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Inclusion of persons with disabilities – a key principle in Germany’s development policy


Boys with club feet in a hospital of Dar Es Salam, Tanzania.

People with disabilities are a very heterogenous group with varying needs (for instance as regards access to public services and facilities). They are often amongst the poorest members of society and thus generally difficult to reach. In the past, people with disabilities were not always able to benefit from development cooperation projects. They tend to be excluded from society, which means that development projects overlook them, too.

Based on the recommendations made in the evaluation of the BMZ Action Plan for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (2013–2017) by the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), the BMZ has drawn up a strategy on inclusion for Germany's development cooperation activities (PDF 284 KB, in German). It was published in December 2019. The process was supported by a group of adivsors that included, for example, civil society representatives and representatives of the German self-advocacy organisations for people with disabilities.

The 2019 BMZ inclusion strategy

This cross-sectoral strategy outlines the basic principles and guidelines for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in German development cooperation. It establishes the inclusion of people with disabilities as a binding objective and general obligation to be taken into account in all policy areas, policy instruments and strategies of Germany's official development cooperation and of its partners. The strategy also firmly establishes the active involvement of experts with disabilities as an integral part of the implementation of measures in line with the principle of "Nothing about us without us".


In its development cooperation activities Germany is committed to meeting its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Another principle Germany embraces and brings to life in its engagement is the 2030 Agenda core principle of leaving no one behind. With the implementation of the inclusion strategy this commitment will be translated into action. In 2020, the BMZ will therefore develop an implementation plan for the strategy together with experts from academia, civil society, politics and the private sector, with a view to further defining the cornerstones for a binding inclusive German development policy.


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