Abu Dhabi has launched a landmark strategy to unleash the potential of people with disabilities and ensure they are at the heart of society.
It will involve 30 initiatives over five years across eight fields including health, education and streamlined governance.
Six dedicated teams will oversee the strategy and it will encompass more than 28 local and federal government entities.
The plan – which runs from 2020 to 2024 – aims to create an "inclusive and enabling community".
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, launched the strategy on Saturday.
“Today’s launch of the comprehensive strategy for People of Determination reaffirms our commitment to inclusion, equality and empowerment for all members of UAE society, upholding everyone’s right to participate fully and with dignity in our community," said Sheikh Mohamed.
Five objectives underpin the strategy, which is being led by the Department of Community Development. The first is to create a community that can empower people with disabilities, while the second is to integrate them fully into society. Thirdly, it is envisaged to provide them with lifelong access to rights, services and opportunities; and then to ensure they receive high-quality services. Finally, the plan will develop a sustainable community.
The UAE has been at the forefront of ensuring people with disabilities are able to play a full role in society.
In 2019, Abu Dhabi hosted the Special Olympics. More than 7,500 athletes from 190 countries took part in the week-long Games.
Now, this strategy focuses on the next stage of safeguarding their needs across health, rehabilitation, education, employment, social care and social security, as well as social engagement, sports, culture and tourism.
It also focuses also on creating an accessible environment regarding access to buildings, facilities, transportation, housing and other services and has adopted principles consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
"Abu Dhabi’s comprehensive strategy for People of Determination is an essential step towards further integration and empowerment of this vital community group," said Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
"[It will] unleash their full potential as key players in our nation’s development and future achievements."
The six teams charged with implementing the strategy are the Department of Health, Department of Education and Knowledge; Human Resources Authority; the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination; the Department of Municipalities and Transport; and the Department of Community Development.
Each team will include local and federal government entities, as well as representatives from the private sector, social sector and People of Determination associations in Abu Dhabi.
"This strategy will help raise the community’s awareness on disability, based on a model that supports the rights of People of Determination while developing systems that empower them as catalysts for social change," said Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of the Department of Community Development.
"This aims to provide a good quality life for all members of the community. We will continue our efforts to achieve the highest rate of satisfaction for People of Determination in all areas, which will lead Abu Dhabi to become a role model in the empowerment and integration of all segments of society."