Thimphu Declaration pledges inclusive approaches for Autism

The three-day conference on autism and NDDs in Thimphu adopted a six-point declaration to accelerate efforts to enable people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders to lead a productive life.

Eleven countries in the WHO south east asia region adopted the Thimphu declaration.

Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen graced the inauguration of the International Conference on Autism and Neuro-developmental Disorders, along with the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Dr. KP Tshering said that they will welcome the WHO South-East Asia Regional Strategy on Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The second declaration called upon governments to integrate the needs of those with autism and other NDDs in health, education, social services and socioeconomic development policy, planning and implementation, as well as other national efforts in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

The third declaration was to collectively enhance whole-of-society and whole-of-government efforts to strengthen national capacity; including health, education and social care systems; to provide services and cares for, as well as take measures to remove stigma and promote social inclusiveness for individuals and families with autism spectrum disorders and other NDDs.

The fourth declaration focused on strengthening information systems and research and promoting knowledge and experience sharing, within and across countries, particularly on best practices with a focus on the lifespan needs of those with autism and other NDDs.

The fifth declaration called upon governments at all levels to work together with civil society including academia, professionals, and non-governmental organizations, as well as private sector and the media, in addressing autism and other NDDs.

The final declaration invited United Nations agencies, development partners and international organizations to facilitate cooperation and collaboration and support countries in the implementation of this Thimphu Declaration, in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Health Minister Tandin Wangchuk said he was confident that the Declaration will entice and encourage government agencies, UN organizations and NGOs to fervently fight for the rights of individuals and families living with disabilities.

He also said that the ministry of health commits to take forward the declaration to ensure better services and support system for autism and NDDs and for this he seeks support from WHO and partners.

“All in all, whatever efforts we make, including this conference, should ultimately result into better life and happiness for persons with disability and their loved ones,” he said.

Lyonpo ended the session thanking Sheikh Hasina, for gracing the opening session and officially declaring the conference open. “This kind gesture by her Excellency has further strengthened our bilateral relationship,” he added.

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