Francois Carbonez 

Board member, International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC)

In order to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we must recognise that the sharing of knowledge and expertise between different stakeholders – be it countries, NGOs, or private actors – are key elements in the context of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, allowing people in developing countries to benefit from all available knowledge to achieve their full potential. When it comes to persons with disabilities in developing countries, and especially those among them susceptible to multiple discriminations, such as girls and women with disabilities, the importance of knowledge to participate fully in society is even more striking. This can also be derived from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a binding human-rights’ instrument ratified by a vast majority of countries in the world.

For persons with disabilities to fully realise their human rights, knowledge is consequential at multiple levels. On an individual level, knowledge through education allows persons with disabilities to be aware of their civil rights, and of the possibilities that are offered to them. It will empower them to take an active part not only in the economy but also in cultural and political fields, furthering a virtuous cycle towards more and more awareness and inclusion in society. At national level, beyond the obligation that States have to provide inclusive education and a decent quality of life to all their citizens, the management and sharing of knowledge is vital to persons with disabilities, especially when it comes to assistive devices and the digital divide. In a world steeped in more information every day, knowledge management is more than ever a crucial tool for States to make good on their obligation to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. Therefore, if we want to make sure that the Agenda 2030 leaves no one behind as it pledges, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of accessible, inclusive knowledge.