Disaggregation and SDGs
Disability Disaggregation: Envisioning Inclusive Development
Inclusion is the guiding principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes the pledge to leave no one behind and to create a “just, equitable, tolerant, open and socially inclusive world in which the needs of the most vulnerable are met”. The commitment to inclusion specifically addresses persons with disabilities and is consistent with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Adopted in 2016, the CRPD affirms equal rights for all people, regardless of their disability status, and puts forth a development agenda for ensuring full inclusion in all aspects of society.
Ensuring that no one is left behind requires accurate and timely monitoring of the populations most likely to be excluded from development, including, among other vulnerable groups, people with disabilities. This requires the routine collection of disability indicators, both those relating to the specific concerns of people with disabilities, and also the disaggregation of all person level indicators by disability so that outcomes of people with and without disabilities can be compared.
The Way Forward
Including a succinct set of disability questions on existing data instruments allows for disaggregation by disability for SDG indicators without the need for additional surveys. All indicators produced from a given data instrument (e.g., a Demographic and Health Survey or Living Standards Measurement Survey) can be disaggregated by disability simply by adding a few questions on disability.
A well-tested set of questions suitable for this purpose exists and has, in recent years, experienced growing acceptance. Known collectively as the Washington Group Disability Questions, the questions are the result of global efforts to develop and test internationally comparable tools for identifying people with disabilities in censuses and surveys. Designed by the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG), the measures were specifically constructed not only to be internationally comparable but also to be efficient, low cost, and easy to incorporate into national statistical systems, making them highly sustainable and suitable for disaggregating the SDGs by disability.
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Disaggregation by Disability Status: A Report on Selected Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicators
The inclusion of persons with disabilities in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has become an uncontested priority with the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ in sharp contrast with the past when people with disabilities were largely excluded from the global development agenda. To ensure people with disabilities are not left behind, sufficient data must be collected so that all person-level Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators can be disaggregated by disability status. This will allow for the comprehensive monitoring of the well-being and inclusion of persons with disabilities, and the advancement of their rights.
This document is intended to illustrate that countries can, with available data, disaggregate a number of SDG indicators by disability status.
The report summarizes the results obtained from 39 WG member countries on disaggregated SDG data for 13 selected indicators.
This article gives an overview of the progress made using the WG questions for the purposes of disaggregation.
The overriding principle of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,is global eradication of disadvantage through the improvement of situations for all peoples. To ensure that “no one is left behind”, the chapeau of the SDGs notes the importance of disaggregating data by characteristics associated with exclusion and vulnerability, including disability. The SDGs contain 17 Goals, with 169 targets, including specific indicators related to disability. As the WHO/World Bank World Report on Disability and much subsequent research has shown, people with disabilities disproportionately live in poverty and are excluded from social and economic activities. Without disaggregation by disability status, it is not possible to monitor the progress and outcomes of the implementation of the 2030 agenda activities in a way that documents if people with disabilities are indeed being left behind or not.
The Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG) thus undertook an investigation to assess the current capability of national statistical offices to disaggregate the SDG indicators by disability status.
Disability Measurement and Monitoring using the Washington Group Disability Questions