Tag Archives: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Partnerships, CRPD, and SDGs in Central America

I was very pleased to participate in a workshop in Panama City, Panamá from 25-27 January. The workshop was organized by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), and members. The focus of the technical workshop was on the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for Central American organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs). DPO representatives from various DPOs hailed from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama.

I was very pleased to be a co-facilitator on behalf of CBM and IDDC with focus on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs and linked processes (e.g., Financing for Development, SDG Indicators). The other co-facilitators included Rosario Galarza (Latin-American Network of Persons with Disabilities and their Families – RIADIS), José Viera (World Blind Union), Victor Baute (RIADIS and World Federation of the Deaf) and Monica Cortez (Inclusion International), with expert contribution of Silvia Quan (former CRPD Committee member) on the CRPD, and with Tchaurea Fleury (IDA) as the team leader.

Alt="Group shot of participants in the Panama training"

Participants from the training

The overarching objective of the workshop was to examine and strengthen the linkages between the CRPD and the SDGs and support DPO representatives to compile information that will be used in SDG and CRPD national reviews. This was particularly strategic as all of the four aforementioned countries will be giving voluntary national reviews (VNRs) at the HLPF in July and three of the countries will be reviewed by the CRPD Committee in Geneva.

The training had several positive outcomes:

  • Participants further developed their knowledge on the CRPD, gained knowledge on the 2030 Agenda, and better understood the linkages between the two frameworks.
  • The space allowed for regional networking between and among different DPOs and groups of persons with disabilities.
  • The connection between national, regional, and global (human rights and SDG) processes was highlighted and strengthened.
  • Information was further disseminated to communities after the training. For example, the day after the training, Victor Baute presented on the 2030 Agenda to the Deaf Association in Panama.
  • The training was quite inclusive in terms of materials, participation, interaction, and participants (for example, participants attended from less frequently represented groups, including a self-advocate, youth, people from rural areas, and Indigenous persons with disabilities).
  • There are now various materials in Spanish related to the CRPD and the SDGs, which can be disseminated throughout the region.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to IDA for its support and leadership, particularly Tchaurea Fleury and Mariana Sanchez, in carrying out this successful workshop.

This training exemplifies the spirit of the 2030 Agenda as the agenda is for, by, and of the people. As such, I will conclude this blog with some key words that the participants shared as their highlights from the training:

  • New connections
  • Capacity
  • Professionalism and education
  • In-depth content and information
  • United forces
  • A broader vision
  • Rights
  • Inclusion
  • Equality
  • Continued learning, teamwork, and inclusive facilitation
  • Diverse perspectives
  • Working together

 

Summary of the workshop in International Sign by Victor Baute (Spoken-English version*):

Summary of the workshop in International Sign by Victor Baute (Spoken-Spanish version*):

*The spoken-Spanish interpretation was done by Astrid Arias and the spoken-English interpretation was done by Elizabeth Lockwood.

 

Additional Information

IDA web page on the workshop

Photos from the workshop

 

Data and persons with disabilities

The first UN World Data Forum took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 15-18 January 2017, hosted by the Government of South Africa and Statistics South Africa. The Forum brought together key experts from governments, businesses, civil society and the scientific and academic communities to discuss opportunities and challenges and showcase the latest innovations to improve data and statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Why is data important for persons with disabilities?

Data collection can provide the number of persons with disabilities in a location, the barriers, and what policies and programs are needed to eradicate those barriers. Disaggregation of data by disability is a key step in including persons with disabilities who encounter higher rates of poverty and exclusion from society.

To disaggregate by disability status in the SDG indicators, it merely requires the addition of a small set of questions – such as the Washington Group on Disability Statistics Short Set – on already existing data instruments. When disability questions are included in the data systems that produce the SDG indicators, disaggregation of data is not only feasible but can easily be accomplished.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development specifies that data should be disaggregated by “income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national context” (17.18). Overlooking these groups undermines the Agenda’s core concept of leave no one behind.

In contrast to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), civil society and other stakeholders, including persons with disabilities, have more space to drive and be involved meaningfully in the SDG indicator framework, particularly at the national level. The main reason for this is because the SDGs are country led, use a multi-stakeholder approach, and employ the principle of leave no one behind.

