Abu Dhabi looks to the world as it develops five-year disability strategy

Authorities across the emirate are working together to create a more inclusive society for all

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Abu Dhabi authorities are taking a global view as they deliver a five-year plan to create a more inclusive society for people with disabilities.

The emirate's Strategy for People of Determination was announced last month by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

The wide-ranging programme comprises 30 initiatives supported by 28 federal and local government bodies.

The department is working on comparing practices globally

It aims to ensure equal rights and opportunities across several key sectors in the capital.

"In co-ordination with partners, 30 initiatives will be implemented within five years to provide an environment that provides equal access to rights, services and opportunities in health and social care, education, work and finance opportunities, and innovation," said Hamad Ali Al Dhaheri, undersecretary of Abu Dhabi's Department of Community Development.

Mr Al Dhaheri said the long-term vision would cement Abu Dhabi's status as a "global city in empowerment" for its disabled citizens and residents.

"The department is working on comparing practices globally and analysing the variables and developments of recent studies in the field," he said.

Mr Al Dhaheri said the ambitious programme would cover key issues such as health and rehabilitation, education, employment, social care and universal access.

Under the strategy, officials will pinpoint ways to deliver better education and employment services to disabled community members.

Disability classifications will be reviewed, while a database will be compiled of people with disabilities in the UAE capital.

A major part of the project will be improving access to buildings, facilities, leisure and cultural attractions, transportation and housing for disabled people and their families.

The department will oversee the campaign and make sure financing is in place for future initiatives.

The six teams charged with introducing the strategy are the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Knowledge, the Human Resources Authority, the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, the Department of Municipalities and Transport and the Department of Community Development.

The UAE has played a leading role in promoting the rights of people with disabilities in recent years.

In 2019, Abu Dhabi hosted the Special Olympics. More than 7,500 athletes from 190 countries took part in the week-long Games.