Tag Archives: SDGs

One more step in the global indicator framework

On 7 June, the UN Economic and Social Council formally adopted the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator framework at their Coordination and Management Meeting. The next step is that the global framework will be presented at the UN General Assembly for adoption in September, which is needed for full adoption of the framework.

The global indicator framework is important for persons with disabilities, as data collection can provide the number of persons with disabilities living in a location, the barriers they encounter, 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. The global indicator framework is important at the local and national levels where SDG implementation takes place, and is linked to our CBM programs in the areas of inclusive education, ensuring healthy lives, water and sanitation for all, gender equality, climate change, inclusive cities among other areas.

Furthermore, the framework can be used as a guide for monitoring the SDGs and can be a tool for disability-inclusive development since 11 indicators have references to persons with disabilities. These indicators are in the areas of poverty eradication, education (2 references), employment (2 references), reducing inequalities, sustainable and inclusive cities (3 references), and peaceful and inclusive societies (2 references). In addition, the paragraph on disaggregation includes disaggregation of data by disability.

Each indicator is ranked in a tier system with three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.
  • Tier 2: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.
  • Tier 3: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.

The disability-inclusive indicators are mostly found in Tier III (5) and Tier II (4), with only one in Tier I. There is one indicator that could be in any three of the Tiers depending on the indices.

Stay tuned for updates on the global indicator framework, and know that this is one step closer to ensuring that no one is left behind and building a more inclusive society.

Additional Information

Disability Statistics: Our Place in the Sun

Financing for Development: leave no one behind

The ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up (FfD Forum) kicked off today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The FfD Forum is an inter-governmental process with universal participation mandated to review the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (Addis Agenda) and other financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 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.

The four-day Forum is taking place from 22-25 May, beginning with a two-day ministerial segment and followed by a two-day expert segment. The FfD Forum results in inter-governmentally 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 FfD process is important and unique as it is open ended, unlike the 2030 Agenda that has an end date of 2030. Moreover, the FfD Forum is not purely a UN meeting, but also includes non-UN entities, including the Bretton Woods institutions, WTO and UNCTAD indicating a shared space for collaboration with UN and non-UN organizations and institutions.

The theme of leave no one behind, especially the most often left behind, was highlighted throughout the first day, including Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs who launched the 2017 IATF Report that contains 9 references to persons with disabilities. Additionally, Mr. Tegegnework Gettu of UNDP highlighted the inclusion of the most “vulnerable” in Financing for Development follow-up.

The EU called to ensure that no one is left behind and for gender equality in financing for development and Germany explicitly included persons with disabilities in their intervention. Specifically, during the segment on inequalities and inclusive growth, H.E. Mr. Juergen Schulz, Vice President of ECOSOC (Germany) highlighted that women, children, and persons with disabilities are the most affected groups in terms of inequalities in financing for development. In addition, he emphasized the importance of disaggregation of data by disability in financing for development to adequately address inequalities.

Alt="CSO FfD Group preparing for the FfD Forum"

CSO FfD Group preparing for the FfD Forum

Further, as a positive outcome of broad civil society collaboration, the CSO FfD Group also included accessibility and persons with disabilities in their intervention on gender and women’s rights. Great teamwork everyone!

I’ll end with a quote from H.E. Mr. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, ECOSOC President, that “promises made, must be promises kept,” which is especially true to achieve a truly inclusive society and to leave no one behind.

Additional Information

Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities Position Paper for 2017 Financing for Development Forum

Financing for Development Processes – Update 1

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

 

CSW61: Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work

The sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations from all regions of the world attended the session. The themes of CSW61 included: (1) the priority theme ofWomen’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work,” (2) the review theme over “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls (agreed conclusions of the fifty-eighth session),” and (3) the emerging issue/Focus area on “The empowerment of indigenous women.” CSW61 and its themes tie in nicely with CBM’s work on gender equality, specifically addressing multiple and intersectional discrimination encountered by women and girls with disabilities.

