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Disabled People and the Post-2015 Development Goal Agenda through a Disability Studies Lens
Stream of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, Department Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1, Canada
Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada
These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 August 2013; in revised form: 7 September 2013 / Accepted: 11 September 2013 / Published: 25 September 2013
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the role and visibility of disabled people in the discourses of various global policy processes related to sustainable development and the Post-2015 development agenda. This article makes several recommendations for strengthening the role of disabled people in these discourses. The research addresses the question of how the disability community and sustainable development community relate to each other in these discourses. This study provides quantitative and qualitative data on three aspects of the relationship. One set of data highlights who is seen as a stakeholder in general and the visibility of disabled people in the social sustainability, sustainable consumption, Rio+20 and Post-2015 development agenda proposals discourses and what participants of the online consultation for a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond had to say about the issues of visibility of disabled people in development discourses. A second set of data illuminates the attitudes towards disabled people evident in the SD discourses including through the eyes of the participant of the online consultation for a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond. The final set of data compares the goals and actions seen as desirable for the advancement of SD evident in the SD literature covered and the online consultation for a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond. This study interpreted the data through a disability studies lens. The study found that disabled people were barely visible to invisible in the SD literature covered, that the goals and actions proposed in the SD discourses are of high relevance to disabled people but that these discussions have generally not been explicitly linked to disabled people. It found further that disabled people have clear ideas why they are invisible, what the problems with development policies are and what needs to happen to rectify the problems. It found also that there was a lack of visibility of various SD areas and goals within the disability discourse. This paper provides empirical data that can be used to further the goal of mainstreaming of disabled people into the SD and Post-2015 development discourses as asked for in various high-level UN documents. However, we posit that the utility of our paper goes beyond the disability angle. Our quantitative data also highlights other forms of social group visibility unevenness in the literature and as such, we argue that the data we present in this paper is also of use for other stakeholders such as youth, women and indigenous people and also for NGOs and policy makers.
Keywords: Post-2015 development goals; MDG; sustainable development goals; sustainable consumption; social sustainability; Rio+20; disabled people; people with disabilities; disability studies
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Wolbring, G.; Mackay, R.; Rybchinski, T.; Noga, J. Disabled People and the Post-2015 Development Goal Agenda through a Disability Studies Lens. Sustainability 2013, 5, 4152-4182.
Wolbring G, Mackay R, Rybchinski T, Noga J. Disabled People and the Post-2015 Development Goal Agenda through a Disability Studies Lens. Sustainability. 2013; 5(10):4152-4182.
Wolbring, Gregor; Mackay, Rachel; Rybchinski, Theresa; Noga, Jacqueline. 2013. "Disabled People and the Post-2015 Development Goal Agenda through a Disability Studies Lens." Sustainability 5, no. 10: 4152-4182.