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New forum aims to bring together the business and disability sectors

Published 19 Dec 2019

A new forum – the first of its kind in Malta – aims to build closer ties between the disability and business sectors, creating a platform for discussion and improving dialogue between persons with a disability and business organisations.

The Malta Business Disability Forum, chaired by the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD), was set up officially through the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding between its nine members. 

Apart from the CRPD, these are the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry; the Malta Employers’ Association and the GRTU – Malta Chamber of SMEs as founding members. These have been joined by the MFOPD – Malta Federation Organisations of Persons with Disability; the Faculty for Social Wellbeing; the Office of the Commissioner for Mental Health; the Gozo Business Chamber and the Local Councils’ Association.

“We wanted to bring together stakeholders from different fields but with a common focus, to create a stronger unified voice to bring about concrete action. We feel that this forum – the first of its kind in Malta – has extraordinary potential and we are very excited to be leading it forward,” said CRPD commissioner Oliver Scicluna. 

Based on a similar set-up as in the UK, this entity will also focus on bridging the gap between employers and persons with disability. 

There are over 19,000 persons with a disability registered with the Commission. Yet barriers to accessibility and employment for disabled people are still rife.

Together, the entities forming part of the Forum will work to maximise accessibility for persons with a disability in the business and employment spheres. They will also work to help bridge the gap between business people and persons with disability and promote accessibility in service provision while enhancing the career and employment aspirations of persons with disability. 

The Forum will also work to identify issues that require action and attention and to influence government and policymakers to remove barriers and change legislation and bureaucratic practices.

It will also act as a point of reference for government and policy makers to provide feedback to new policies. The Forum will work to commission research in the field of disability and business, explore interlinks and provide evidence for action; to show the business and employment potential of persons with a disability, as consumers and business owners and to generate public awareness on these issues.