Alt="Elizabeth Lockwood CBM International, Berhanu Tefera from African Disability Forum, and Sarah Meschenmoser from CBM Germany"

Elizabeth Lockwood from CBM International, Berhanu Tefera from African Disability Forum, and Sarah Meschenmoser from CBM Germany

Disability inclusion at the Forum

Persons with disabilities had a strong presence at the Forum. This included an IDA-IDDC disability-focused side event (more below), having various panelists throughout the Forum highlighting disability (e.g., World Bank, DFID, and WHO) and with many DPO representatives and allies as participants and panelists. Moreover, in the opening session, Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of DESA, included the need for data on persons with disabilities in his speech. Similarly, at the end of the Forum, disability was again highlighted as a group that needs to be addressed in data. Particularly relevant, is that in the final session on the IAEG-SDGs, two members included disability in their final conclusions on the Forum (Jamaica and Fiji).

Also, there is a disability reference in the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data that was launched at the World Data Forum. IDA and IDDC were active in advocating for this reference, so we welcome the inclusion of disability language. Specifically, the Plan states “Support the strengthening and further development of methodology and standards for disability statistics” (Objective 3.5). “Accessible” is also used twice in the document. While this is a good first step, the language can be improved from “strengthening” and “development,” to systematic mainstreaming of disability statistics. But as was stated in the closing session, the GAP is only the first step of what needs to get done and the beginning of a process.

GAP background

The Global Action Plan (GAP) was drafted by the High-Level Group on Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building (HLG) as one of the Group’s main objectives (the other was convening the UN World Data Forum). The GAP focuses on monitoring and statistics and calls for a full, active and focused commitment of government, policy leaders and the international community to implement the sustainable development agenda. Furthermore, the GAP calls for policy leaders to achieve a global pact or alliance that recognizes that funding modernization efforts of National Statistical Offices (NSOs) is essential to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The (projected) work plan of the GAP:

  • January 16, 2017 – the GAP was launched at the UN World Data Forum, Cape Town, South Africa
  • March 2017 – Present the GAP to UNSC for endorsement by members
  • May/June 2017 – Endorsement of ECOSOC
  • July 2017 – HLPF: Side event to provide an update on the GAP
  • September 2017 – UNGA: Endorsement of UNGA
  • September 2017 – UNGA: Side event to provide an update on the GAP

Disability data event

The program covered six main themes, one of which was on leaving no one behind. Specifically, this theme looked at innovative approaches for SDG follow-up and review on all groups, data in post-conflict countries, and data and human rights.

I was a focal point organizing the session focused on disability data on “collecting disability data toward implementing the sustainable development goals and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” The key messages and recommendations that jointly emerged from the compelling session are as follows:

  • The inclusion of the Washington Group disability short set of questions in data collections that produce the sustainable development goal (SDG) indicators is a tested and efficient method for disaggregating indicators by disability status for monitoring the SDGs and the overarching objective of leaving no one behind. In addition, a child functioning module has been developed by the Washington Group and UNICEF for monitoring ‎the status of children with disabilities.
  • It is very feasible to disaggregate data by disability status at the primary and secondary levels in a range of health programs and within ministry of health and NGO facilities and outreach. The key is what is next?
  • Collection of disability-related data is greatly improved by involving organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and persons with disabilities in data collection analysis and related programs and policies. NSOs and other organizations responsible for data collection and analysis would benefit by having persons with disabilities on their staff as well.
  • The Washington Group short set endorsed by UN agencies provides a way to leave no person with disabilities behind by disaggregating the SDGs. It is critical to make use of this tool for planning and monitoring, and to go beyond disaggregation to understand how discrimination occurs and how to challenge these, while at the same time engaging with DPOs to hold their governments accountable.

In addition, another IDDC member, Sightsavers, wrote a great blog over the Forum highlighting the importance of using the Washington Group Short Set of Questions and how this is being carried out in their programs.

Next steps and upcoming data-related events

  • A plan will be developed for increasing the data coverage of tier II indicators with the joint working group of the IAEG-SDGs and the HLG.
  • The 8th meeting of the HLG will take place on Sunday, 5 March 2017 in New York to discuss the outcomes of the first UN World Data Forum and plans to develop a short summary document on lessons learned.
  • The IAEG-SDGs will hold two meetings, the first in March 2017 and the second in the fall of 2017.
  • The 9th meeting of the HLG will take place in September/October 2017.
  • The next World Data Forum will take place in Dubai in two years.

