JIU report gets the support of the ACABQ and the General Assembly in a significant step forward in enhancing accessibility for persons with disabilities to conferences and meetings of the United Nations system

Date: 10 August 2022


On 29th June, a new resolution (A/RES/76/273) was adopted by the General Assembly in relation to the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) report on enhancing accessibility for persons with disabilities to conferences and meetings of the United Nations system (JIU/REP/2018/6). Following the publication of the JIU report in early 2019, the momentum for action has been increasing throughout the United Nations system. In particular, the report has resonated well with the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the General Assembly.


 In their report (A/76/787), the ACABQ comprehensively reinforced the sentiment of the JIU report by urging the Secretary-General to implement the 10 recommendations. The Advisory Committee further augmented the motion by recommending the Secretary-General present a report, to the General Assembly, on United Nations system wide efforts to enhance accessibility for persons with disabilities. Endorsing this suggestion, the follow-up resolution has requested that the Secretary-General produce a consolidated report at the 78th session of the General Assembly with an update on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the JIU and options on the designation of the global focal point to enhance system wide coordination.


Following this landmark resolution and coordination efforts, the United Nations will see enhancements to accessibility for persons with disabilities including, adjusting bathrooms to make them more accessible, installing power-assisted doors, creating a wheel-chair-accessible entrance at the street level, and designing a wheelchair lift for access to the rostrum in the General Assembly Hall. In addition to developments of the physical environment, digital spaces will also be designed to be accessible to all and mandatory training courses to strengthen inclusion of persons with disabilities will also be institutionalized. Despite progress being stifled by the global pandemic, JIU expects these developments to be completed no later than December 2023.


The work of the JIU has not only won the support from ACABQ and the General Assembly but most importantly, in doing so, it has further affirmed the human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities.