Tag Archives: CRPD

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.

2030 Agenda and CRPD training in Bolivia

From 11 to 13 August, I co-facilitated a workshop in Cochabamba, Bolivia with our partner Victor Baute from Venezuela who represented RIADIS. The workshop focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The workshop was the first of its kind in Bolivia for organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs). The enthusiasm and interest from participants in learning about the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the Convention was quite evident. In addition, Carla Caceres from CBM in Bolivia attended the workshop, as well as other supporting NGOs, including MyRight and ADD. Since Bolivia is a priority country for CBM, the workshop was especially well linked to our focus on global advocacy and national programmatic work on disability-inclusive development.

Alt="Victor Baute presenting the SDGs and CRPD"

Victor Baute presenting the SDGs and CRPD

The workshop was organized by ASHICO, the Association of Hard of Hearing Persons in Cochabamba and member of RIADIS. Thirty DPO representatives attended the participatory workshop from national, municipal, and community-based DPOs from all over Bolivia.

The workshop was inclusive and diverse with representation from Indigenous persons with disabilities, women with disabilities, youth with disabilities, persons with psychosocial disabilities, self-advocates, Little People, persons with disabilities in sports, Deaf persons, Blind persons, persons with low vision, hard of hearing persons, persons with physical disabilities, and families with children with disabilities. Victor lead the facilitation and received positive feedback on being a role model for the Deaf community and persons with disabilities in Bolivia and the region.

Participants shared the myriad barriers and challenges for persons with disabilities in Bolivia. An overarching challenge is that there are many norms and laws in Bolivia for persons with disabilities, but these are only on paper and unfortunately not implemented. Moreover, there is a missing connection between the technical expertise from the UN and the national level in Bolivia in terms of the CRPD and its implementation. In Bolivia, it is at the municipal level where disability laws are implemented and there is real impact.

Alt="Anibal Subirana from Federación Boliviana de Sordos (Bolivian Deaf Federation) presenting"

Anibal Subirana from Federación Boliviana de Sordos (Bolivian Deaf Federation) presenting

The top priorities for persons with disabilities in Bolivia that emerged from group work included:

  • Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, and Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.
  • Followed by, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

 

 

Participants were keen to learn and understand more about the 2030 Agenda and how it links to the Convention. As a result, the level of awareness significantly grew by day 3, as the photo below indicates. With this awareness, the group produced next steps as outcomes, including:

ALt="Participants’ level of awareness on the CRPD, 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, and the national disability law from day 1 to 3"

Participants’ level of awareness on the CRPD, 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, and the national disability law from day 1 to 3

  • The disability community in Bolivia will work to be more united and have shared messages to advocate to the government for CRPD and SDG implementation.
  • Participants will replicate this training and what they learned in the countryside and other remote parts of Bolivia to a variety of disability organizations and communities.
  • A group of participants will replicate and share what they learned from the workshop every month in Cochabamba for persons with disabilities.

 

  • The group proposed that there be a follow-up training in a year to assess what has been disseminated and realized in that time throughout the disability community in Bolivia.

I look forward to working more with the DPOs and partners in Bolivia!

ALt="Olivia Ojopi and Mayra Borda from the Association of Little People in Bolivia with Victor Baute from RIADIS and me"

Olivia Ojopi and Mayra Borda from the Association of Little People in Bolivia with Victor Baute from RIADIS and me

10th COSP in review

The 10th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD (COSP) is officially over! This year was an important year as it was the 10th session of COSP and there was more activity than ever before with over 80 side events, numerous parallel events and receptions, as well as the civil society CRPD forum on Monday, 12 June. Moreover, for the first time, civil society and Member States were able to have exhibitions in the UN to raise awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities during the conference.

This year, there was a record number of presenters – approximately 130 –  during the General Debate, and in the Ministerial Segment, there were more than 20 high-level speakers, including the First Lady of Ecuador who opened the General Debate. Additionally, the round table discussions centered on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, commitments in the humanitarian area, and the New Urban Agenda

As CBM we were incredibly active with representatives from three Member Associations, International Advocacy and Alliances (IAA), and DPO partners. CBM colleagues included Jane Edge, CEO of CBM Australia; Sarah Meschenmoser, CBM Germany; Mirjam Gasser, CBM Switzerland; Diane Kingston, IAA; and me. In addition, IAA in New York supported Risna Utami from OHANA in Indonesia to attend COSP.

Alt="Mirjam Gasser presenting the official CBM statement"

Mirjam Gasser presenting the official CBM statement

Mirjam presented the official statement on behalf of CBM on 15 June highlighting our programmatic work, women with disabilities, and our engagement in the New Urban Agenda. She also moderated an event on political participation of persons with disabilities. Diane moderated and presented in numerous events and was part of an official COSP panel. I presented on the accessibility campaign I have led at the UN to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities at the HLPF. Additionally, we co-sponsored two events and held an exhibition table for three days in which we shared publications on our programs and had engaging conversations.

Quite a few of CBM’s partners attended COSP and the following are the views they shared on the value of attending global UN events for national programs and work.

 

We have been supporting our partner, Risna Utami from OHANA in Indonesia, to attend COSP since 2014. Risna says that from this global advocacy at the UN level, she now has a strong influence in her government and that the top level – the Presidential Office –  now trusts her and consequently wants to make Indonesia more inclusive of persons with disabilities.

Alt="Risna and me at COSP"

Risna and me at COSP

Risna is actively involved with the CBM Indonesia office, as well as CBM Australia in which she carried out a DID training to Australian Embassy and DFAT staff in Jakarta.

Our partner Victor Baute from RIADIS and Venezuela also attended COSP this year. RIADIS and CBM-LARO have an MoU and plan to strengthen CBM’s linkages at the national level in the region. Similar to Risna, Victor has participated in BRIDGE trainings and subsequently has provided local workshops on the CRPD and the SDGs to Latin American DPOs and partners. Victor views COSP as a platform to learn about good practices and examples to replicate and improve on CRPD and SDG implementation, human rights mechanisms, and build upon international exchange and partnerships (SDG 17).

Alt="Our partner Rama Dhakal and Jane Edge CEO of CBM Australia at COSP"

Our partner Rama Dhakal and Jane Edge CEO of CBM Australia at COSP

Our partner Rama Dhakal from the National Association of the Physical Disabled – Nepal also attended the COSP. She is the immediate past president of Nepal disabled women’s association and has been a partner with CBM since 2010 when she worked with CBM on education for children with disabilities and livelihood for women with disabilities. CBM supported Rama to attend AWID and also recently attended the DID meeting in the Philippines. Rama views COSP as an effective platform to learn about the challenges of the CRPD for the national government and then bring those back to the country level and address them. Additionally, the HLPF provides an opportunity to better understand the national implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a space in which persons with disabilities can engage and intervene, which is not always possible at the national level.

Sebastian Toledo, Director of CONADI Guatemala attended COSP and is our partner in Guatemala. Specifically, CONADI presented the national Guatemalan disability survey – ENDIS 2016 – at the Guatemalan Mission to the UN to DPO representatives, Missions, and others from Latin America. CBM was involved in this survey with technical leadership and financial contribution. COSP provided a platform and space to share the findings and to discuss ways to build upon this work nationally, regionally, and globally.

Global platforms, such as COSP, are instrumental for our work as they provide a space to learn, discuss, and strengthen the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which in turn is further strengthened by the ambitious and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which for the first time recognizes persons with disabilities as agents of change for sustainable development. The 11th session of COSP will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 to 14 June 2018. Get ready and see you there next year!

Alt="All of the CBM representatives at COSP10"

All of the CBM representatives together at COSP10: Jane Edge, Diane Kingston, Elizabeth Lockwood, Mirjam Gasser, and Sarah Meschenmoser

Alt="Mirjam Gasser, Sarah Meschenmoser, and me in front of the CBM exhibition"

Mirjam Gasser, Sarah Meschenmoser, and me in front of the CBM exhibition

Disability, Development and Data – The Triple D in the Arab Region

Hosted by the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA), I had the pleasure to represent CBM at the”Expert Group Meeting on the ESCWA Publication entitled Disability in the Arab Region 2017“. This meeting took place on 11th and 12th of April in Beirut and had the objective of making inputs into a publication on the     situation of persons with disabilities in the Arab Region, a publication UN ESCWA is planning to release on December 3rd this year. More specifically, the publication will be looking at the latest developments regarding the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, its linkages to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as well as at models of social protection in the region.

 

My role was to give a global perspective on the linkages between the 2030 Agenda and the CRPD and to present the work that CBM has been doing in that area over the last years. In addition to sharing a number of concrete text changes to the draft publication, I was very pleased to see that     CBM’s work was already quite well known by many participants: The two pieces of work, the infographic on the linkages between the CRPD and the SDGs as well as our publication on sustainable development were often quoted by speakers, in addition to being   brought to the table by me.

 

One session was devoted to the subject of data and statistics on disability. That session highlighted, once again, that there is still a great deal of confusion about what to measure, what methodology to use etc. At the same time, it also clearly brought forward the willingness to work across different countries of the region, in a view to find a harmonised approach and in order to learn from each other.

 

All in all, it struck me that there was a very high turn-out at the meeting of Governmental representatives. This underscores a good degree of political will to further the rights of persons with disabilities in the Arab Region and CBM was often mentioned as a key actor to help make that happen!