central objectives of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. “Leaving, for instance, persons with disabilities outside development efforts is not only a denial of their human rights. It also reduces the contributions that these individuals can make to economic and social development,” Hautala said.
Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala met with Judith Heumann, the U.S. State Department Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, in New York on Monday. Hautala and Heumann exchanged ideas on cooperation between Finland and the United States to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, the final outcomes of the High-level Meeting, and how the human rights based development agenda could best be promoted in practice in the post-2015 development goals.
Additional information: Milma Kettunen, Press Attaché to Minister Heidi Hautala, mobile tel. +358 40 522 9869, Advisor Linda Ekholm, mobile tel. +358 50 411 2809