ADB Disabled People and Development

ADB Disabled People and Development 
Asian Development Bank June 2005

There are some 600 million people with disabilities worldwide, or 10% of the world population, with 400 million of them estimated to live in the Asia and Pacific region. Taking into consideration the impact on families, the lives and livelihood of more than 800 million people, or about 25% of the population, are affected. Many of the disabled remain invisible. People with disabilities are poor because they are denied access and opportunities most basic to human development—education, income, and self-esteem. However, people with disabilities have the capacity to become productive citizens and contribute to national development. Given their large numbers, the short-term costs of educating and integrating persons with disabilities will be surpassed by the long-term savings to families and society. Countries enjoy productivity gains and economic returns when disabled people are allowed to develop their skills and intellectual and physical potential, and engage in economic activities.

To assist the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and its developing member ountries (DMCs) in incorporating disability issues in poverty reduction strategies and programs, a regional technical assistance (RETA 5956 on Identifying Disability Issues Related to Poverty Reduction) was approved and cofinanced by the Government of Finland. The purpose of this project was to promote understanding of and build capacity to address the needs of people with disabilities in ADB operations and in the DMCs. The technical assistance involved a series of participatory local and national workshops leading to the preparation of four country studies—in Cambodia, India, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Reports of the country studies were presented at a regional conference on disability and development held at ADB in October 2002.

Disabled People and Development is one of the major outputs of the technical assistance. It describes the evolution of the global response to disability as well as the concepts and tools for addressing disability issues. The publication is accompanied by the Disability Brief, which focuses on disability issues in development for ADB operational staff as well as their government counterparts in ADB projects. Full texts of the four disability country reports are available on the ADB website at