Explanation of Position on a Resolution on Inclusive Development for Persons with Disabilities

Jason Mack
Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 13, 2020


The United States thanks the Philippines for its biannual resolution on inclusive development for persons with disabilities. We are pleased to join consensus on the resolution.

The United States is committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of all persons with disabilities. As an international community, we must focus our efforts on this issue through a rights-based approach to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities enjoy the same legal rights as their counterparts without disabilities, and governments should ensure that they are fully included in society on an equal basis as their peers without disabilities. To this end, we welcome the paragraph in this resolution that outlines the importance of including persons with disabilities as key decision makers in all COVID-19 recovery and response efforts. We, however, do continue to remain concerned by some delegations’ attempts to revert back to the charity or medical model, which we saw during this negotiation. We cannot allow anyone to walk back the progress we have made on the rights-based model.

We also welcome the reference to the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy and strongly encourage the UN to implement the recommendations that came out in the first report, which was released in October.

We are also pleased that the resolution no longer places great emphasis on the World Programme of Action for Persons with Disabilities. It is important that the international community promote the rights of persons with disabilities from a human rights perspective, rather than from the outdated charity and medical model.

On operative paragraph 33 and data collection, the United States recommends that any data collection be streamlined and coordinated with UN Disability Inclusion Strategy reporting.

We understand that references to “health care services” in this resolution do not include abortion, but rather refer to services for persons with disabilities that maximize their health, opportunities, and equal participation in society.

We note our view that preambular paragraph 17 should refer to a “commitment” on the part of member states “to achieve the full application and implementation of the international normative framework on persons with disabilities, human rights and development” rather than a “duty.”

The United States does not read this resolution to imply that states must join or implement obligations under international instruments to which they are not a party, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or any other treaty or provision thereof, and the United States understands that any reaffirmation of that Convention applies only to those States that are party to it.

Further, we fully support this resolution’s call for access to education by ensuring that no individual, solely by reason of her or his disability, is subjected to discrimination in access, participation, or benefits regarding applicable programs and activities.

We understand references in this resolution to “internationally agreed development goals” to refer to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the understandings reflected in the United States’ Explanation of Position on that document. With regard to this resolution’s references to the 2030 Agenda, we addressed our concerns and other issues in a previous statement on Third Committee resolutions that we delivered earlier this afternoon.