ECOWAS Commission through the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs hosted a regional experts’ meeting on disability inclusion in West Africa from the 20 to 22nd April 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The meeting is a follow-up on a regional study aimed at reviewing the compliance of Member States laws and policies with international and regional instruments on disability inclusion.
The disability inclusion experts from government institutions and National Associations of Persons with Disabilities of the 12 ECOWAS Member States, and Development Partners attended the meeting.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne delivered the welcome address to the participants at the three-day meeting aimed at validating and adopting the key findings of the Study Report and the Plan of Action on Disability Inclusion in West Africa. She urged the experts to use the opportunity provided by the meeting to review and make valuable inputs to the Report of the Regional Study and Action Plan on Disability Inclusion in West Africa.
The Honorable Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dame Pauline Tallen, delivered the keynote address and opened the meeting. The Honorable Minister in her remarks stated that to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities, the Government of Nigeria created the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities. She added that policies and plans to ensure all sectors of national life include persons with disabilities were developed so that no one is left behind.
“It is interesting to note that during the activities embarked upon to cushion the effects of COVID-19, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria directed that an additional 5% of all interventions be reserved for persons with disabilities” she further added. She commended the ECOWAS Commission for the efforts to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities as a core consideration of policies and programmes across the region through the Regional Action Plan on Disability Inclusion.
The validation of the Regional Action Plan was interactive and results driven. At the end of the three day meeting, the key findings of the Regional Study and the Regional Action Plan on Disability Inclusion in West Africa were validated and adopted by the experts.
The experts committed to fully support the implementation of the action plan to ensure a better as well as quality standard of living for persons with disabilities across the region. On a final note, the experts expressed their appreciation to the ECOWAS Commission for the laudable initiative of elaborating a Regional Action Plan on Disability Inclusion and to the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Nigeria for the warm reception and hosiplitality extended to all participants.