Quito Made History for Disability Equality, Inclusive Cities and Inclusive Society at HABITAT III

October 21, 2016

Six sided geometric figure is comprised of triangles in different shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, and gray

The word

Quito Made History for Disability Equality, Inclusive Cities and Inclusive Society at HABITAT III

Quito October 21, 2016:

A unique live aerial human art project: INCLUSION: A Vision for Unity made history at the United Nations Habitat III.

With over 300 diverse participants joining together from Quito and around the world on Tuesday, October 18 at 3pm, the word INCLUSION was spelt out and photographed from above with a drone.

People holding blue umbrellas are organized to form the word "Inclusion" people with yellow and orange umbrella form the sunThe El Arbolito Park Fountain was turned off and given two ramps to facilitate access to people with and without disabilities, including people using wheelchairs, 6 children with intellectual disabilities and children attending Habitat III from a slum in India.  Diplomats, architects and engineers from the conference joined in the innovative event with other local and international attendees who came to participate in the events.

The project was directed by the internationally renowned artist John Quigley, producer and human rights activist. Dr. Victor Pineda, President of World ENABLED kept the crowd engaged in English and Spanish as 170 locally sourced umbrellas were handed out and everyone formed the letters of the word INCLUSION. 

The event was designed to elevate the way in which people think about inclusion around the world – to show that cities should be accessible and inclusive to all – people with disabilities, older persons, children, people living in poverty – and they should be included in all urban development and planning process.

It celebrated the historic inclusion of people with disabilities and other partner constituency groups being included with a seat at the table at the United Nations Habitat III conference in a historic shift.

People holding blue umbrellas form the word "Inclusion" when viewed from directly above. People holding yellow and orange umbrella form the sun.This has been one of the most productive and positive United Nations conference for equality and inclusion of people with disabilities. Some critical impacts were:

  • United Nations HABITAT III accepted a New Urban Agenda (NUA) “which aims towards making cities and human settlements more inclusive, ensuring that everyone can benefit from urbanization, and paying particular attention to those in vulnerable situations.”
  • The new Urban Agenda contains explicit references to people with disabilities.
  • People with disabilities had a seat at the table.
  • People with disabilities and the Inclusion Aerial Human Art project were explicit mentioned in the Conference concluding remarks.
  • The final statement from the HABITAT III Secretariat, Dr. Joan Clos, referenced “inclusive cities.” 
  • The Vice President of Argentina who uses a wheelchair was one of the final speakers.
  • Book launch on key recommendations for urban agenda: The Inclusion Imperative: Towards Disability-Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development by World Enabled and CBM World Wide. 

The INCLUSION Aerial Human Art event included:

  • More than 300 participants
  • Diplomats from the United Nations, USA Embassy and Canadian Parliament and Zambia.
  • Five speakers
  • Ms. Quito
  • Academics and students from local universities
  • Over 20 children
  • Two drones
  • 170 umbrellas

Speakers included:

  • Dr Victor Pineda (President, World Enabled, Founder, Disability Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development (DIAUD) network, Co-Chair, people with disabilities partner constituency group)
  • Ambassador Luis Gallegos Ambassador of Ecuador to the United Nations
  • Sandra Esparez Jacome an acecssibility architect from Ecuador with the fundacion ecuador accessible who has created accessible parks and playgrounds - in Ecuador and countries in Latin America. 
  •  Jasmin Nissa (an active child leader from an informal settlement in India)
  • Natalie Draisin (Manager, US Office, FIA Foundation)
  • Miss Quito Angie Vergara

The event was made possible thanks to the support of the Ford Foundation

Photos and video credit:  Q Specter and World Enabled