The International Labour Organisation (ILO) was set up with the aim to promote more equality in the way we deal with persons with disability within the job market and in terms of providing them with employment opportunities. 

One in seven people in the world has a disability and the vast majority of these people are in employment. Many, however, do not benefit from the right to work. Statistic show that excluding people with disability from the job market can cost the national economy up to 7% of the Gross Domestic Product. 

Today we want to focus on the skills and talents of people with disability and on what needs to be done so that they can benefit from the right to productive work and a decent job. 

The need to do this is recognised and the framework is in place. The Convention of the United Nations on the Rights of Persons with Disability and international standards of work call for the removal of obstacles to ensure that people with special needs can access decent jobs. Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development looks to a future where sustainable development and decent employment become a reality – always if people with disability are included.  

The positive contribution that people with special needs can offer the world of work in particular and society in general is increasingly being recognised. At the international level, governments, trade unions, employers and others have responded to the call for action. 

More companies and associations of workers around the world, including in Malta, are strengthening their practices with regard to inclusion of disability. 

More attention needs to be given to disability, from the promotion of non-discriminatory policies and good governance on the job market to the accessibility of technology. 

Results have been achieved, but much remains to be done so that we can live in a society where persons with special needs are truly appreciated and included on an equal basis.