New Urban Agenda
Making cities accessible and inclusive for all people, including persons with disabilities, is an essential component of the New Urban Agenda, adopted at the recent Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador on October 17-20. Why? Because 15 percent of the world population live with some form of disability. If the New Urban Agenda is going to successfully promote sustainable urban growth and inclusive cities around the world, then accessibility and disability-inclusiveness must be part of the picture. Accessibility in the “built environment” is particularly important, as by 2050, it is expected that 1 billion new dwellings will be built and 66 percent of the world population will be living in cities.
In developed countries, building regulation has been the primary vehicle for implementing accessibility standards. However, in many low and middle-income countries, regulating institutions lack the capacity to enforce the rules. As a result, buildings are neither designed nor constructed to accommodate people with disabilities.
The Building Regulation for Resilience initiative, launched by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery at the World Bank, seeks to change this. I interviewed Dr. Frederick Krimgold, co-author of the initiative’s flagship report, and Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Global Disability Advisor for the World Bank Group, to find out more about this issue: