Disability World
A bimonthly web-zine of international disability news and views, Issue no. 7 March-April 2001

table of contents - home page - text-only home page

The IDB initiative on Disability and Development

The Inter-American Development Bank is organizing a seminar entitled, Dialogue on Development and Inclusion: Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.This seminar will take place in Santiago, Chile on Friday, March 16, 2001 as part of the Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Inter-American Investment Corporation.

As part of the information package for the Bank's Annual Assembly, official invitations for the Seminar are being sent to governments in all the country members of the IDB. Besides the Latin-American and Caribbean countries, the following are also members of the Bank: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

The seminar aims to raise awareness among Latin American leaders and decision-makers about the economic and social benefits of investing in persons with disabilities. The seminar will be composed of two roundtable sessions. The first roundtable will cover discussions on "Strategies to Expand Access to Education and Labor Markets." The second will focus on "Strategies to Improve Access for Projects in Infrastructure and Urban Design."

Through these roundtable sessions we plan to present best practices; focus on changing the image of disabled persons from passive recipients of the welfare state to becoming active participants in a productive social and economic life; and discuss ways to continue implementing effective programs and policies that promote social inclusion for disabled persons within the IDB's operations; and emphasize the importance of creating strategic alliances between the public and private sector and civil society.

The purpose of the roundtables is also to produce an interactive space where participants can exchange views, experiences and positions with respect to each of the themes selected.

In addition, we intend to use this forum to present papers on the results from technical studies prepared by experts and to bring together experts and NGO representatives to participate in roundtable sessions. The key studies include: (i) Statistics, Costs of Disability and Benefits of accessibility and Participation, (ii) Accessibility in Education and the Labor Market, (iii) Accessible infrastructure, transportation, technology and information, (iv) Support Programs at the Community Level and for Families of Disabled Persons and (v) Support in the Area of Health and Prevention.

Consultants were contracted to develop each one of the studies and for the first time in history, we will have comprehensive information on Disability & Development in Latin America, published by the IDB, in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

In an effort to take advantage of this unique opportunity, international partnerships are being established to organize a three-day intensive seminar & advocacy training for women with disabilities from the Inter-American region, in Santiago (March 16-21), right after the IDB Disability Dialogue. The Bank has already agreed to be a co-sponsor of this training.

The goal of the event is to train 30 women with disabilities, including established and emerging leaders from different countries, using the context and the opportunity of the IDB Meetings that will be held in Chile, as a training strategy.

Women's issues are one of the crosscutting issues of all the studies sponsored by the IDB for the Disability Dialogue. Also, a Seminar on Women & Employment is being planned by the Bank to take place on Saturday, March 17, as part of the Annual Assembly. After the three-day Seminar, trainees will be specially invited to join both the IDB Disability Dialog and the Women & Employment Seminar on the official agenda.

Our expectation is that these initiatives will help increase awareness among the policy-makers and governments of the Region as well as within the IDB, to sponsor future studies and model projects on disability and development and to establish parameters to include disability concerns as a crosscutting issue for future activities.

For more information, please contact:
Rosangela Berman Bieler
IID Headquarters, Washington, DC
51 Monroe St., Suite 805-A
Rockville, MD 20850 USA
Tel.: 1(301) 309-9469
Fax: 1(301) 309-9486
Email: iidisab@aol.com
Web: www.iidisability.org

table of contents - home page - text-only home page