HLPF 2016: Solidarity, Inclusion, and Participation

The High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development is the global follow-up and review platform of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which was adopted on 25 September 2015 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The HLPF adopts a Ministerial Declaration and provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the 2030 Agenda’s implementation and follow up; keeps track of progress of the SDGs; spurs coherent policies informed by evidence, science and country experiences; as well as addresses new and emerging issues. Read our newsletter for more details on national perspectives on the HLPF from Egypt, Germany, and Madagascar, as well as a global point of view.

The HLPF was organized with the first five days consisting of interactive roundtable discussions revolving around the theme of “ensuring that no one is left behind.” The last three days made up the ministerial segment, which included two final days of National Voluntary Reviews (NVRs) and ended with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration. This year’s HLPF also showcased a range of side events, a Partnership Exchange event, and SDGs Learning, Training and Practice sessions.

Alt="Ambrose Murangira, Uganda National Association of the Deaf, Uganda presenting at the HLPF 2016"

Ambrose Murangira, Uganda National Association of the Deaf, Uganda presenting at the HLPF 2016

This year’s HLPF was the first convened after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and thus provides a model for future HLPFs to come. One new aspect this year was the inclusion of a two-day session of NVRs in which 22 countries provided their reviews of national implementation (or a baseline of what will take place) of the SDGs. Persons with disabilities were included in 9 of the 22 NVRs with explicit references from Egypt, Finland, France, Madagascar, Morocco, Norway, Sierra Leone, Samoa, and Togo. Thank you!

Persons with disabilities were incredibly visible and well represented with 22 disability advocates in attendance during the eight intense days representing the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities. This incredible and successful work was led by the International Disability Alliance (IDA). Thank you for this! For details on each day, please refer to International Disability Alliance’s excellent updates.

During the HLPF, the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities gave an impressive 16 interventions in the main sessions. One of these interventions was given by Abdulmajid Makni from Morocco who delivered the first civil society intervention on behalf of all Major Groups and other Stakeholders during the national voluntary reviews from Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Sierra Leone and Switzerland in the morning of 19 July. Additionally, persons with disabilities presented as panelists in at least 9 side events on themes of education, shrinking civil society, citizen-driven data, human rights, children, leave no one behind, and inclusion in the national review process.

Alt="Michael Herbst, Yetnebersh Nigussie, and José Maria Viera at the side event on the Contributions of Persons with Disabilities in the HLPF National Voluntary Reviews"

Michael Herbst, Yetnebersh Nigussie, and José Maria Viera at the side event on the Contributions of Persons with Disabilities in the HLPF National Voluntary Reviews

 

Monday, 18 July was our big day with two important and particularly relevant side events concurrently taking place. One was the IDA and International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) event on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the national review processes. CBM Germany’s Michael Herbst was one of the panelists discussing the German experience. The second event was over early action to leave no one behind organized by the Netherlands, Kenya, and Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Colin Allen presented on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities and was one of only two civil society presenters in the event. The event was extremely high level with opening words by Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and Ministers and government officials from many countries, including Albania, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Tanzania, and the United Kingdom.

Quite positively, persons with disabilities and disability advocates from around the globe came together and collaborated as a group to promote the inclusion and rights of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the SDGs. This was a true example of solidarity, inclusion, and participation of persons with disabilities from the global South and North. Participants (in addition to those of us organizing from New York) hailed from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Ethiopia, Ghana, Greece, Japan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Philippines, Spain, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Thank you to IDA for incredible leadership and organization in this process, we couldn’t have done it without you!

I’ll end with a line from Colin Allen’s final intervention on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities in front of a house full of Ministers right before the closing of the HLPF. Colin reminded Member States that many persons with disabilities were present and that they want to work with governments in the implementation of the SDGs. Yes!

For more information:

UN website on the HLPF

HLPF updates from International Disability Alliance

 

The High-level Political Forum and 22 Disability Advocates

The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 to 20 July with a preparatory meeting for Major Groups and other Stakeholders on 10 July. You can watch the HLPF proceedings live on UN Web TV.

The theme of the HLPF 2016 is “Ensuring that no one is left behind,” which is quite applicable to the rights of persons with disabilities. Impressively, twenty-two disability advocates, of whom 12 are persons with disabilities, are traveling to New York to participate in the HLPF and advocate for the right of persons with disabilities and the inclusion in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the advocates attending is CBM Germany’s Michael Herbst who will present at one of the side events in which persons with disabilities are involved. I’m very pleased to have Michael in NYC! Click here for details on the program.

HLPF Background

The outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (or Rio+20) in 2012 established a new high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) replacing the Sustainable Development Committee. The HLPF was envisioned as a universal intergovernmental forum building on the strengths, experiences, resources and inclusive multi-stakeholder working methods of the Commission on Sustainable Development. In addition, the HLPF is the central UN platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as other frameworks related to sustainable development, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

This year’s HLPF is the first taking place since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals and will dedicate two days to national voluntary reviews of 22 countries and thematic reviews of progress on the SDGs, including cross-cutting issues, supported by reviews by the ECOSOC functional commissions and other inter-governmental bodies and forums. The 22 countries that have volunteered to give national reports on SDG implementation at the HLPF in July include: China, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, and Venezuela.

