Author Archives: Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood

About Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the CBM Representative at the United Nations in New York. Elizabeth focuses on developing advocacy strategies to raise awareness, network, build capacity, and lobby for the rights of persons with disabilities at the UN level in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Inclusive Development. She also coordinates efforts of mainstreaming persons with disabilities in Agenda 2030 and conducts research and writes briefs to assist with strategies for the inclusion of persons with disabilities. Elizabeth has lived and worked in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Navajo Nation engaging in disability-focused grassroots activism and broader policymaking with emphasis on inclusive strategies and systematic change through advocacy, collaboration, and awareness. She holds a Ph.D. in Disability Studies and is fluent in Spanish and five sign languages.

Data collection and persons with disabilities

The sixth meeting of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) was held from 11 to 14 November 2017 in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Civil society was able to participate during the plenary session, which was held during the last two days. Key themes that emerged were the need for capacity building, focus on disaggregation of data, and reclassification of indicators and their respective tier rankings. Collecting data on persons with disabilities was a recurrent theme, as well as a focus on data on older persons.

As background, the IAEG-SDGs was established by the Statistical Commission at its 46th session to develop an indicator framework for the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development at the global level and to support its implementation. The global indicator framework was adopted by the UN General Assembly in July 2017. You can read the resolution here.

Alt="Stakeholders with the IAEG-SDGs co-chairs from Mexico and Tanzania"

Stakeholders with the IAEG-SDGs co-chairs from Mexico and Tanzania

This IAEG-SDGs meeting focused on data disaggregation, which is particularly relevant for persons with disabilities who are all too often not counted or included in data collection and consequently left out of key policies and programs. We advocated for disaggregation by disability during the plenary as well as with the co-chairs of the disaggregation work stream (from Germany and Ghana) with members from Bahrain, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Egypt, France, the Netherlands, and Senegal.

The disaggregation work stream released its first “stocktaking” document on disaggregation entitled “Overview of standards for data disaggregation” in which disability is highlighted You can read more here. We welcomed the document, and especially that it proposes the Washington Group Short Set of Questions as standard for monitoring the SDGs. As CBM we have supported the use of the Washington Group in Guatemala in the Guatemala National Disability Survey (ENDIS). You can read more about this work here.

Also during the meeting, certain indicators were requested to be reclassified (read here for more information on Tier classification for global SDG indicators). The relevant indicators for persons with disabilities discussed were:

  • health services (indirect), 3.8.1 (will remain Tier III)
  • public city space (direct), 11.7.1 (will remain Tier III, but will be reviewed again in the coming weeks)
  • capacity-building support to developing countries to increase the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable disaggregated data (indirect), 17.18.2 (reclassified as Tier II)
Alt="Working with Stakeholders on our joint statement on data disaggregation"

Working with Stakeholders on our joint statement on data disaggregation

As part of the larger stakeholder group, we had the excellent opportunity to meet with the IAEG-SDGs co-chairs (from Mexico and Tanzania) to propose our recommendations to make the process more inclusive. We proposed to change the format of the plenary so we can input prior to the closed sessions, and also to have more opportunities to engage with the working groups and input into the many processes. Our feedback was received well overall and we hope to see doors opening for civil society to engage more meaningfully in the indicator process.

We will continue to engage in the global indicator process from New York. Stay tuned for more updates on this integral work that is a key part of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Financing for Development and the SDGs

The 2018 Financing for Development (FfD) process for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has begun. Last week the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Financing for Development held a meeting to discuss its report for 2018, which in part influences the FfD Forum outcome document and thus is an important document to influence.

As background, the IATF on Financing for Development was convened by the UN Secretary-General to follow up on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and is comprised of over 50 United Nations agencies, programs and offices, regional economic commissions and other relevant international institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The IATF reports annually on progress in implementing the Addis Agenda and other FfD outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Last week’s dialogue was for Member States, Agencies, and civil society on the progress of the 2018 report thus far. Member States that made statements included: Belgium, Jamaica, the EU, Canada, China, Russia, and France. As the only civil society presenter, we advocated for the inclusion and participation of civil society and of persons with disabilities in the upcoming report. The response was that:

  • For the next briefing, there will be a more accessible manner to include people calling in remotely.
  • There will be an effort to have more consultations with opportunities for civil society to input into the draft report.
  • Stakeholders will be invited to participate in the FfD Forum.

Key points:

  • The 2018 IATF report will be structured as a three-prong report with focus on (1) global context, (2) thematic context, and (3) the seven Addis Agenda chapters.
  • The report will be linked to the SDGs of focus for 2018 High-level Political Forum (water, energy, sustainable cities, sustainable consumption, and bio-systems).
  • Another focus will be on the impact of private finance, blended finance, and financial inclusion.
  • Threads that will link across chapters include:
    • Gender
    • Technology (in terms of employment, trade, domestic resource mobilization, and taxes)
    • Impact on the most vulnerable countries (risk of natural disasters and increasing debt risk)

Next Steps

  • There will be additional dialogues on the IATF report.
  • There will be a possible retreat early next year for in-depth discussions on early findings of the report.
  • By end of February 2018, the first draft of the report will be posted online.
  • There will be continued dialogue with all relevant stakeholders.

