On the occasion of the European Congress "The City and the Disabled", held in Barcelona, Spain, on 23 and 24 March 1995, the undersigning cities assume:

1) That the Dignity and Worth of a person are conditions inherent to all human beings, regardless of sex, creed, age and capabilities.

2) That Deficiency and Disability, according to the concepts set forth in the United Nations' World Action Program for the Disabled, are matters that affect society as a whole, not only individual persons and their family members.

3) That Disability is a dynamic concept, resulting from the interaction between individual skills and the conditions of the surroundings in which such skills are manifested. It is, thus, the responsibility of the community and of its social organization to promote more favorable conditions for the full development of persons, avoiding or removing all causes that hinder or prevent such development.

4) That the City, as a common form of social organization used in all the diverse cultures throughout our planet, must equip itself with the necessary means and resources to promote equal opportunities and the well-being and participation of all its inhabitants.

5) That the limits between "normality" and disability are ill-defined, and therefore it is necessary to consider

the differences between citizens as a part of the diversity of which society is made up, designing services and structures so that they can be used by everyone, and making unnecessary, in most cases, the existence of specific elements for disabled persons.

Therefore, the undersigning cities adopt the agreements

that hereinafter shall be known as the Declaration of "Cities and the Disabled" and they hereby agree to:

a) Promote the-Declaration of "Cities and the Disabled" in various national and international forums, fostering the maximum adherence possible to its principles and premises.

b) Initiate processes of collaboration allowing for full application of the agreements reflected in the Declaration of "Cities and the Disabled", garnering the necessary cooperation from higher territorial entities.


c) Establish communication channels between the various cities to stimulate and support advances in the promotion of equal opportunities for their disabled citizens, to promote consistency in information, especially with regard to signs and symbols, and, in general, to promote the harmonization of municipal policies aimed at these citizens.



And therefore, they declare:




That disabled persons are fully entitled members of the communities in which they reside, and their condition is acknowledged in various international conventions, especially in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Pact for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Pact for Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on Children's Rights, the Declaration of Rights for the Disabled, and the Declaration of Rights for Mentally Retarded Persons.


That disabled persons are entitled to receive attention for their individual and social needs in the context of the provisions for the general population, as well as to promote their development as persons, allowing them to interrelate with the rest of the population, respecting their individual circumstances.


That disabled persons are entitled to technical and social aid which may minimize the consequences of their disabilities, and to be the beneficiaries of policies ensuring equal opportunities, a right upheld by Resolution 48/96, dated 4 March 1994, of the General Assembly of the United Nations regarding "Unified Rules on Equal Opportunities for Disabled Persons".


That disabled persons are entitled to equal opportunities as citizens recognized in a society which is plural and respectful of the difference and diversity of the individuals who make them up. They are also entitled to participate in the social affairs of their community without restriction and to the enjoyment of the welfare that the development of this community may generate.




I) The Municipal Governments will promote better awareness of disabled persons, their rights, their needs, their potentials and their contributions among the general public.


II) The Municipal Governments will, within their area of competence, ensure the disabled persons' right to be different, and their right to receive personalized attention depending on their needs.


III) The Municipal Governments will promote and support the diffusion of informative campaigns that promote a real image of disabled persons, free from bias and prejudice, and, in general, stimulate the integration of disabled persons and the normalization of their relations with their physical and social surroundings which may allow them to optimize their relationship with them.


IV) The Municipal Governments will, within their area of competence, establish systems to provide efficient information to disabled citizens regarding matters which affect them and, especially, promote awareness of their rights and obligations, as well as the provisions established to promote their equalitarian development, promoting the necessary coordination between the different public administrations in order to provide improved coordination of their respective actions.


V) The Municipal Governments will ensure the access of disabled persons to information generated by the Community.


VI) The Municipal Governments will, within their area of competence, promote and ensure the access of disabled persons to cultural, sporting, and recreational activities and, in general, to the participatory coexistence with the community.


VII) The Municipal Governments will ensure the access of disabled persons to general and, if necessary, special services, in the fields of health care, rehabilitation, education, work and social services when these fall within their area of competence. They will also encourage observance of this principle when such services are offered by other public or private organizations.


VIII) The Municipal Governments will establish support services tending to the daily needs of disabled persons in order to make it possible for them to remain in their family homes and thus prevent institutionalization in health-care facilities. In the rendering of these services both personal decisions and the right to privacy of the user will be respected and upheld.


IX) The Municipal Governments will promote systems facilitating access to housing according to the personal and economic circumstances of the disabled.


X) The Municipal Governments will, within their area of competence, adopt measures towards the necessary adaptation of urban spaces, buildings and services of all types, in order to allow full use by disabled persons.


XI) The Municipal Governments will adopt the necessary measures ensuring free mobility of disabled persons throughout the city, and special care will be taken to adapt regular means of passenger transport, and will establish, for those disabled persons who by reason of their disability are denied access, alternative services and special economic conditions to ensure their mobility on equal terms with the rest of the population.


XII) The Municipal Governments will establish measures to ensure the performance of studies and analyses which may provide new elements aimed at improving the quality of life of disabled persons, and promote prevention, detection, diagnostic and early-detection programs.


XIII) The Municipal Governments will, within their area of competence, promote and ensure the participation of disabled persons and their representative organizations in decision-making processes dealing with affairs which, either generally or specifically, may affect them.


XIV) The Municipal Governments will enter into cooperation agreements and conventions with city organizations representing disabled persons, in order to cooperate in their activities and agree to overall and consistent actions.


XV) The Municipal Governments will establish permanent skill-providing and training systems aimed at city personnel in order to ensure adequate comprehension and attention to the needs of the disabled.


XVI) The Municipal Governments, within their area of competence and in cooperation with their city's organizations for disabled persons, will draw up action plans consistent with this Declaration. Such plans must include execution and evaluation deadlines.


XVII) The Municipal Governments will adopt measures tending towards the unification and universalization of rules and regulations, provisions, and the adoption of signal systems and adequate media vehicles for each type of disability, facilitating their full integration in society and in order to make their conditions fully equal to those of the rest of the citizenry. In order to advance in the fulfillment of this goal, the undersigning Municipal Governments will promote, through their international municipal organizations, the passing of rules on the part of pertinent European organizations, establishing the minimum requirements that Municipal Governments must take into account in terms of objectives, programs and budgets making possible the accomplishment of the agreements in this Declaration within a reasonable period of time.


Barcelona, 24 March 1995







Sector de Serveis Personals

Institut Municipal de Disminuīts



Instituto Nacional de Servicios

Sociales (INSERSO)



Departament de Benestar Social



Ārea de Serveis Socials


Consell de Municipis i Regions d'Europa




Mobility International


CERMI - Consejo Espaņol de

Representantes de Minusválidos






Click here to download the Barcelona Declaration.