Why is this important for persons with disabilities, you may ask? Because to truly and fully implement the SDGs to make concrete changes and improvements in society (global and local), persons with disabilities must be included in the processes at all levels. While this year some countries included organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) in the national review process at the local level, much can be improved. Linked to this, participants will present at the HLPF to highlight the work well done, as well as remaining gaps.

For Sign Language Users, please watch World Federation of the Deaf President and new International Disability Alliance (IDA) Chair, Colin Allen’s, concise explanation of the HLPF in International Sign below.

I would like to give huge thanks to Luc Pariot from CBM in Madagascar, Laure Akofa Tay from CBM in Togo, Michael Herbst and Sarah Meschenmoser from CBM Germany, and Denis Hofer from CBM Switzerland for their invaluable feedback on how persons with disabilities were included in the national voluntary reviews in their respective countries. This provided invaluable information and highlighted an example of strong collaboration within the far-reaching CBM family!

In New York, with IDA, I am supporting participants with disabilities to present at the HLPF and linked side events, as well as organizing events, and supporting participants to advocate their governments in bilateral meetings. The coordination has been truly collaborative with the stellar lead from IDA and support from CBM, Light for the World, Sightsavers, Handicap International, Atlas Alliance, ADD, Disability Rights Fund, among other organizations. Thank you all!

Particularly relevant side events

  • “Inclusive and Equitable Education: Leaving No One Behind,” 11 July at lunchtime
  • “The Role of Citizens in Data Collection and Accountability toward the HLPF,” 14 July lunchtime of which I’ve been quite involved, CBM is funding the room rental for the event at the UN
  • “Participation of civil society in the national voluntary reviews,” Baha’i Breakfast; 15 July, morning, CBM is funding the breakfast
  • “The Contribution of Persons with Disabilities in the Voluntary National Reviews to the HLPF: Examples from Germany, Latin America, the Philippines and Uganda,” 18 July, lunchtime at the Ford Foundation, Michael Herbst from CBM Germany will present the example of Germany.
  • Additionally, on 13 July (8-10am) we will hold the first meeting to discuss the governance structure of the stakeholder group of persons with disabilities. The meeting will also have a Webex connection available for those outside of the UN and New York to participate. CBM is funding the CART services for accessibility.

Please keep a look out for my post-HLPF blog and check out the following Twitter handles during the exciting coming days: @LockwoodEM, @MaleniChaitoo, @IDA_CRPD_Forum, @WFDPresident, @amurangira

Additional Information

IDA’s excellent update on the HLPF

Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform

 

Recap of the 9th Session of COSP

The 9th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD took place from 14 to 16 June at the UN Headquarters in New York City. Colleagues in attendance from CBM included Diane Kingston (IAA), Maleni Chaitoo (IAA), Kathy Al Ju’beh (DID), Maegan Shanks (DID), and our partner Risna Utami from Indonesia.

This year’s overarching theme of COSP was “Implementing the 2030 development agenda for all persons with disabilities: Leaving no one behind.” Sub-themes include:

  • Eliminating poverty and inequality for all persons with disabilities
  • Promoting the rights of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities
  • Enhancing accessibility to information and technology and inclusive development
  • Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD

As CBM we co-sponsored the side event “Situations of Risk and Humanitarian Emergencies: Article 11 in Practice” on Tuesday, 14 June in which I presented a statement on CBM’s (Emergency Response Unit) work in this area. On Thursday, 16 June I gave a statement of support and commitment at the event on the “Outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit for Persons with Disabilities,” also on behalf of CBM and the Emergency Response Unit’s spectacular work. Thank you, Valerie Scherrer and Gordon Rattray for the support, work, and information on this. Also on Thursday, the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and OHCHR co-sponsored side event, which I helped to organize, “Bridging the Gap: 2030 Agenda and the CRPD,” took place to a packed room. The event highlighted the importance of working as a unified coalition for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the SDGs at all levels.

Alt="Greeting colleagues from East Africa at COSP"

Greeting colleagues from East Africa at COSP

 

During the action-packed week, I also supported Colin Allen (World Federation of the Deaf President and incoming Chair of the International Disability Alliance) in his presentation at a High-Level Political Forum preparatory meeting with Member States. I have never experienced such a positive response to a civil society intervention from Member States at the UN! Member States from Norway, Palestine, and the Netherlands approached Colin afterward and expressed their congratulations on his intervention and that it was given in International Sign.

Maleni and Maegan were incredibly active at COSP, especially networking with the active Deaf cohort in attendance (16 countries were represented), as well as providing invaluable support to all the CBM colleagues. Thank you both!

