Qatar Organizes High-Level Dialogue on Occasion of World Autism Awareness Day

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New York, Media & Communication Dept., April 05

The Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations organized a high-level dialogue on the occasion of the World Autism Awareness Day at the United Nations headquarters in New York, in partnership with the People's Republic of Bangladesh, UNICEF and the World Health Organization, in preparation for the report to be issued by the World Health Organization and UNICEF on the world's children with developmental disabilities.
In a speech during the event, HE Qatar's Permanent Representative to the UN Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani praised the efforts of the World Health Organization in preparing the report which raises awareness of the importance of public health for people with developmental disabilities.
Her Excellency expressed pleasure that the report includes the experience of the State of Qatar as an example of continuous commitment to improving the quality of care and social participation for people with autism spectrum disorders. She underlined that supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities, as well as their families and caregivers, is a priority for the State of Qatar, stressing the need to ensure equal opportunities for them so that they can live a happy, healthy and independent life in their communities.
Noting the effective role carried out by the State of Qatar in this regard, HE Qatar's Permanent Representative to the UN indicated that the State of Qatar submitted the UN General Assembly Resolution No. 62/139 in 2007, which adopted unanimously on December 18, 2007, to declare April 2 of each year as the World Autism Awareness Day. In 2008, the State of Qatar was also among the first countries at the regional and international levels to sign the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In April 2017, the State of Qatar launched the National Autism Plan with the aim of improving the lives of individuals with autism and their families. Under this plan, policy makers and healthcare leaders in the public and private sectors and civil society organizations focus on early diagnosis, quality of care, comprehensive health services and continuity of lifetime support, Her Excellency continued.
Her Excellency also pointed to the establishment of the Renad Academy by Qatar Foundation in 2016, which supports the needs of children with autism in the State of Qatar, explaining that the Academy takes a comprehensive approach in education, focusing on the full development of the child in order to better prepare him for the future.
She noted that the State of Qatar has focused on innovative research through the pioneering work of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and that the university is working in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve learning, attention span, and the general health of children, including children with autism.
HE Qatar's Permanent Representative to the UN underlined that the access of children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities to healthcare throughout their lives is an imperative of human rights, noting that the Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved if this important segment of society is marginalized.