Tag Archives: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

SDG Financing: Inaction is a greater cost for all of us

“Investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will cost an approximate annual investment of 6 trillion dollars annually – or 9 trillion over 15 years – but the cost of inaction will be far greater.” Peter Thomson, the President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly stated this daunting figure at the High-Level SDG Financing Lab at the UN in New York. Financing of the SDGs is a key and central theme to current global sustainable development, as well intrinsically linked to our work in CBM. It is particularly relevant at local and national levels in the areas of inclusive education, ensuring healthy lives, water and sanitation for all, gender equality, climate change, inclusive cities among other areas. Please keep reading for an update and overview on Financing for Development (FfD) processes.

Financing for Development Forum

The annual ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up (FfD Forum) was established by the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The 2017 FfD Forum will be held at the United Nations in New York from 22 to 25 May. The four-day event will feature a Special High-level Meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, WTO and UNCTAD, Ministerial round tables, general debate, thematic discussions on the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and other FfD outcomes and a dialogue with stakeholders. One of the key features of the FfD follow-up process is its multi-stakeholder approach, including civil society.

In accordance with paragraph 132 of the Addis Agenda, the annual FfD Forum results in intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations that are fed into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The outcome document is expected to be adopted at the end of the second day (end of the ministerial segment) of the FfD Forum (23 May). H.E. Mr. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the UN, and H.E. Mr. Jerry Matthews Matjila, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the UN are the co-facilitators for the conclusions and recommendations of the 2017 FfD Forum.

The Inter-agency Task Force

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development was convened by the 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.

The Addis Agenda (para 133) mandates the Task Force to:

  • Report annually on progress in implementing the Addis Agenda and other Financing for Development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and
  • Advise the intergovernmental follow-up process on progress, implementation gaps and recommendations for corrective action, while taking into consideration the national and regional dimensions.

The IATF 2017 report addresses the above as well as:

  • A discussion of the global context and its implications,
  • an overview of each chapter of the Addis Agenda, while covering the broader set of commitments in an on-line annex, and
  • Analyses of thematic issues.

The IATF 2017 report can influence the FfD Forum outcome document and thus is an important document in which to input. The unedited draft of the IATF 2017 report was recently released. As the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities we contributed to this report. Click here to read the submission. We also contributed to the IATF 2017 unedited draft report as part of the CSOs for Financing for Development (FfD) Group. Click here to read this submission.

Currently the draft report includes 9 references to persons with disabilities, including one on the first page of the Executive Summary.

References:

  • One reference in the Executive Summary (page 1) under the paragraph Increased long-term investments need to be complemented by measures to directly ameliorate the living conditions of the poor and vulnerable, such as social protection floors.
  • Two references in the section on Addressing vulnerabilities (page 28 and 29)
  • Five references, including the Washington Group on Disability Statistics, in the section on Strengthening data and statistical capacities (page 134)
  • One reference in Data gaps and challenges (Box 1, page 138) specifically on Science, technology, innovation and capacity buildingData on ICT skills and accessible technology for people with disabilities (disaggregated by gender)

High-Level SDG Financing Lab

On 18 April, the President of the General Assembly convened the High-Level SDG Financing Lab at the UN in New York. The impetus for this event was for Member States to have a dialogue one month prior to the FfD Forum. The event highlighted the critical importance of sustainable finance for the achievement of the SDGs, including climate action. It focused on how to drive the transformation to align financial markets with sustainable development and discussed ways in which Member States can approach the financing of different SDGs.

Main summary points:

  • The private sector was a core theme of the event as a key partner to achieve the SDGs, such as the role of public-private partnerships and banking systems. It was noted that there must be new and different ways to work with the private sector.
  • Public-private partnerships will vary depending on context (e.g., post-conflict versus developed countries), but the ambition needs to be clear to address those most left behind.
  • The role of technology and access to Internet were emphasized.
  • There was discussion on how to reform existing policy and regulatory frameworks to leverage public and private financing for the SDGs, and to contribute to sustainable development, including through local and regional capital markets.

Inclusion of Marginalized Groups:

  • Bangladesh, on behalf of the Least Developed Countries, highlighted that marginalized groups need to be addressed and included in economic opportunities.
  • Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice-President for Partnerships, UN Relations and the 2030 Agenda, World Bank Group mentioned persons with disabilities in his presentation in the opening session.

Challenges:

  • Despite the above mentions, marginalized groups were not strongly included in the overall discussions, but the leave-no-one-behind principle and social inclusion were mentioned throughout the event and are areas in which the rights of persons with disabilities can be included.
  • “Park Avenue” and the UN are worlds apart, despite only being separated by a few city blocks, especially in terms of the lack of awareness and action around the SDGs in the private sector. Thus, this is a chasm that needs to be bridged.

Compelling take-away points:

  • The UN and private sector are often saying the same thing in different languages, and perhaps with increased communication and collaboration there can be better synergy.
  • Sustainability is about collaboration, not competition, and it is important to focus on the former.
  • First integrate the SDGs into national plans in which the SDGs are aligned with programs (e.g. inclusive health care and energy programs) and then the conversation with financing cannot be ignored.

I’ll end on a hopeful quote from one of yesterday’s panelists: “When a bank and UN entity are saying the same thing, we are bridging a huge gap.” – Matt Arnold, JP Morgan Chase

 

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.