Venus Illagan was plenary speaker on the topic: "Bridging the Gap between Rights and Development". She stressed that if persons with disabilities are to effectively contribute to development as an exercise of right, investment has to be made to build their capacities to become productive and contributing members of their communities. This means that approaches to poverty reduction as it relates to persons with disabilities, have to be developmental and holistic, one that integrates economic and social policies to achieve people-centered development outcomes.
RI actively participated in the 1st CBR World Congress held in India. RI President Jan Monsbakken and SG Venus Ilagan both played important roles in the Congress organized by the World Health Organization and other partners in Agra, India 26-28 November.
In the context of developing countries, this means for example, increasing the funding for education so that the needs of children with disabilities can be better addressed and their inclusion facilitated and realized. It also means making quality health services affordable and accessible so that the perennially excluded women with disabilities can have access to these services just like everyone else. Similarly, it means getting rid of the often-repeated cliché that anything done to address disability related concerns are expensive and unsustainable.
Illagan stressed that "if persons with disabilities are to be finally included in development, cost should not be an issue that stands in the way in achieving the goal of inclusion. It must also be ensured that the preconditions needed to enable such enjoyment of rights be met and provided for regardless of cost and other considerations".