When world leaders established the eight MDGs for reducing poverty they left out one in five of the world’s poorest people.
This is not as surprising as it sounds. People with disabilities have consistently faced discrimination and disadvantage, which is why 82% of those with disabilities live below the poverty line and comprise one of the largest single groups of excluded and chronically poor people in the world.
It is obvious that without including disability in plans for tackling poverty the MDGs stand little chance of success, but it is a point which has eluded those world leaders who rededicate themselves to reducing poverty at each international meeting. Disability is currently not included in indicators and targets set for the MDGs and people with disabilities are often excluded from international and national poverty reduction plans. At the halfway point of the MDGs, it is crucial for governments, donors, international agencies and civil society to address disability through implementation of inclusive development strategies. Without this approach many will continue to be excluded, live in poverty and the MDGs will ultimately fail.