More than 65 government representatives and key stakeholders from civil society and academia in Bhutan attended the national launch of the Incheon Strategy to Make the Right Real for Persons with Disabilities. The Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Ms. Sangay Zam, speaking on behalf of the Minister of Education, pledged Bhutan’s commitment to successfully implement the Incheon Strategy and to ensure that all stakeholders work together to achieve the goals and targets set out in the Strategy.
The launch was part of the Workshop on Social Protection in South and South-West Asia, which was held on 2 April 2014 in Thimphu, Bhutan. The Workshop, which was organized by ESCAP, the Ministry of Education, Bhutan and the Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan (DPAB), focused on extending social protection to persons with disabilities in Bhutan and other countries in the subregion. Participants included ten Members of the Parliament and of the National Council, as well as officials from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources and the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, four ESCAP Champions and Promoters, and representatives of national Disabled Persons’ Associations (DPOs). In addition to Bhutanese participants, the meeting included experts from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
“This workshop is a first of its kind in Bhutan,” said Ms. Zam. “It is an opportunity to take stock of what we are doing to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and to create awareness. All the people that can make a difference are here, including lawmakers, academics and civil society.”
The Workshop on Social Protection in South and South-West Asia was followed by a Workshop on Disability-Inclusive Business on 3 April 2014. More than 50 participants from the private sector, the government, civil society and academia discussed about progress in increasing employability of persons with disabilities and debated the effectiveness of certain policies, such as quota systems for employing persons with disabilities. The ESCAP team also presented the pioneering ESCAP-Sasakawa Award for Disability-Inclusive Business in Asia and the Pacific, which will open for nominations on 1 May 2014.