We will continue to advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in this important process. Key entry points include technology and disaster risk reduction, in which CBM can provide particular expertise. Stay tuned for updates!

UNGA 72: Focusing on people

The 72nd regular session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) convened at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, 12 September. In addition, the General Debate opened on Tuesday centering on “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.”

The President of the 72nd session of the UNGA, Miroslav Lajčák, identified the following six overarching priorities for his presidency: (1) making a difference in the lives of ordinary people, (2) prevention and mediation in sustaining peace, (3) migration, (4) the SDGs and climate and addressing inequalities, (5) human rights and equality, and (6) quality of mandated events.

Recurrent themes in presentations and at events include the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), peace, migration and refugees, climate change, gender equality, education, and youth, most of which are key areas of focus in CBM’s work. As such, I will focus this piece on youth with disabilities and the SDGs as it is increasingly important in today’s world.

Youth with Disabilities and the SDGs

Youth with disabilities and the SDGs are an area of increasing importance since there are approximately 180 to 220 million youth with disabilities worldwide and nearly 80 percent of live in developing countries.[1] Persons with disabilities, including youth with disabilities experience higher rates of unemployment and economic inactivity than their counterparts without disabilities and are at greater risk of insufficient social protection, which is integral to reducing extreme poverty.[2]

The most applicable Goals and targets for youth with disabilities include Goal 4 on education and Goal 8 on employment. Especially, the targets and indicators under Goal 4:

  • 4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
  • 4.a Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
  • 4.a.1 Percentage of schools with access to (i) electricity; (ii) Internet for pedagogical purposes; (iii) computers for pedagogical purposes; (iv) adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities; (v) single-sex basic sanitation facilities; (vi) basic handwashing facilities…

And the targets and indicators under Goal 8:

  • 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • 8.5.1 Average hourly earnings of female and male employees by occupation, by age group and persons with disabilities
  • 8.5.2 Unemployment rate, by sex, age group and persons with disabilities

There are solid examples this year of regional engagement of youth with disabilities in sustainable development and human rights, including:

A strong national example of empowerment of youth with disabilities is from Rwanda through the Disability Rights Fund:

  • Uwezo Youth Empowerment is a Rwandan local NGO that was established by youth with disabilities to advocate for their inclusion of youth with disabilities in all youthful programs.
  • With support from VSO Rwanda, UWEZO implemented a two-year project aimed at employment of job seekers with disabilities through volunteering and/or internships.
  • Uwezo facilitated 45 youth with disabilities to have mentorships, transport and communication allowance.
  • As of July 2016, 21 youth with disabilities are fully employed.

Suggestions for engagement on the way forward

  • Engage and collaborate more with other civil society groups, such as the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth.
  • Participate in and support youth with disabilities to attend the ECOSOC Youth Forum, UN Youth Delegate Programme and additional UN programs
  • Create commissions, subgroups and programs focused on youth in our own organizations and alliances.
  • Provide platforms for trainings and information exchange for youth with disabilities.
  • Participate in the HLPF 2019, which will focus on “empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”

[1] Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University and UNDESA. From http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/documents/youth/fact-sheets/youth-with-disabilities.pdf.

[2] (2017). ILO. From http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/disability-and-work/WCMS_475650/lang–en/index.htm.

High-level Political Forum 2018

Summer is coming to a close and we are already gearing up for the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) 2018! As a refresher, the HLPF is the annual global platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Please continue reading for a concise review on what is happening.

The Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic Marie Chatardova is the new President of ECOSOC. It is fantastic to have a woman in this position!

The HLPF 2018 theme is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” with a special focus on SDG 6 (water), SDG 7 (energy), SDG 11 (cities and human settlements), SDG 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns), SDG 15 (terrestrial ecosystems), and SDG 17 (MOI and partnerships). SDGs 11 and 17 are the most relevant for persons with disabilities and our work. Refer below to the explicit references to persons with disabilities in the respective targets and indicators.

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, “persons with disabilities” and older persons 11.2.1 Proportion of population that has convenient access to public transport, by sex, age and “persons with disabilities”

 

11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and “persons with disabilities” 11.7.1 Average share of the built-up area of cities that is open space for public use for all, by sex, age and “persons with disabilities
11.7.2 Proportion of persons victim of physical or sexual harassment, by sex, age, “disability status” and place of occurrence, in the previous 12 months

 

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
17.18 By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, “disability,” geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts

The exact dates of the HLPF are not yet certain, but the event will be held for eight days in June/July of next year.

Forty-four countries have already volunteered to present National Reviews next year and the list is now closed. The countries include the following (those in bold are reviewing for a second time): Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Cabo Verde, Canada, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Namibia, Niger, Paraguay, Poland, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, State of Palestine, Sudan, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Viet Nam (Please find the list of countries here, and select “2018”).

For CBM’s work at the national level, the countries of particular interest include Niger, Republic of Congo, Viet Nam, Mexico, and Ecuador. For our Member Associations, the countries of focus include Australia, Canada, Ireland, and Switzerland.

An important point to keep in mind is that during the 73rd session of the General Assembly, the format and organizational aspects of the HLPF will be reviewed by Member States. We must ensure that persons with disability continue to be meaningfully included in the HLPF.