Ensuring policy support for People with Disabilities in Bhutan

Jan 5, 2016

Understanding disability better through first-hand experience.

Having completed the five-day training to formulate Bhutan’s National Disability Policy (NDP), the multi-sectoral task force members are now looking forward to develop a concept note to be submitted to the Cabinet. The submission will be the first step towards developing the policy.

A vulnerability assessment jointly conducted by UNDP and the Gross National Happiness Commission identifies people with disability as a vulnerable group and recommends a legislation for persons with disabilities.

Hence, in order to gain a better understanding on the formulation of a National Disability Policy, GNHC and UNDP organized a five-day training workshop in Paro from 7 to 11 December. The training facilitated the Multi-Sectoral task force team to learn the attitude, perspective, knowledge and skills necessary to develop the NDP formulation.

While the training brought about a discourse in the national context, it also enveloped applicable concepts of disability based on international standards such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The training was also represented by persons with disabilities to share their personal experiences on the issues they face in society and the barriers they encounter in their daily lives.

Besides helping the participants to learn different aspects of disabilities, the training also brought about the discourse on the need to include data questionnaire on disabled persons for the upcoming National Census questionnaire.

Along with the concept note submission to the Cabinet, stakeholder consultations at national and sub-national levels are also in the pipeline.

Following the training, the task force along with relevant stakeholders visited Cambodia to review their National Disability Strategic Plan (NDSP) and visited institutions working on Disability. The visit exposed the task force to new thoughts and ideas with valuable insights into the challenges and solutions in developing a practical policy in the Bhutanese context.

Sustainable Development Goals and Disability Policy

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set targets to reduce one-third morbidity, and mortality and disability from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) through prevention and treatment of mental and neurological disorders to promote mental health and wellbeing by 2030.

Disability is referenced in various parts of the SDGs and specifically in parts related to education, growth and employment, inequality, accessibility of human settlements, as well as data collection and monitoring of the SDGs.

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