Tag Archives: 2030 Agenda

The SDGs and persons with disabilities in Peru

On 22-23 August, Alba Gonzalez and I provided a CBM-funded national training on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Lima, Peru. We presented to leaders from organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and allies, some of whom are CBM partners. Although I have given various national trainings on the SDGs this year, this was the first one in Spanish. This is extremely important since Latin America is often left out of global development processes, particularly in terms of the SDGs. I am proud to have carried out the training with my lovely Brussels-based colleague, Alba and the support of my wonderful Guatemala-based colleague, Gonna! Thank you both for the stellar work and support.

Alt="Alba, Elizabeth, and a DPO leader at the training in Peru"

Alba, Elizabeth, and a DPO leader at the training in Peru

National SDG trainings such as these are incredibly valuable because CBM and other civil society organizations working on the 2030 Agenda have a responsibility to ensure that the grassroots are kept informed and are able to contribute in a meaningful way. One way to do this is to provide an exchange of information and tools on advocacy strategies related to the implementation of the SDGs.

Alt="Group work during the training"

Group work during the training

The training was interactive and provided space for an engaging dialogue from which ideas, lessons, and suggestions were shared. We presented general information on the global agenda and how it relates to persons with disabilities. Additionally, we discussed how the SDGs and CRPD are connected and how they can reinforce and complement one another in advocacy. Furthermore, we provided background on the global follow-up and review process with a recap of this year’s High-level Political Forum (HLPF), lessons learned from engagement in the voluntary national review (VNR) process, and strategies on how to engage in future HLPFs. Finally, we provided a model for national advocacy strategies on the SDGs and in turn participants formulated plans on how to advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the national implementation of the SDGs.

Peru is a strategic country on which to focus, since it is very likely that it will provide a voluntary national review to the HLPF in the coming years and persons with disabilities must engage in the consultation process to be included. Latin American governments that reviewed at this year’s HLPF – Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela – did not engage with civil society in the reporting process, also including persons with disabilities, so this is a region of particular importance in which to focus.

During the training, participants provided examples of barriers that persons with disabilities encounter in Peru to carry out effective advocacy, which are listed below.

Alt="Alba Gonzalez presenting at the SDG training in Peru"

Alba Gonzalez presenting at the SDG training in Peru

  • There is a lack of available information on advocacy for persons with disabilities and their families at the national and regional levels.
  • Mainstream society has a general lack of awareness and/or negative/medically-focused attitude about disability/persons with disabilities.
  • There is a dearth of available and accurate data on persons with disabilities.
  • There is a lack of transparency in the government.
  • In rural areas there is limited access to technology and Internet due to lack of electricity.
  • There is a need for capacity building on advocacy strategies.
  • The majority of persons with disabilities lives in poverty or extreme poverty.
  • There is limited accessible, affordable, and reliable transportation.
  • There is little participation of persons with disabilities in broader civil society networks, and mainstream civil society organizations do not always include DPOs.
  • Disability groups can isolate themselves around disability type and do not always collaborate as a broader coalition.
  • There can be a lack of empowerment and lack of strong leadership in DPOs.
Alt="Elizabeth fostering discussion during the training"

Elizabeth fostering discussion during the training

The group formulated suggestions on how to effectively advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in national implementation of the SDGs, which are below.

  • Identify entry points for advocacy for DPOs in different regions and levels of government (municipal, district, provincial, regional, and national) in Peru.
  • Collaborate as a larger disability movement to gain more effective entry points in national advocacy.
  • Build alliances with NGOs and civil society organizations across thematic areas.
  • Lima-based DPOs engage in the implementation of the SDGs in line with the CRPD with DPO leaders participating in national civil society roundtables and creating a national plan on accessibility.
  • Carry out a training on accessibility and advocacy for different DPO leaders to strengthen DPOs and to unify the disability movement.

It was such a pleasure for me to return to Latin America where I have lived and worked, to meet old and new CBM partners, as well as to work with and learn from DPOs and allies in Peru. Let’s continue the global and grassroots linkages.

 

A snapshot of the SDGs and persons with disabilities in Rwanda

From 25-26 July, I was fortunate enough to give a training on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) in beautiful Rwanda. This training was generously supported by the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and I presented on behalf of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC). I also had the true pleasure to get to know the lovely Eugenie Mukantagwera, Country Representative of the CBM Rwanda Country Office, as well as meet some of CBM’s partners.

Alt="Eugenie Mukantagwera participating in the training on the SDGs "

Eugenie Mukantagwera participating in the training on the SDGs

It was an incredible experience to work with a nascent, inclusive, and diverse disability movement. Moreover, the strong motivation to meaningfully engage in advocacy was pervasive among the group. I learned a significant amount from the participants, which greatly helps to strengthen our work at the global level.

We had fruitful discussions and presentations and from these emerged strategies for persons with disabilities to engage in advocacy of national implementation of the SDGs, including:

  1. Find gap in which persons with disabilities are left out.
  2. Advocate with the confident knowledge of that gap.
  3. Work and collaborate with institutions.
  4. Write a policy brief and share with the government.
  5. Represent your constituency in a meaningful way.

Participants discussed and synthesized effective suggestions for DPOs to engage in SDG advocacy at the national level, which are listed below.

  • The starting point for advocacy in SDG implementation in Rwanda is the civil society platform and then to join the working group sectors (government, private, and civil society sectors).
  • The role of DPOs in the SDGs can be to monitor and evaluate the national implementation, but also must have the tools to carry out monitoring and evaluation.
  • DPOs must have strategic engagement by reviewing policies and plans, packaging information for dissemination, and engaging policy makers with concise policy briefs to demonstrate what DPOs are contributing.
  • Obtain rigorous and valid data and evidence inclusive of persons with disabilities that can be communicated.
  • DPOs must be mutually accountable with relevant stakeholders, and must be accountable to hold others accountable.
  • Carry out stakeholder reviews of progress via workshops and dialogues.
  • Create networks with CSOs, international NGOs, and rights groups.
  • Mainstream disability rights through legal frameworks.
  • Provide transfer of knowledge to others (DPOs and others) to advocate in other places because it is not possible to advocate everywhere.
Alt="Group discussion in Rwanda"

Group discussion in Rwanda

Participants and panelists shared that the Rwandan government is quite active in SDG implementation. Thus, it is important to share these valuable findings to reinforce the linkages between the global and grassroots levels in the implementation of the SDGs.

Rwanda is a stellar example of a country that is linking the global SDG indicators to its national development framework. Global indicators are being analyzed in the context of the national development framework in four ways:

  1. The national development framework has indicators that are reflected in the global SDG indicators.
  2. The national development framework has indicators that are partially reflected in the global SDG indicators.
  3. Indicators that are not reflected in the national development framework, but are important and can be adapted.
  4. Indicators that are not included in the national development framework and cannot be adapted.

Currently the SDG focal point in Rwanda is the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, although a strategy is in the pipeline to create a position within the government. Rwanda plans to integrate the SDGs into different sectors and into long-term strategic plans.

Alt="Stellar collaboration: Elizabeth Lockwood from CBM, Sam Munana, Rwandan National Union of the Deaf, and Jorge Manhique from Disability Rights Fund"

Elizabeth Lockwood from CBM, Sam Munana from the Rwandan National Union of the Deaf, and Jorge Manhique from Disability Rights Fund

There are existing entry points for DPOs to actively engage in the SDG implementation process such as participating in civil society platforms and working groups, as well as engaging with other civil society organizations and movements. I look forward to learning more about the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the SDGs in Rwanda.

 

 

 

 

 

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