RESULTS UK warmly welcomes the International Development Select Committee’s report released today which calls on the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to urgently step up its work on disability, or risk failing the world’s poorest people.

RESULTS’ Executive Director Aaron Oxley said, “We and our grassroots advocates from across the UK have campaigned passionately for years to see UK aid better supporting education for children with disabilities. We’ve worked with coalitions of other charities, with many of Team GB’s amazing Paralympians, and with Parliamentarians. The International Development Committee is absolutely right to urge DFID to build on Minister Lynne Featherstone MP’s recent commitments and ensure that disabled people become a clear and sustained priority for UK aid”.

Disability has been neglected for far too long as a “niche” area of development. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) failed to mention disability, yet disabled people make up an estimated 15% of the global population. 80% of disabled people live in developing countries and the UN calls them “the world’s largest minority.

Without including disabled people, many of the MDG targets will not be reached. Progress towards MDG 2 (universal primary education), for example, has all but stalled, with 57 million children worldwide out of school and a global learning crisis with 250 million children failing to learn even the basics . Estimates suggest that children with disabilities are more likely to be out of school than any other group of children.

RESULTS UK urges DFID to heed the recommendations of the International Development Select Committee’s report. DFID should lead by example by putting in place a strong disability strategy supported by a larger team with a senior sponsor and strong reporting processes to ensure accountability. DFID should pledge to make all UK aid programmes accessible to disabled people, and begin immediately to implement that pledge in a sensible, phased way.

The IDSC report highlights the important role that Prime Minister David Cameron has played in the debate about the future of development as co-chair of the UN High Level Panel on Post-2015. The Prime Minister has championed the High Level Panel’s call for a development agenda that “leaves no-one behind” and prioritising disabled people clearly fits with that agenda.

Mr Oxley echoed the Prime Minister’s focus on the most marginalised, saying, “Acting now to prioritise education for children with disabilities, and other marginalised groups, will ensure that UK aid and UK taxpayers help secure a world of prosperity for all that leaves no-one behind.”

Figures released last week showed that the UK Government had fulfilled their commitment to meet the international target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on overseas aid . The UK is also currently the largest bilateral donor to basic education. The IDSC report emphasises the importance of DFID promoting attention to the needs of disabled people via its role as a leading contributor to UN and other international agencies.

Mr Oxley said “I am very proud that our Government is a world leader in development. DFID’s work is delivering important progress and changing millions of lives. On disability, the IDSC is right that DFID can play a crucial role by leading by example and by working closely with international partners, such as the Global Partnership for Education, to ensure all children, regardless of disability or other circumstance, can achieve a quality education”.