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