The 10th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD (COSP) is officially over! This year was an important year as it was the 10th session of COSP and there was more activity than ever before with over 80 side events, numerous parallel events and receptions, as well as the civil society CRPD forum on Monday, 12 June. Moreover, for the first time, civil society and Member States were able to have exhibitions in the UN to raise awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities during the conference.
This year, there was a record number of presenters – approximately 130 – during the General Debate, and in the Ministerial Segment, there were more than 20 high-level speakers, including the First Lady of Ecuador who opened the General Debate. Additionally, the round table discussions centered on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, commitments in the humanitarian area, and the New Urban Agenda
As CBM we were incredibly active with representatives from three Member Associations, International Advocacy and Alliances (IAA), and DPO partners. CBM colleagues included Jane Edge, CEO of CBM Australia; Sarah Meschenmoser, CBM Germany; Mirjam Gasser, CBM Switzerland; Diane Kingston, IAA; and me. In addition, IAA in New York supported Risna Utami from OHANA in Indonesia to attend COSP.
Mirjam presented the official statement on behalf of CBM on 15 June highlighting our programmatic work, women with disabilities, and our engagement in the New Urban Agenda. She also moderated an event on political participation of persons with disabilities. Diane moderated and presented in numerous events and was part of an official COSP panel. I presented on the accessibility campaign I have led at the UN to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities at the HLPF. Additionally, we co-sponsored two events and held an exhibition table for three days in which we shared publications on our programs and had engaging conversations.
Quite a few of CBM’s partners attended COSP and the following are the views they shared on the value of attending global UN events for national programs and work.
We have been supporting our partner, Risna Utami from OHANA in Indonesia, to attend COSP since 2014. Risna says that from this global advocacy at the UN level, she now has a strong influence in her government and that the top level – the Presidential Office – now trusts her and consequently wants to make Indonesia more inclusive of persons with disabilities.
Risna is actively involved with the CBM Indonesia office, as well as CBM Australia in which she carried out a DID training to Australian Embassy and DFAT staff in Jakarta.
Our partner Victor Baute from RIADIS and Venezuela also attended COSP this year. RIADIS and CBM-LARO have an MoU and plan to strengthen CBM’s linkages at the national level in the region. Similar to Risna, Victor has participated in BRIDGE trainings and subsequently has provided local workshops on the CRPD and the SDGs to Latin American DPOs and partners. Victor views COSP as a platform to learn about good practices and examples to replicate and improve on CRPD and SDG implementation, human rights mechanisms, and build upon international exchange and partnerships (SDG 17).
Our partner Rama Dhakal from the National Association of the Physical Disabled – Nepal also attended the COSP. She is the immediate past president of Nepal disabled women’s association and has been a partner with CBM since 2010 when she worked with CBM on education for children with disabilities and livelihood for women with disabilities. CBM supported Rama to attend AWID and also recently attended the DID meeting in the Philippines. Rama views COSP as an effective platform to learn about the challenges of the CRPD for the national government and then bring those back to the country level and address them. Additionally, the HLPF provides an opportunity to better understand the national implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a space in which persons with disabilities can engage and intervene, which is not always possible at the national level.
Sebastian Toledo, Director of CONADI Guatemala attended COSP and is our partner in Guatemala. Specifically, CONADI presented the national Guatemalan disability survey – ENDIS 2016 – at the Guatemalan Mission to the UN to DPO representatives, Missions, and others from Latin America. CBM was involved in this survey with technical leadership and financial contribution. COSP provided a platform and space to share the findings and to discuss ways to build upon this work nationally, regionally, and globally.
Global platforms, such as COSP, are instrumental for our work as they provide a space to learn, discuss, and strengthen the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which in turn is further strengthened by the ambitious and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which for the first time recognizes persons with disabilities as agents of change for sustainable development. The 11th session of COSP will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 to 14 June 2018. Get ready and see you there next year!