The outcome of the Commission’s consideration over the priority theme took the form of agreed conclusions, negotiated by all States. Click here to read the advanced unedited version of the agreed conclusions. The agreed conclusions include 13 explicit references to persons with disabilities. These include a reference to the UN Convention on the Rights to Persons with Disabilities (para 2), para 30 (social protection policies and infrastructure development), para 38 (labor force and inclusion in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; 2 references), para k (strengthening education, training and skills development), para t (implementing economic and social policies for women’s economic empowerment), para w (health systems), and para dd* (empowerment; 6 references).

Side Event

On 21 March, I participated in a CSW61 side event on behalf of CBM. The event, organized by the stellar organization Women Enabled International, focused on “Intersectionality and SRHR: Key to Ensuring Successful Implementation of SDGs for All.” The goal of the event was to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) achieve their objectives to end poverty and improve equality for all and that the implementation of the Goals must incorporate an intersectional lens to give full effect to the notion that this is truly “for all.”

It was truly a pleasure to be included in such a dynamic panel of activists and academics. Thank you, Stephanie Ortoleva and Women Enabled International for including me in the event! Please continue reading for a summary of my presentation.

Background

  • Persons with disabilities comprise 15 percent of the world’s population or 1 billion people of whom 80 percent live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Women and girls with disabilities make up at least 50 percent of this population.
  • Persons with disabilities are more likely to live in impoverished conditions and be the most marginalized.
  • Women and girls with disabilities encounter additional barriers, including 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.
  • Women and girls with disabilities face barriers in accessing healthcare services, including higher costs, lack of accessible transportation, and inadequately trained medical staff, and preconceptions about whether they need certain services, such as sexual and reproductive health services.
  • Women with disabilities more often seek health care than women without disabilities, but have worse health outcomes and rate their well-being as lower than both men with disabilities and women without disabilities.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and persons with disabilities

  • The SRHR of persons with disabilities is not well recognized and needs specific attention.
  • Disability activists focusing on SRHR often lack resources and opportunities due to invisibility and stigmatization.
  • Technical language and processes often are not accessible, which further excludes women with disabilities.

Suggestions to ensure more inclusive/intersectionality of SRHR programs

  • Have increased participation, engagement, and trainings with SRHR experts in the gender and disability movements to learn, exchange, build on intersections, and engage in collaborative advocacy between movements.
  • Understand the connections and intersections between SRHR and disability. Organizations such as ARROW have written on disability rights and SRHR, are thinking of creating accessible formats of publications for persons with disabilities, and dedicating publications on issues of disability and SRHR.
  • Consider different types of disabilities, contexts, and geographical locations when including SRHR into programs.
  • Be aware of and sensitive to the different layers of intersectionality and multiple discrimination of women with disabilities, especially including Indigenous, youth, older, and other groups of women with disabilities.
  • Link programs with global frameworks, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, specifically with Goal 3 on healthy lives and well-being and Goal 5 on gender equality. These Goals are crosscutting in nature regarding women, women and girls with disabilities, and SRHR.
  • Apply the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs within the frameworks of the legally binding Convention on the Rights to Persons with Disabilities and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to create an effective platform from which to push for positive change, particularly when addressing the challenges encountered by women and girls with disabilities in health care and SRHR.

In closing, the common thread among the different movements represented (women and girls, persons with disabilities, LGBTQI, youth, Indigenous, climate change, and more) is that we must have inclusion, empowerment, and build cross-movement collaboration to truly “leave no one behind.”

 

*The full text of paragraph dd: Promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls with disabilities and the full realization of their human rights and their inclusion in society, and take measures to ensure that women with disabilities have access to decent work on an equal basis with others in the public and private sectors, that labour markets and work environments are open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities, and take positive measures to increase employment of women with disabilities and eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including recruitment, retention, promotion, and safe, secure, and healthy working conditions, in consultation with relevant national mechanisms and organizations of persons with disabilities.”

 

Additional information

March 25th: Raising awareness and preventing violence against women and girls with disabilities

Five Perspectives on Gender Equality

Women with Disabilities Are Women Too

Enforcing the Rights of Women with Disabilities

SDG 5: Gender equality and Disability Inclusive Development in the SDGs