This was the first of many UN world data gatherings, so let’s keep working together to ensure that no one is left behind and to build a more inclusive society.

Additional information

IDA and IDDC joint blog for the UN World Data Forum

IDA and IDDC joint blog for the UN World Data Forum in International Sign

World Data Forum Article on persons with disabilities

Six SDGs and why they matter for persons with disabilities

Happy New Year! In 2017, we, as advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities in CBM, will continue to engage in the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nationally, regionally, and globally. Therefore, it is good to revisit why the SDGs are important for an inclusive society to truly leave no one behind. Please continue reading for some brief highlights on six of the Goals (5, 6, 10, 11, 16, and 17) and why they are important for persons with disabilities.

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls is imperative due to the multiple barriers and exclusion that women and girls with disabilities experience. Up to 20 per cent of women globally have a disability[1] and women and girls with disabilities encounter triple discrimination: being female, having a disability, and being among the poorest of the poor.[2] Women and girls with disabilities have additional barriers compared to men with disabilities and women without disabilities. This includes exclusion from participating in a sustainable and inclusive economy, an increased risk of violence and abuse, lack of access to justice, minimal participation in political and public life, and prejudice and discriminatory attitudes in sexual health, reproductive rights and in the right to family life.

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all is important since 884 million people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water. Assuming this group of people is the poorest of the poor, at least 177 million are likely to be persons with disabilities (20 per cent of poorest)[3], thus affecting a significant population of the world. Unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene practices, and inadequate disposal of human and animal waste have major health implications including causing Neglected Tropical Diseases amongst others.

Access to safe and affordable water and sanitation facilities greatly benefit persons with disabilities and their families, improving nutrition and preventing death and diseases; reducing poverty and promoting socioeconomic development; labor saving; reducing hazards; and increasing dignity, self-reliance and independence.[4] [5] Sustainable development can only be achieved if it includes measures to prevent discrimination based on disability and ensures equal access to clean water and sanitation facilities, fulfilling the right to an adequate standard of living. Click here for more on this topic.

Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

An inclusive and equal society is more likely to be sustainable. Having better access to quality education and health services, housing and clean water, land, financing and judicial recourse means that persons with disabilities can become better equipped to contribute to economic growth, and participate on an equal basis in society.

Disability-inclusive development involves the meaningful participation and inclusion of all community members (including persons with disabilities, women, Indigenous Peoples, older persons, children and youth, and ethnic minorities in rural and urban areas). To ensure inclusive development, donors and agencies must prioritise planning and reporting systems that explicitly capture the participation of, and outcomes for, traditionally marginalized groups. Disability-inclusive development is both a goal and a process, which occurs when the entire community, including persons with disabilities, benefit equally from development processes.

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable is quite important as this significantly affects persons with disabilities. According to the World Health Organization and the World Bank, 15 per cent of the world’s population has a disability and by 2050, 6.25 billion people will live in urban centers. If these estimates remain, it means that by 2050 nearly one billion urban dwellers will be persons with disabilities.

With the development and enforcement of accessibility standards, new transportation systems, pedestrian pathways, and information systems, persons with disabilities could have access to urban areas without assistance at unprecedented levels.  Furthermore, non-discrimination policies protecting the rights of persons with disabilities are needed to ensure right to housing and to stop exclusionary housing policies. For more information on this topic, read the World Enabled and CBM publication “The Inclusion Imperative: Towards Disability-inclusive and Accessible Urban Development.”

Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Given that one in five people in developing countries has a disability[6], it is vital that inclusive governance practices are promoted, which actively encourage the participation of persons with disabilities at all levels of the democratic process. Both the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights require this, and governance systems that do not represent the views of 15 per cent of their population with disabilities are falling short of their international obligations and not adhering to the principles of good governance. The CRPD has several Articles related to governance and political participation, including: Article 13, access to justice; Article 21, the right to freedom of expression and access to information; and Article 29, the right of persons with disabilities to participate in political and public life. Persons with disabilities must have equal opportunities to participate and be represented in political, social and economic processes for a truly inclusive society.

