Asia Pacific Disability Forum

The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP or ESCAP), located in Bangkok, Thailand, is the regional arm of the United Nations Secretariat for the Asian and Pacific region. It was established in 1947 (then as the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East – ECAFE) to encourage economic cooperation among its member states. The name was changed to the current in 1974. It is one of five regional commissions under the administrative direction of United Nations headquarters. The ESCAP has 53 member States and nine Associate members, and reports to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

At is forty-eighth session, hosted by the Government of China in Beijing in 1992, the UN ESCAP declared the period 1993 to 2002 as the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons. From 1993 to 2002, annual Campaigns were held in various countries to raise public awareness of, and to mobilize support for, the Decade goals of full participation and equality of people with disabilities. The annual campaigns also provided a platform for the disabled persons as well as non disabled participants from the Asian & Pacific region to network and share experiences, problems and ideas. Much gain has been achieved in creating awareness about the situation of people with disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region. The Osaka Forum, held in Oct 2002, signaled the last of the ten Campaigns. The Regional NGO Network (RNN) which was established for the purpose of organizing the annual conferences, was dissolved after the Osaka Forum.

At the same Osaka Forum, the idea of forming a new regional NGO network on disability was welcomed by various sectors to strengthen regional initiatives and momentum to meet the rising expectations and demands of the new millennium. The name of the new network was decided as Asia and Pacific Disability Forum (in short, APDF).

After the preparatory discussion for one year, APDF was formally established as a new NGO network on disability in the Asia and Pacific region at the Inaugural Meeting in Singapore on 26th November 2003.

The objective of APDF is :-

  1. To support the ESCAP (A) resolution 58/4 on “Promoting an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights Based Society for People with Disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region in the 2lst Century”; and,
  2. To promote the 2nd Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons 2003-2012 through the implementation the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action Towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (BMF).

APDF, in cooperation with UNESCAP, organized its General Assembly and Conference on October 16 and 17, 2006 at UNCC, Bangkok.

The General Assembly was organised to strengthen the management of APDF. The new Executive Committee Members were selected through voting of APDF members participated in the General Assembly.

The Conference was designed to review the achievement of the 2nd Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003 – 2012, in accordance with the Biwako Millenium Framework for Action (BMF) and the Biwako Plus Five. The major outcome of the Conference is :-

a. Adoption of the Bangkok Statement 2010
The ‘APDF Bangkok Statement 2010’ which summarised recommendations agreed among the participants, was adopted on 18th October 2010. The Statement included a recommendation to support the establishment of a new Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilties, 2013 – 2022 with the title of ‘Towards Full Realisation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Comprehensive Disability Inclusive Development.’

The statement also focused the need to strengthen the partnership with other stakeholders including Disabled People Organisations (DPOs) towards the end of the current decade and beyond.

b. Collaboration between APDF and APCD
The APDF General Assembly and Conference were supported by Asia-Pacific Development Centre on Disability (APCD) as the conference secretariat with the venue and technical support. The Conference concluded that collaboration should be further developed towards the suggested new disability decade.

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