COSP16: Inclusive Education: an imperative for advancing human rights and sustainable development

13 June 2023

Side event to the 16th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Co-sponsored by UNPRPD.

UNESCO and Inclusion International, together with the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Colombia to the United Nations, are co-organizing a side event entitled “ Inclusive Education: an imperative for advancing human rights and sustainable development” at the margins of the Conference of State Parties (CoSP) to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN-CRPD). “Reaching the under-represented groups of persons with disabilities” is the third thematic area of this year’s CoSP.

This side event is a contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 4 on “Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all” and to the follow-up to the UN Transforming Education Summit, which was convened by the UN Secretary-General in response to the global crisis in education – one of equity and inclusion, quality and relevance. 87% of the National Commitments to Transform Education expressed during the Summit recognized “the importance of ensuring more inclusive education systems to cater for the needs of the most vulnerable learners and communities”.  There is an urgent need to accelerate efforts and action to ensure that persons with physical, emotional, developmental and intellectual disabilities are not left behind.

Despite the many actions that have been taken, learners with disabilities are among those at highest risk of being excluded from school, or to be taught in segregated settings. Worldwide, laws emphasize segregation in 25% of countries, partial segregation in 48%, integration in 10% and inclusion in 17%. Also, the existence of inclusive policies in some countries does not guarantee proper and effective implementation. When learners with disabilities are included in general schools, they are most likely not receiving the support that they need to learn and participate on an equal basis with their peers with and without disabilities.

The side event will also echo the Call to Action “Disability Inclusive Education: A Call to Action to Ensure Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education” issued at the Transforming Education Summit by the International Disability Alliance (IDA), the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) Network’s Inclusive Education Working Group and the Global Campaign for Education-US (GCE-US) to support organizational commitments to invest in inclusive education.



  • Discuss the challenges still faced by learners with disabilities and share innovative and effective policies and practices to move towards inclusion in education;

  • Share the lived experiences of persons with intellectual disabilities who have gone through inclusive education;

  • Exchange on practices and strategies to ensure equitable and inclusive education for all children, particularly those at highest risk of being excluded;

  • Renew progress and barriers to inclusive education in light of the recent efforts – such the Transforming Education Summit and its Call to Action – and in the run up to major upcoming events such as the 30th Anniversary of the Salamanca Declaration, the 2023 SDG Summit and the Summit of the Future.


The main co-hosts of this event are UNESCO, Inclusion International, and the Permanent Missions of Colombia and Portugal to the United Nations. Co-sponsors are the World Bank, the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD), the International Disability Alliance, the International Disability and Development Consortium’s Inclusive Education Task Group, the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) Network Inclusive Education working Group, and Perkins School for the Blind.

General info & Technical details

The event will be held in person at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday 13 June  2023 at 11.30am EST, Conference Room 11. The event will be held in English. The side-event will be webcast on the UN TV at: . Sign language interpretation and captioning will be provided on UN TV.


If you are attending the event in person, please kindly register by filling the short form at this link by Thursday, June 8th at 4pm EDT: