New report from VIVE spotlights the UN Sustainable Development Goals and disability in Denmark.
The report identifies indicators for the status and progress of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for people with a disability and it validates Danish monitoring of the SDGs and the cross-sectoral principle of Leave No One Behind within the area of disability.
Denmark’s accession to the SDGs means the country has committed to ‘reach the furthest behind first’ and to leave no one behind in the sustainable transition. As a part of this, the Universal Design Hub launched a collaboration with VIVE – The Danish Center for Social Science Research in 2020. The aim of the collaboration was to prepare a basis of documentation on the status of inclusion of people with a disability within sustainable development.
A panel of experts has been attached to the project, with representatives from the United Nations, Statistics Denmark, the Disabled People’s Organisations Denmark, the Danish Disability Counsel, the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Knowledge Centre on Disability. The experts provided knowledge and comments at the beginning and final phases of the project.
The collaboration culminated in the recently published status report by VIVE. The report will fundamentally help Denmark keep its pledge to leave no one behind during the sustainable transition.
Conclusions and recommendations
The overall conclusion of the report was that people with functional impairments and disabilities are not represented in existing monitoring of the SDGs.
An example of this underrepresentation is the limited degree to which people with functional impairments are explicitly included in the UN’s goals, sub-targets, declarations of intent and indicators (9 out of 169). The underrepresentation also applies for the additional 197 Danish goals. None of these explicitly address people with functional impairments and disabilities.
The report also points out that there is currently insufficient data to monitor the SDGs for people with functional impairments or disabilities.
VIVE has recommended two possible courses of action. The first course of action could be to use existing data in future national monitoring of the SDGs for people with functional impairments and disabilities. The other course of action could be to apply different types of available data and analyses, e.g. surveys and qualitative studies, that contribute knowledge about the status and progress of people with functional impairments.
These recommendations are supported by the UN itself, which has declared that it is open to and recognises the need to use qualitative and quantitative data to monitor the SDGs and the Leave No One Behind pledge:
The commitment to leave no one behind calls for greater granularity of data, quantitative and qualitative analysis, to design evidence-based interventions that identify, empower and support the most vulnerable and address root causes. (UN, 2019 p. 16).
Time for reflection and action
As the VIVE report states in its conclusions, the recommended courses of action give rise to some reflection regarding defining and differentiating between groups of people with functional impairments and disabilities as well as the need for a strategy to obtain the necessary register data on the target groups and areas.
In other words, we should be more aware of the complexity entailed in defining disability and differentiating target groups, as well as in defining relevant targets for these specific groups, if we intend to increase representation of people with functional impairments and disabilities in the current monitoring of the SDGs and if we intend to leave no one behind during the sustainable transition.