UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan urged the world community to mobilize financial resources to provide assistive technology devices, products and services to the more than 1 billion persons with disabilities in an effort to improve their living standards, independence and social inclusion. “Recognition of right to development of persons with disabilities can provide a formidable foundation for international cooperation and solidarity,” Pakistani delegate Saima Saleem told a meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Wednesday. Ms. Saleem, a counselor at the Pakistan Mission to the UN who is herself visually impaired, said the coronavirus pandemic has posed greater challenges for persons with disabilities, and, apart from mobilization of funds for assistive technology devices for them, she made a series of proposals for staging a “resilient” recovery. The proposals included: – The international community step up its efforts to fulfill sustainable development needs of persons with disabilities by implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); – Member states, United Nations and business enterprises create employment opportunities by providing reasonable accommodations, as also reservation of employment quotas for persons with disabilities; – Developing and Least Developed Countries be provided necessary funding through International Financial Institutions, ODA (official development assistance) and donor assistance to help persons with disabilities improve their living standards. – Ensure inclusion and access to social protection programmes and universal health coverage; – Member states and the United Nations re-double their efforts to make infrastructure accessible; and, – Urgently deal with Human rights violations of persons with disabilities in conflict settings and situations of foreign occupation. “Addressing developmental needs and ensuring human rights of persons with disabilities is crucial for creating inclusive and participatory societies,” the Pakistani delegate said at the outset of her remarks. “As a State Party to Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since 2011, Ms. Saleem said, the Pakistani government continues to promote and protect human rights and developmental needs of persons with disabilities, through a wide range of legal, policy and administrative measures. These included: the formulation of ICT Act for Persons with Disabilities 2021; reservation of 2% quota across the board in public sector employment; integration of the rights of persons with disabilities in all programs and activities related to relief and rehabilitation during disasters by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA); inclusion in universal health coverage and social protection schemes; and introduction of inclusive education.