Security Council Reform Ambassador's Speeches

High Level Event on World Autism Awareness Day \'Addressing Autism: Strategies for the Global Community in relation to the SDGs\' Opening Remarks by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative on April 01, 2016

High Level Event on World Autism Awareness Day
'Addressing Autism: Strategies for the Global Community in relation to the SDGs' Opening Remarks by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative on April 01, 2016


Your Excellency Mrs. Ban Soon-taek,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

On the occasion of the World Autism Awareness Day India welcomes the initiative by Bangladesh and Qatar and is happy to join along with Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, and the United States in this important commitment towards raising awareness on Autism Spectrum Disorder. The valuable and concrete work of Autism Speaks has helped immensely in this regard. 

I also take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation for the work being done by Ms. Saima Hossain of Bangladesh and her significant contribution to the fight against Autism and neuro-development disorder.

The inclusion of disabilities and special focus on poorest and most vulnerable people in the ambitious and universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has focused on equal participation, involvement and contribution of persons with developmental disabilities in our collective vision of achieving sustainable development.

SDGs on education, decent work, inequalities, sustainable cities and global partnership explicitly refer to 'disabilities'. Therefore, the transformative 2030 Agenda provides an opportunity for the full realization of the potential of people with Autism and other developmental disabilities and ensure for them 'a life of dignity and meaning'.

While on the path of sustainable development, the underlying message remains that we must 'leave no one behind.'


Autism knows no gender, race, or socio-economic status. Notwithstanding the disorder, people with Autism have a wide range of diverse and unique abilities and often exceptional skills, that can immensely benefit society. 

Their empowerment, including through appropriate education, vocational training and employment opportunities, is the key to ensuring their full and meaningful contribution to sustainable development.

The challenge is to identify early and make every differently-abled children not only count but also capable. These issues need specialized and nuanced attention. 

Enabling the use of ICT and advanced technology tools would act as a catalyst in breaking barriers.

The main objective should be to enhance the quality of life and functional independence and work towards a more inclusive approach. The role of families and educational institutions should be encouraged as the main resources for treatment.


India's National policy recognizes that differently-abled persons are a valuable human resource for the country. 

India has taken legislative steps to address Autism. A dedicated National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism is implementing several schemes for creation of an enabling environment for independent living for people with Autism and disabilities, as much as possible. The focus is on training, awareness and capacity building, shelter, care giving and empowerment.

The International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN) in India has developed screening and diagnostic tools. Research studies on Autism are also being encouraged. Social media and ICT play an important role in our outreach activities.

India is actively engaged in the South Asian Autism Network (SAAN) which uses a culturally sensitive approach to the raising awareness. 

Today's High Level Event on Autism provides an opportunity to engage and share ideas, lessons learned and examine the way forward on Autism awareness.

It is only through such collective efforts and partnerships that we will be able to improve life of people with Autism.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said 'Let us all work together to create a world where persons with disabilities can scale new heights of success without any obstacles.'

I thank you.