The social value of sustainable urbanization offers pathways to enhancing social inclusion, reducing inequality, and ending poverty; thereby, leaving no one and no place behind. To reap the full benefit of growth, the ongoing urbanization in Sri Lanka needs steering and guidance to ensure no one is left behind. Therefore, mainstreaming Leaving No One Behind (LNOB) in national urban policies and programmes caters to the needs of the vulnerable and marginalised, including persons with disability. In addition, LNOB is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For this, the urban policies, planning and development projects must be designed to cater to the needs of the vulnerable and marginalised, including persons with disabilities. To understand the needs of marginalised groups, sensitisation, and strengthening capacities of relevant entities in data and assessment mechanisms are essential. Through the LNOB Project, the inclusion of persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups will be strengthened in fundamental sectors of urban development, under SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities for integrated urban development and SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, which gives impetus to an important sectoral challenge in South Asia countries.
The LNOB Project draws on the collective expertise of UN-Habitat to use the convening power for addressing the complex, cross-sectoral challenges facing urban policymakers aiming to mainstream inclusive, safe concepts into urban policy and planning frameworks by engaging national, sub-national and local governments.
As part of the above-mentioned initiative, the regional advisor (LNOB) of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme Mr Parul Sharma visited Sri Lanka to discuss the issues pertaining to disability inclusiveness and urban development in Sri Lanka, the progress made under the LNOB project and to share other international best-practices from the region regarding #disability-inclusive urban development including e-learning modules developed with UNRC India, pilot training sessions on promoting accessibility completed in schools in Delhi and with the Public Work Department, GNCTD and discuss ways forward for developing/ customizing the knowledge products for taking up similar initiatives in Sri Lanka. Manique Gunaratne also joined the discussion which was held at Hotel Janaki in February 2023.
Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum