A few weeks ago we asked you to help get a question about disability on the agenda for discussions with the candidates for United Nations Secretary General – and it worked!

Our question was put to candidate Natalia Gherman of Moldova by video during the informal dialogue sessions held with the candidates over the past few days in New York. In her answer, Gherman spoke of “more participation” and “more representation” for people with disabilities (see more of her response below).

The video, which was played in the UN Trusteeship chamber in front of ambassadors to the UN as part of the process of choosing the next UN Secretary General, featured our very own Harriet Ngendanabo (a participant of our Connecting the dots project)!
“People with disabilities have been left out of development discussions for too long – how will you change this?”

In her answer, Natalia Gherman said, “Indeed, there is the sentiment that these people seem to be left behind from development discussions and from common actions, and if we are to deliver on the 2030 agenda with the motto that should guide our efforts… nobody should be left behind.”

Gherman also spoke of the need for “more participation, more representation… we have to be ready to listen to their plight, to what they have to say and act accordingly in a very inclusive manner, and for this we also need to work even closer with civil society and with the non-governmental sector who are able to consolidate these partnerships in this particular field.”

Andrew Griffiths, Sightsavers’ Head of Advocacy, says: “The critical element of Natalia’s response to Harriet’s question was the point she made about the participation of people with disabilities in development. Recognising the rights of people with disabilities is to accept the role of people with disabilities as key actors in the transformation and inclusivity of societies, economies and environments – development doesn’t happen to people with disabilities, but with people with disabilities. Our hope for a new UN Secretary General is that they show a long-term commitment to including people with disabilities within decision-making processes, and that they prioritise the development of systems to ensure that people with disabilities benefit equally from development progress.”