Promoting community integration of people with disabilities through business support
The Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs chaired an online meeting with its ASEAN partners to promote the community integration of people with disabilities through business support. Photo: VNA
The fourth meeting of the Network of Experts on Inclusive Entrepreneurship in ASEAN (NIEA) was held online on October 22, with the theme “Promotion of Inclusive Entrepreneurship towards a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community”.
The meeting was part of the ASEAN Strategic Framework on Social Welfare and Development, chaired by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) in the 2020-2021 period.
Attending were those in charge of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD), NIEA members from the ten ASEAN countries, representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, organisations linked to ASEAN, and international partners such as the US, the UN, and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
Speaking at the event, head of MoLISA’s Department of Social Assistance Nguyen Van Hoi spoke highly of the role Thailand played in founding and coordinating NIEA during 2017-2019.
With nearly 30 members, the network has contributed to promoting enterprises owned by people with disabilities (PWDs), sharing information about PWD-related issues, and increasing the quality of their lives.
To help the network uphold its role, Hoi suggested nations adopt more policies and programmes to enhance PWDs’ engagement and promote their approach to employment and business opportunities.
Overview of NIEA's fourth meeting in Hanoi. Photo: VNA
He added that Vietnam expects to have practical activities in the ASEAN to help people with disabilities integrate into the community:
“All ASEAN member states want to uphold corporate responsibility towards people with disabilities, therefore, improving corporate values in the community. The ASEAN has called for a regional review of legal framework to enhance corporate support for people with disabilities and vulnerable groups. In particular, businesses should be incentivized to recruit people with disabilities in work places,” said Hoi.
Delegates exchanged views on institutions and policies to promote inclusive entrepreneurship for PWDs in ASEAN countries, the role of involved parties, difficulties and challenges in this endeavour, links with the implementation of the ASEAN Enabling Master Plan 2025 on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the application of information technology and e-commerce to promote start-ups.
The meeting also prepared a document on common recommendations to promote inclusive entrepreneurship for PWDs, which will be sent to senior officials and ministers in charge of social welfare and development to seek their greater focus on PWD-related issues.
Protecting and promoting the rights of people with disabilities is a persistent priority of ASEAN, as reflected through the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the 2025 ASEAN Enabling Masterplan on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
ASEAN always attaches importance to international cooperation on climate change response and hopes that countries will make strong financial commitments to this in 2020.
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also has signed a decision approving a support programme for persons with disabilities for 2021-2030.
The programme aims to promote the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Vietnam's Law on Persons with Disabilities.
It is also meant to improve the quality of the lives for people with disabilities and enable them to participate equally in social activities, as well as build a barrier-free environment, ensure their legitimate rights and support them to make the best of themselves.
In 2026-2030, nearly 90 percent of persons with disabilities are expected to access medical services, while 90 percent of children with disabilities will be able to access education.
Close to 300,000 people in this vulnerable group will be supported with vocational training.