Disability Inclusion

DISABILITY INCLUSION AND ACCESSIBILITY

The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy, launched in 2019, provides the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion through all pillars and areas of the work of the United Nations, including human resources management. The Strategy enables the UN system to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international human rights instruments, as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Through the Strategy, the UN system will systematically embed the rights of persons with disabilities into its work and will build trust and confidence among persons with disabilities to ensure that they are valued and their dignity and rights are respected and that, in the workplace, they find an enabling environment in which to fully and effectively participate on an equal basis with others.

The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy sets the direction for the United Nations Secretariat to become an employer of choice for persons with disabilities. We are committed to pursuing the goals of inclusion and diversity among our workforce and promoting the removal of barriers to attract, recruit and retain persons with disabilities. The Secretary-General's bulletin on the employment and accessibility for staff members with disabilities in the United Nations Secretariat (ST/SGB/2014/3) provides the policy framework for creating an inclusive workplace with non-discriminatory recruitment and employment conditions as well as equal access to continuous learning, professional training opportunities and career advancement, including taking appropriate measures to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to staff members with disabilities. Additionally, in order to develop capacities of all personnel on disability inclusion, the Secretariat is committed to establishing training programmes and organizing awareness raising activities, as well as striving to ensure that staff members with disabilities have access to physical facilities, systems and tools and information.

Disability Inclusive Talent Management

How can we behave in ways that are disability-inclusive? While all United Nations personnel must have awareness of disability inclusion and do their part to build an inclusive environment, it is especially important for managers and supervisors to be inclusive in the hiring process and in managing teams.  

Being inclusive means: 

  • Taking time to build relationships with your team members
  • Asking about their lives and work-life balance to alleviate concerns about the disabilities they may have
  • Educating team members that some disabilities are not visible and that they are not surmountable
  • Protecting the privacy of our colleagues and allowing to share if/when comfortable
  • Identifying the best method of communication, organizational style and preferred workspace arrangements
  • Encouraging use of flexible working arrangement as it benefits productivity and work-life balance for all staff
  • Ensuring reasonable accommodations where needed
  • Providing frequent, clear feedback about daily or weekly projects and progress toward overall goals in workplans
  • Scheduling regular feedback discussions. All staff, regardless of disabilities, need to hear how their performance is viewed and to find out what they need to improve

Accessibility  

In order to eliminate barriers in the recruitment process, the UN Careers Portal and inspira, the recruitment platform for the Secretariat, are fully accessible. An “accessibility” button, available on the Careers Portal and inspira homepages, allows users with disabilities to access the content and functionalities of the websites and learn more about working at the United Nations. The accessibility features include adjustments to modify/change settings, keyboard navigation, and the ability to function with a wide range of standard assistive technologies, such as screen readers and alternative keyboards. 

The seven predefined accessibility profiles, in both English and French, from which users can select are: 

  • Screen Reader
  • Keyboard Navigation
  • Color Contrast
  • Monochromatic
  • Text Color Contrast
  • Block Blinking
  • Help

These enhancements are just one part of the United Nations’ commitment to providing equal employment opportunity to all and reaffirms the 2030 Agenda pledge to “leave no one behind”. 

Awareness raising webinars and videos 

Austism awareness webinar with Autism Speaks 
hosted by Office of Human Resources and Staff Union
New York (May 2020) 

 

 

Disability awareness webinar with NYC Mayor's Office for Persons with Disabilities hosted by Office of Human Resources and Staff Union New York (November 2019)
Accessibility features on the UN recruitment platforms to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources 

Reasonable accommodation: A to Z of Disabilities and accommodations 

Neurodiversity and autism awareness: https://www.un.org/en/observances/autism-day

Mental Health: The UN System Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy  

Important Documents

The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy

Employment and accessibility for staff members with disabilities in the United Nations Secretariat (ST/SGB/2014/3)

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Accessibility Guidelines for UN websites

Important Links

DESA Division for Inclusive Social Development

International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 3 December

World Autism Awareness Day