Worldwide, one in six people, or around one billion, live with a disability. Of these approximately 470 million are of working age, including 238 million in Asia Pacific.
Although many people with disabilities are successfully employed and fully integrated into society, as a group they suffer a disproportionate level of poverty and unemployment. Worldwide, their exclusion from the workplace deprives societies of an estimated US$ 1.37- 1.94 trillion in lost GDP annually. Yet women and men with disabilities can and want to be productive members of their societies.
The ILO's primary goal of Decent Work for All includes women and men with disabilities. For more than 50 years the ILO has worked to promote skills development and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, based on the principles of equal opportunity and equal treatment (since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities discrimination has been increasingly recognised as a human rights issue).
In Asia Pacific the ILO works to promote labour standards, partnerships, technical cooperation, vocational rehabilitation, community involvement, and build up knowledge about training and employing people with disabilities. Equally important is ensuring that the needs of persons with disabilities are reflected in policies, programmes, training and employment services, so laying the foundations for societies that are more inclusive and equitable.