Advancing inclusive, equitable and sustainable development in space
Application for the Space for Persons with Disabilities internship 2021 has closed. Information regarding the next round will be available in 2022.
Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, psychosocial, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, art. 1). An estimated one billion people, or 15% of the world's population experience some form of disability. 80% of them are in developing countries. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities.
Persons with disabilities, on average as a group, are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes such as lower education, poorer health, lower levels of employment, and higher poverty rates than persons without disabilities. According to a research by the International Labor Organization (ILO), economic losses related to the exclusion of persons with disabilities from the labour force ranges from between 3 and 7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
These numbers may be surprising to many because disability may not always be physically apparent. Disabilities come in various forms and persons may have the disabilities at different points in their life (at birth, or acquired later in life, during education, or while in employment). The number of people with disabilities is expected to increase over the coming decades, due to population aging, longer life expectancy, and an increasing number of injuries resulting from natural disasters, among other factors. Many people will experience a disability at some stage in their lives.
Due to discrimination, stigma, inadequate policies and programmes, lack of support and assistance, persons with disabilities are often prevented from joining the wider society in education or in employment. The challenges in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields are particularly acute. Many barriers to use or access knowledge and resources as effectively as persons without disabilities still exist and prevent the participation of persons with disabilities in research and activities necessary for advancement in the field.
At the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), we believe that space can contribute in many important ways to achieving disability inclusion and can have transformational effects for persons with disabilities. Building an inclusive society is everyone's responsibility. Only through collective efforts will we successfully build an inclusive and equitable community where we are able to make progress while leaving no one behind.
Recognizing the rights of persons with disabilities in accordance with The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and aligning with the UN Disability Inclusion strategy, UNOOSA embeds the rights of persons with disabilities in its programmes and works towards mainstreaming disability in its activities.
The vision of the Space for Persons with Disabilities project is to promote inclusive, equitable and sustainable development in space by mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities, engaging decision-makers to facilitate and assist initiatives targeting inclusivity in space and enhancing prospects for persons with disabilities to advance their education and careers in space through partnerships.
In doing so, the project strives to contribute to achieving SDG 11: Reduced Inequalities, in addition to SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, and SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals.
A integrated and systematic approach to disability inclusion in all areas of operations and programming, internally and externally, is required to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind. Building on the vision of achieving sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion in space, UNOOSA adopts a two-pronged approach to disability inclusion. First, the Office mainstreams disability in its internal processes and broader work with consideration for disability-related perspectives. At the same time, the Office develops disability-specific programmes through informed and meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities. Through education and public outreach, capacity-building activities and partnerships with stakeholders, the Space for Persons with Disabilities project aims to
On 31 March 2021, UNOOSA organized a "Pushing Frontiers: Human Spaceflight and Disability" webinar with support from the European Space Agency (ESA). Watch this multi-disciplinary webinar to learn about the ESA Parastronaut Feasibility Project and explore the challenges and opportunities in this emerging field through the lens of technology, engineering, physiology and psychology. Also, be inspired by Eddie Ndopu, a UN SDG advocate and aspiring astronaut.
Click on this link to learn more about the webinar.
Click on this link to watch the webinar.
Research have shown that persons with disabilities are less likely to have internship and other job opportunities compared to their peers without disabilities. This translates to lower chances of employment after completion of studies. UNOOSA strives to improve the labor force participation of persons with disabilities by offering inclusive internships for professional development and networking opportunities.
Internship for 2021 is currently on-going. Information regarding the next round of internship will be available soon.
To view more internships, please visit the UN Careers website.
Why do we mark International Days?
International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the United Nations has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons (IDPD) was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. IDPD is celebrated on the 3rd of December every year.
2021: Coming soon.
Become a donor
The Space for Persons with Disabilities project is funded entirely through the generous contributions from our stakeholders. Donor support is crucial to realizing the initiative going forward. If you're interested in supporting disability inclusion in space and accelerating sustainable socio-economic development, then please get in touch with us.
Become a partner
The Space for Persons with Disabilities project is continuously improving its education and outreach efforts and expanding its portfolio of activities. Do you have an interesting idea or project that would engage persons with disabilities? We hope to work with you.
UNOOSA has developed a comprehensive guidance for entities interested in a partnership. Please read this webpage for more information.
Finally, no matter how you're currently involved in space, you can do your part to support disability inclusion by observing basic disability etiquette.
Persons with disabilities: Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, art. 1).
Disability inclusion: The meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in all their diversity, the promotion of their rights and the consideration of disability-related perspectives, in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Accessibility: Ensuring that persons with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas (Convention, art. 9).
Reasonable accommodation: Necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms (Convention, art. 2).
Universal design: The design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. "Universal design" shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed (Convention, art. 2).