In the Nordic Region, the inclusion of those with a disability is a key welfare policy challenge. Everyone has the right to participate in society on equal terms, regardless of their physical or mental ability. The Nordic welfare model is also based on active contribution of as many members of society as possible. No one should be excluded. A key principle is that those with a disability should be involved in policy-making that affects them. Dialogue between public and non-profit organisations is essential.
Nordic co-operation on disability benefits the Nordic countries by supplementing and strengthening ongoing national processes with the aim of ensuring inclusion in all areas of society. Together we are establishing the necessary conditions for the exchange of experiences, preservation of expertise, and development of methods for the inclusion of people with disabilities in a number of strategic areas and selected contexts. At the same time, our co-operation in other international fora, such as the EU, the Council of Europe, and the UN, is deepening and providing synergies with other processes that aim to ensure inclusion. An important tool is the Council of Nordic Co-operation on Disability, with members appointed by governments and disability organisations from across the region.
The field of disability is cross-sectoral. A number of sectors engage in activities that contribute to inclusion within their own field. To ensure that Nordic policies in a variety of areas also benefit Nordic citizens with disabilities, there are activities aimed at raising awareness of the disability perspective within the Nordic Council of Ministers’ and Nordic Council’s key activities, such as their secretariats, institutions, programmes, and networks. Examples include projects in education and research policy, gender equality, and business policy. Within the cultural sector, the accessibility of all cultural institutions is essential if everyone is to participate in their activities on equal terms. This includes cultural producers, cultural practitioners, and audiences at cultural events. Parallel to this, the Secretariat to the Nordic Council of Ministers is working to systematically increase the level of accessibility for people with disabilities to and within the activities of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council.