ILO in Bangladesh to steer UN’s disability inclusion agenda for next two years

The ILO Country Director for Bangladesh Tuomo Poutiainen has been selected as the next UN Disability Champion. On behalf of the UN agencies based in Bangladesh, he will coordinate the UN Disability Inclusion Task Team that works to mainstream disability inclusion in the UN

Feature | 03 December 2023
Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, ILO Bangladesh © ILO
The ILO Country Director for Bangladesh Tuomo Poutiainen has been selected as the next UN Disability Champion. On behalf of the UN agencies based in Bangladesh, he will coordinate the UN Disability Inclusion Task Team that works to mainstream disability inclusion in the UN.

The team includes representatives from organizations of persons with disabilities, the government of Bangladesh, and other stakeholders, all of whom work together to accelerate implementation of Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and ensure disability inclusivity in all aspects of SDG implementation.

The Government of Bangladesh ratified the UNCRPD in November 2007 without any reservation and has since domesticated the Convention into its national laws including the 2013 Rights and Protection of Persons with Disabilities act (RPPD), and published rules for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in 2015.

It has further had established the Physical Disability Protection Trust, “Maitri Shilpa”, to provide social support for unemployed persons with physical disabilities. Persons with disabilities have been able to access employment through job fairs organized by the National Disabled Development Foundation. The Government has also established a vocational training centre for persons with disabilities.

However much remains to be done to ensure effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and in implementing disability-related SDGs.

“One of the most important things is to address biases that people with disabilities face daily so that they are accepted as equal co-workers at the workplace,” said ILO’s Tuomo Poutiainen in a video message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. “We must also ensure that they have the kind of skills and the education and the opportunities to access decent jobs.”

The UN Disability Inclusion Task Team works towards making the UN in Bangladesh more inclusive of persons with disabilities through its human resources policies, its programmes, projects and operations.

It also acts as a platform for coordination, cross-fertilization of ideas, resource sharing, and to ensure coherent, coordinated and holistic achievement of disability inclusive results from UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF).