The disability must now be ingrained across all programmatic areas of work and core functions of the UN

3 December 2022, Islamabad – the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office Pakistan (COPAK) commemorated the International Day of Persons with disabilities. The event was held at the School of Manufacturing and Material Engineering, NUST, Islamabad. More than 100 delegates attended the event, including Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), civil society organizations, national partners, and academia. The mode of communication was set both verbally and in sign language to facilitate PWDs during the entire session.

Dr. Jeremy Milsom, Representative UNODC Country Office Pakistan, in his welcome remarks stated that UNODC among all the other UN agencies has the mandate to bring disability inclusion to the forefront of all of the UN’s work around the world, both inside and outside the organization. The disability must now be ingrained across all programmatic areas of work and core functions of the UN. He elaborated that only by working together – across governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector – we can effectively implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for persons with disabilities. He ended with the remarks “I am happy to have an event inclusive of academia, civil society organizations, national partners, and Persons with disabilities to break barriers, shift mindsets, and open doors”.

 Delivering the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) and UNODC Pakistan achievements, Mr. Umair Nazar (Disability Focal Point, UNODC Pakistan) expressed a strong commitment towards disability inclusion at all levels of UNODC Pakistan’s future planning and implementation. The objective of the event to mainstream the disability aspect across all the future planning and implementation was thoroughly delivered to the participants and the request was initiated for recommendations post to the event.

The children with disabilities from the Sedum School presented the welcome song and honored the event. The said children also displayed fine motor skills performance to the audience and acknowledged the contributions of the Goodwill Kaniz Foundation on developing the skills and empowering children with disabilities.

Dr. Nabeel Anwar from the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences-NUST presented how technological innovation and the nexus of technology, research development, and teaching practices can bring improvements to the quality of life of PWDs. However, one of the biggest challenges the research community at large faces is a lack of resources and disability-representative data, especially in access to Justice for PD, he highlighted. He stressed that PD face both direct and indirect barriers and use of technology, staff training & information accessibility can improve this situation. In this context, the mutual role of influential organizations and institutes, like UNODC, NUST, working for the capacity building of people becomes vital. 

Dr Sana Saleem, Vice-chairperson of Goodwill Kaniz Foundation discussed the reality of difficulties and challenges faced by PWDs on the field which included perception of society, academic progress, lack of employment and inadequate accessibility which include poor vehicle design lack of accessible curbs, crosswalks, and sidewalks the absence of elevators and non-existent or inaccessible signage and wayfinding. She mentioned some of the achievements and initiatives for PWDs by the goodwill kaniz foundation along with that she gives some recommendations for the future. In the end, she thanked Dr Jeremy Milsom for their collaboration and for taking PWDs on board

In the end, Dr. Komal Nisa (country manager GWKF) shared her inspiring life story on how an accident that happened 7 years ago changed her life. As a PWD herself, she shared problems faced by her at the Institutional and societal levels. She also shared her achievements on how despite all hurdles she a successful and independent individual is. She shared her journey and how she became a part of GWKF-an NGO that is doing immense work on making the life of PWDs easier. She launched the GWKF project-"Glowering the oppressed" in which she mentioned all practical approaches to improve the life of PWDs as they are oppressed part of the community. She requested UNODC and NUST to come on board and help PWDs by solving policy-level issues and academia-level issues. She highly emphasized sensitizing the people regarding issues faced by PWDs.



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