Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Speeches & Transcripts

Elisabetta Capannelli's Address on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 3, 2016

Elisabetta Capannelli The International Day of Persons with Disabilities Bucharest, Romania


Elisabetta Capannelli's Address on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

World Bank Group

Dear Romanians,

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

2016 coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the right for persons with disabilities (one of the most quickly and widely ratified international treaties put forth by the United Nations).

On this Day the international community raises awareness of the plea of persons with disabilities, but for millions of Romanians who are disabled or who love, know, live with, or care for a person with a disability, the issue is present in their lives 365 days a year.

There are over 700,000 persons with disabilities in Romania, of these over 70,000 are children. In Romania, less than 5% of disabled persons are employed, below the EU average.

These Romanians are our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, our family members, our fellow citizens, and they should be respected and supported.

People living with some form of disability are an important portion of Romania, yet still we see and meet few of them every day.  Because of stigma, lack of access, lack of opportunities and marginalization, making it hard for them to be part of Romanian society.

Disabled people in Romania:

  • Need access to education, including specialised education, to fully unlock their talents and skills;
  • They need access to employment opportunities, including adequate arrangements to support productive work and to contribute to the progress of Romania;
  • They need access to good public services to empower them to be equal citizens, every day of the year.

The World Bank in Romania helps advance the social inclusion of persons with disabilities by supporting the reform of the social assistance system. We advocate the need to provide an adequate income for those who cannot work, to improve the living standards of persons with disabilities in long-term care institutions, and to support the entry in the labor market of those able to work.

We believe that supporting persons with disabilities and integrating them in society is a critical element of a more prosperous and equal Romania.