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

Goal 17 and the 2030 Agenda transform the traditional vision of partnerships and highlight the significant role of stakeholders and multi-stakeholder partnerships – including persons with disabilities – to share information, expertise, and resources in order to achieve the SDGs. This notion is in line with CRPD Articles 4.3 and 32 and the core theme of the disability movement “Nothing about us, without us.” Partnerships provide the space for persons with disabilities and their representative organizations to have meaningful representation as well as to ensure that the challenges faced by persons with disabilities are accounted for and met in the implementation of the SDGs.

References

[1] Heinicke-Motsch, K. & Sygall, S. (2004). Building an Inclusive Disability Community: A manual on including people with a disability in international development projects. Mobility International USA.

[2] United Nations Population Fund. (2005). Promoting Gender Equality. Retrieved from http://www.unfpa.org/gender/

[3] http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/MDG_FS_7_EN.pdf (see World Health Organization and World Bank (2011) World Report on Disability.  Geneva: WHO Press).

[4] Jones, H. (2013). Mainstreaming disability and ageing in water, sanitation and hygiene programmes. WaterAid UK.

[5] Jones, H. & Reed, B. (2005). Water and sanitation for disabled people and other vulnerable groups: Designing services to improve accessibility. WEDC. Loughorough: UK. (book). https://wedc-knowledge.lboro.ac.uk/details.html?id=16357

[6] World Bank.  Disability and Poverty: A Survey of World Bank and Poverty Assessments and Implications’.  Jeanine Bratihwaite and Daniel Mont, SP discussion paper No. 0805, World Bank, February 2008.

Agenda 2030: a look ahead

With the New Year upon us, it’s time to look ahead to the next steps for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level. For details on a look back at the path toward the adoption of Agenda 2030, read here.

Agenda 2030 was adopted by the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters on 25 September 2015, but the road map of global follow-up and review continues to be developed. The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the main mechanism for the global follow-up and review of Agenda 2030. Soon key documents focusing on the global follow-up and review of the Agenda will be released, including:

  • The modalities of the HLPF (how the HLPF will be structured), which include important information such as, the annual theme, pilot countries, and how stakeholders can participate in the HLPF.
  • Reports from regional commissions, which are due in May 2016 and will feed into the HLPF.
  • The Secretary-General will release a report in the beginning of January with recommendations for a coherent UN action plan for the implementation of Agenda 2030. In addition, co-facilitators will be announced to coordinate a system-wide UN reform in line with Agenda 2030.
  • The President of the General Assembly will host High-Level Meetings in 2016 and a critical meeting will take place on 11-12 April focusing on the implementation of the SDGs and assessing the process up to that point.

Global SDG Indicators

The development of the global SDG indicators is an on-going process. Some key dates include:

  • The updated global indicator report will be released in the beginning of January. Subsequently, the report will be introduced in March at the 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission with some time dedicated to discuss the overall approach of the report. Afterward, the report will be adopted by ECOSOC followed by the General Assembly.
  • In mid-January the IAEG-SDG members will discuss the “grey” indicators and in the following month or so this will become a background document for statistical commissions as well as an additional document attached to the final global indicator report.
  • The 47th Session of the UN Statistical Commission will take place on 8-11 March 2016 at the UN in NY with a focus on the theme of “Better Data, Better Lives.”
  • The provisional agenda of the 47th Session has been released with a paragraph on disability statistics (4, e). Click here for details.
  • The IAEG-SDG group will have its third meeting during the third week of March 2016 following the 47th Statistical Commission. The group will discuss disaggregation of data and devise a work plan on related technical aspects.

With the implementation of the Agenda kicking off in January, persons with disabilities must continue to be actively included and active participants in the processes at all levels. As such, it is important to:

  • Push for the disaggregation of data by disability (in line with international standards) in national surveys to be used for the implementation and monitoring of Agenda 2030.
  • Create linkages between implementation and monitoring of Agenda 2030 in the global, regional, national, and local contexts with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) as the guiding framework. This is especially important since the UNCRPD is legally binding and Agenda 2030 is voluntary.
  • Collaborate as networks, coalitions, alliances, and partners with unified messages and objectives.
  • Support persons with disabilities and their representative organizations to participate and be included in all relevant implementation processes. Particularly, it is important to include persons with disabilities (all disabilities) from the global South, as well as women, children, youth, older, Indigenous, and other marginalized persons with disabilities to be actively represented.

Happy New Year!