Australia to pioneer ambassador role for 'disability-inclusive' development

Not just development, but protecting those who are most disadvantaged among the poor.

Australia announced on Monday that it will be the first country to appoint a new Ambassador for Disability-Inclusive Development, as part of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and International Development Minister Melissa Parke’s efforts to boost efforts for “people with disability in developing countries to have access to the same opportunities as others and an equal say in the decisions that affect their communities.”

“We’ve got a whole bunch of people among the poorest and the poor around the world who need, frankly, more assistance,” so this new position is designed to “help them lift their profile and do what we can to provide a decent life for all,” Rudd said in a video message alongside Parke.

Park added: “If you think about the difficulties that people with disabilities have had in Australia to access appropriate services … then think about the world’s poorest people, and imagine those with disabilities who are the most disadvantaged of all.”

A statement from the Australian government said the new ambassador will push for the inclusion of disability in international commitment frameworks the like post-2015 development agenda; ask partner governments to support people living with disabilities, and ensure Australia continues to set a leading example on this issue through its aid program. 

The role will be filled in the next few weeks by a senior AusAID official whose appointment will be confirmed by the Federal Executive Council, added the statement.

AusAID’s official strategy on disability-inclusive development has been scaled up over the years to the point that the country has become an international leader on the issue, according to the 2013 peer review by OECD-DAC.

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    Carlos Santamaria

    As associate editor for breaking news, Carlos Santamaria supervises Devex's Manila-based news team and the creation of our daily newsletter. Carlos joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.