The UN observed International Day of Persons with Disabilities falls on the 3rd of December annually. The aim of the day is to promote an understanding of disability issues and “mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

Each year, IDPD carries with it a different theme for change. Last year’s theme was “leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”

For 2022, the theme is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.” The theme will be expanded upon by covering three different lines of thought:

  • Innovation for disability-inclusive development in employment: the aim of this dialogue is to explore the links between employment, knowledge, and the necessary skills to access employment in an ever-changing tech sector.
  • Innovation for disability-inclusive development in reducing inequality: the aim of this dialogue is to discuss innovations, practical tools and good practices to reduce inequalities in both public and private sectors, which are disability-inclusive and interested in promoting diversity in the workplace.
  • Innovation for disability-inclusive development, sport as an exemplar case: a sector where all of these aspects coalesce; sport as a good practice example and a site of innovation, employment and equity.

In the Design sphere, there is a principle that has come to be known as the “curb cut effect”. The premise is that universal design makes things better for everyone. The example that has given the principle it’s name is the curb cut. You have probably benefited from the curb cut design in some way, and it was designed to solve an issue with curbs that wheelchair users faced. Before the curb cut, it was difficult for people with impaired movement to be included in the most simplest of aspects of public life, and now the curb cut has benefited everyone: people with disabilities, people moving luggage, cyclists, skateboarders, it’s a truly universal design and an example of how universal design makes things better for everyone. It’s also an example of this years theme, and something that hopefully this IDPD will inspire more of.

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