It is estimated that there are nearly 650 million persons with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region and most of them are living in conditions of hardship and poverty, and thus are in great need of economic and social support. Persons with disabilities are entitled to enjoy meaningful, active and collaborative participation in the shared prosperity and advancement of the region. Sustainable growth would not be achieved without inclusive development strategies. Indeed, there are references on disability issues in the outcome documents of previous APEC Economic Leaders' Meetings and Ministerial Meetings. Particularly, the 2015 Leaders’ Declaration stated “We welcome the progress of APEC cooperation to enhance economic empowerment of persons with disabilities and encourage further collaboration among member economies in promoting inclusive development.” And, “we instruct our officials to work closely with businesses, education and training providers, employment services, and civil society to understand the skills needed by the industry and to develop education and training programs that will equip people with the skills and competencies to join the workforce and fulfill their potential”.
Aimed at upgrading the level and quality of the participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of regional economic and social activities, the project is comprised of two sub-projects, namely (1) Policy Research on Advancing Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Internet Economy in the Asia-Pacific Region, and (2) Vocational Training for Persons with Disabilities. The project will be implemented in China and across the Asia-Pacific region from the year of 2016. This project supports efforts of the APEC Group of Friends on Disability (GOFD), which seeks to include disability issues across APEC sub-fora.