Tag Archives: advocacy

Getting ready for the last step on the EU review of the implementation of the CRPD

The European Union (EU) signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2011. As a State Party, the EU published its initial report on the implementation of the CRPD in June 2014. After this initial report, Committee Members published a List of Issues by which further information on specific articles was asked, and the EU replied to this List of Issues in June 2015. The last step of this review will end in September, with the adoption of the Concluding Observations that will encourage the further implementation of the CRPD by the European Union.

Persons with disabilities and their representative organisations are encouraged to participate in the review process by submitting supportive documentation and by participating in the CRPD sessions through side events. CBM, as member of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), was involved in the process of the EU review. CBM has also supported the work of the European Disability Forum (EDF) as the umbrella organisation of persons with disabilities in the European Union.

Why it is important to follow this review?

The EU is the first regional body on signing and ratifying the UN CRPD. In addition, it is the largest donor on International Cooperation and one of the most influential stakeholders at International fora. By supporting a disability-inclusive Development Cooperation, the EU can promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society all around the world.

What did we do so far?

What are the next steps?

The 14th session of the UN CRPD will take place from 17th August to 4th September. On 26th August, CBM as member of IDDC, will organise a side event in which Priscille Geiser (Chair of IDDC) and Hellen Grace Asamo (Member of the Parliament of Uganda) will participate. This event will also count on the participation and support of EDF. In addition, CBM will also participate in the side event organised by EDF on 27th August.

CBM will advocate for the inclusion of Article 11 and Article 32 in the Concluding Observations. This will strengthen the EU advocacy work in the future years, and will promote a disability-inclusive approach to EU External Actions.

CRPD committee issues statement on disability-inclusive DRR

A boat with accessibility ramp

A rescue boat with accessibility features from a flood-prone region of Bangladesh

As a member of the UN CRPD committee, I am very proud that we have issued a formal statement on the need to specifically include persons with disabilities in the process leading up to



the 3rd world conference on disaster risk reduction in Japan in 2015, and also inclusion in the outcome recommendations.

How did this happen?

Margareta Wahlström, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) took time out of her busy schedule to talk to UN CRPD committee members about disability and DRR in the 12th session. The result of her visit was a strong commitment by members to issue a statement on disability-inclusion as the preparations for the world conference commence.

Why include disability?

Firstly, when the United Nations involves civil society in preparations and negotiations of particular world conferences, it does so through its ‘Major Group’ structures.  However, persons with disabilities do not have a specific major group to call their own, hence we have to ask to be included and participate, in an accessible way, every step of the way…

Secondly, the impact of a disaster or conflict is greater for persons with disabilities, we are more at risk during disasters and conflicts,  and disability is often the result of conflict or disaster;  read more from CBM’s Inclusive Emergency Response Unit.

If you are interested in this subject, you can read fellow blogger, Gordon Rattray’s wonderful stories.



Moving on from vulnerability

It’s not even the first day of the conference, yet I was inspired.

What did it? Well, it was the ability of Monthian Buntan (who is on the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Former Senator of Thailand) to motivate and simplify…

A man resenting using slides with large audence (30-70 people)

Monthian Buntan at the Multi stakeholders pre-conference on disability-inclusive DRR

I’m attending the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in Bangkok. It is a venue for countries, organisations and individuals to meet and discuss the way forward in reducing disaster risk in the region. And it is the final regional inter-governmental meeting in Asia before the completion of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-15 and the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Senda, Japan, March 2015.


For CBM and our partners in the Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DiDRRN) the priority is ensuring the active participation of people with disability in DRR policy and practice post-2015.

I know, that all sounds complicated, so let’s get back to the inspiration and simplification!

This morning I was at the Multi stakeholders pre-conference on disability-inclusive DRR (discussion before the big events start proper tomorrow). Here were many good speeches and quotes, and a short discussion, but the inspiring bit for me was Monthian Buntan’s insistence – and everyone’s agreement – that persons with disabilities do not need to be classed as ‘vulnerable’.

“We are vulnerable because we are not perceived to be capable of making any contribution, but only recipients of help and custodial care.

“We will remain vulnerable and excluded should we not be able to participate effectively in all planning and implementing stages of DRR due to lack of genuine accessibility.”

Three boxes with texts 'accessibility, participation and inclusion', linked by doule-ended arrows forming a triangle

Explaining the link between accessibility, participation and inclusion

Mr Buntan talked about how being inclusive means that people with disabilities should be able to contribute and enjoy the benefit of DRR.

If this was music to my ears, he then went on to explain very simply how inclusion, participation and accessibility are the three interdependent factors which will help reposition this shift in perception towards disability…

  • It is accessibility that determines the level of participation, and vice versa
  • It is both accessibility and participation which determines inclusion

“If persons with disabilities are to be truly regarded as development partners and rights holders through Disability Inclusive DRR, these three factors must be seriously taken into account.

For me, this is common sense, essential action and all explained as simply as possible… I’ll try to spot similarly easy things in the coming days though cannot promise… bear with me! (follow on Twitter too @gordonrattray)

Resources to advocate for disability inclusive post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (HFA2)


Annual UN conference on disability coming up

Dear all

On Monday I fly to New York to join our United Nations Advocacy Officer Elizabeth Lockwood who has been working tirelessly on getting ready for the big annual disability meeting.
I’ll be wearing both my CBM hat, and my UN CRPD Expert Committee member hat to have the most impact on advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities.

Next week is a preparatory week for the action the following week, which looks like this: Continue reading