Accessibility in the Nordic countries through cooperation

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 9.3.2016 11.20
News item News item by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the National Institute for Health and Welfare

A well-functioning society that is easily accessible, where everyone can participate and everyone has equal rights – these are the values and objectives of disability policies in the Nordic countries.

A well-functioning society that is easily accessible, where everyone can participate and everyone has equal rights – these are the values and objectives of disability policies in the Nordic countries.

While the Nordic countries are forerunners in disability policies in many ways, there is still much work to be done before persons with disabilities are truly on a par with the rest of society.  

One of the challenges in all the Nordic countries is how to improve the rights and living conditions of persons with disabilities by incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in national legislation. Each Nordic country is in a different phase of the process, meaning that we can learn from one another. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands and Greenland have already ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Finland and the Aland Islands are about to ratify it, whereas Iceland’s aim is to do so in the near future.

These are among the procedures that are addressed during the Nordic conference “Disability Policies and the impact of UNCRPD in the Nordic region”, held on 9 and 10 March in Helsinki. The conference is part of Finland’s Presidency Programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers and serves as a forum for experts in the Nordic countries to exchange experiences.

A fundamental principle in disability policies in the Nordic countries is to involve persons with disabilities in the processes and decisions concerning them. Topical issues in Nordic disability policies at the moment are improving accessibility, equal rights, livelihood, accommodation, employment prospects and providing more opportunities to impact community planning.  
 
With the advent of the Council for Nordic Co-operation on Disability in 2013, Nordic collaboration in matters concerning persons with disabilities was further strengthened. The Council facilitates the participation of persons with disabilities in Nordic co-operation and serves as an advisory body for the Nordic Council of Ministers. It also participates in the organisation of the Nordic conference in Helsinki.  


Inquiries:

Stina Sjöblom, Expert, National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. +358 29 524 7187
Eveliina Pöyhönen, Ministerial Counsellor, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3303
Maria Montefusco, Project Manager and Secretary of the Council for Nordic Co-operation on Disability, Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues, tel. +46 76 199 2807