Alt="Elizabeth, Risna, and Maegan at COSP"

Elizabeth, Risna, and Maegan at COSP

A new IDDC Inclusive Education Task Group leaflet was launched on “Costing equity: How education financing falls short for learners with disabilities” during the side event “Fulfilling Sustainable Development Goals through inclusive budgeting.” The research will be published in a final report in September in time for the opening of the UN General Assembly. CBM is involved by working with IDDC members in supporting research on disability-inclusive financing. Click here for more details. Thank you, Sian Tesni for this work and information.

Following COSP, a two-day training on disability statistics took place organized by UNICEF, International Disability Alliance, and the Washington Group. Risna, Maleni, and I participated in this workshop in which we learned in-depth information on the Washington Group and disability statistics in general.

Some interesting facts about this year’s COSP:

  • Over 70 side events took place
  • There was a record number of presenters (90) for the general debate (Member States)
  • There were 623 civil society participants
  • The new Bureau includes: incoming President from Bulgaria with Vice-Presidents from Germany, Tunisia, Sri Lanka, and Ecuador (replacing the President from Republic of Korea and Vice-Presidents from Brazil, Italy, Poland, and United Republic of Tanzania).
  • The 10th COSP will take place at the UN HQ from 13-15 June, so get ready!
Alt="Great work from great partnerships: CBM, IDA, and UN DESA"

Great work from great partnerships: CBM, IDA, and UN DESA

 

 

 

In closing, it was a real joy to connect and re-connect with so many colleagues, partners, and friends. Thank you to all of our partners and everyone who supported and helped make this a very successful COSP!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Countdown to the 9th session of COSP

The 9th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD kicks off on Tuesday, 14 June until 16 June at the UN Headquarters in the lovely New York City. We have many colleagues from CBM attending this year, including Diane Kingston (IAA), Maleni Chaitoo (my stellar intern), Kathy Al Ju’beh (DID), Maegan Shanks (DID), and our partner Risna Utami from Indonesia.

Background

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) was adopted by the General Assembly by its resolution 61/106 of 13 December 2006. It came into force on 3 May 2008 upon its 20th ratification. Article 40 of the UN CRPD stipulates that “The States Parties shall meet regularly in a Conference of States Parties (COSP) in order to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the present Convention.” COSP is special in that not all human rights treaty bodies have annual meetings of their States parties to report back on what they are doing. COSP creates the important space for persons with disabilities to meet fellow States parties, to network, and to share ideas and influence.

This year’s overarching theme of COSP is “Implementing the 2030 development agenda for all persons with disabilities: Leaving no one behind.” Sub-themes include:

  • Eliminating poverty and inequality for all persons with disabilities
  • Promoting the rights of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities
  • Enhancing accessibility to information and technology and inclusive development
  • Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD

As CBM we are co-sponsoring the side event “Situations of Risk and Humanitarian Emergencies: Article 11 in Practice” on Tuesday 14 June from 1.15pm – 2:30pm, in Conference Room D in which I will present. We are also involved in the side event co-sponsored by IDDC and OHCHR in which I assisted in organizing. The event is called “Bridging the Gap: 2030 Agenda and the CRPD” on Thursday, 16 June from 1:15-2:30 in Room 12. We will also be present and support IDDC members at numerous other side events and meetings, as well as the Civil Society CRPD Forum (on 13 June), which I was involved in planning.

My role is to support our CBM colleagues and partners, as well as IDDC members at COSP. I will chair an informal meeting for CBM and other IDDC members on general information sharing and an update on the High-level Political Forum (HLPF).

Since much of my work focuses on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I will be asking partners and other persons with disabilities about their involvement and advocacy initiatives on local, national, and regional SDG implementation. I hope to gather information to use as a tool for best practices. If you will be at COSP and want to share, please find me! The more information we have, the better we can advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the implementation of this ambitious global agenda for sustainable development.

We are truly fortunate to have a colleague, Diane, who is also a CRPD Committee Member. This COSP, Diane will be focusing on her campaign so cannot present at any events as it’s a conflict of interest. Click here to read more about Diane’s re-election campaign. Tuesday morning is election morning and afterward Diane will support IDDC members as well as Committee members by attending their side events. She will also provide support at a briefing for newly elected Committee members on Wednesday.

Maleni and Meg will focus on Deaf-related events and DID support and will provide a post-COSP blog.

Following COSP, there will be a two-day training on disability statistics organized by UNICEF, International Disability Alliance, and the Washington Group. Risna, Maleni, and I are all participating in this important and exciting (at least, to me) event.

Please follow us for real-time updates on Twitter here: @LockwoodEM, @Diane_CBM, @MaleniChaitoo, @MaeganShanks3, @risnawati_utami

Additional Information

The Civil Society CRPD Forum will take place Monday 13 June 2016, 9:30am – 1:00pm and will be webcast live at http://webtv.un.org/

COSP9 Information