Tag Archives: post-2015

Analysis of recent post-2015 draft

The following is an analysis of the “Final draft of the outcome document for the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda” put together by Orsolya Bartha from the International Disability Alliance and me.

Persons with disabilities have 13 explicit references in the final draft of the outcome document for the UN Summit in September 2015 that will adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Persons with disabilities are included in paragraphs 18 (human rights), 22 (vulnerable populations), 23 (education) and in follow-up and review on data (Para 57, f). In addition, there are seven references in the SDGs as well as two references in Annex 3: Introduction of the Open Working Group Proposal for Sustainable development goals and targets (paras 4 and 17). In addition, wherever “vulnerable sections of the population” is referenced (18 instances) in the document, it also applies to persons with disabilities in line with paragraph 22. A new achievement is that resolution 67/290 was highlighted two times in relation to the High-level Political Forum and this resolution explicitly references persons with disabilities as key contributing actors to the review and follow-up mechanism of the post-2015 implementation.

There are three significant areas of improvement beneficial to persons with disabilities: (1) human rights is strengthened, (2) the framework is people-centred and focuses on participation, and (3) the universal application of the goals and targets is clearly and strongly reflected. One of the main positive improvements, relevant for persons with disabilities, is that paragraph 22 now includes the phrase “must be empowered.” One concern is that although the SDGs are framed in an accessible manner, this has not been incorporated throughout the rest of the framework.

Despite the positive improvements, we are requesting Member States to contribute to the empowerment of persons with disabilities in four critically important paragraphs. These include:

  • The Preamble section includes a paragraph on people and persons with disabilities should be included.
  • Paragraph 13 is highlighting the shortcomings and challenges of the MDGs and commitments toward unfinished business and persons with disabilities need to be recognized here.
  • Paragraph 24 focuses on universal healthcare coverage. Since there is no reference to persons with disabilities in goal 3, this paragraph provides an opportunity to be included.
  • Paragraph 57 lists the principles of the review and follow-up process and by including accessibility it therefore enhances participation for persons with disabilities at all levels.

Explicit References

Para 18

This is an Agenda which encompasses all human rights. It will work to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms are enjoyed by all without discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, age, language, religion, culture, migratory status, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic situation, birth, disability or other status.

Para 22

Vulnerable sections of the population who must be empowered, and whose needs are reflected in the goals and targets, include children, youth, persons with disabilities and older persons; the needs of others who are vulnerable, such as migrants and indigenous peoples, are also reflected. People living in areas affected by conflict, terrorism and complex humanitarian emergencies are also experiencing severe challenges.

Para 23

We commit to providing quality education at all levels – early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary. All people irrespective of gender, age, race or ethnicity, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, children and youth in vulnerable situations, should have access to learning that helps them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to exploit opportunities and to participate fully in society. We will strive to provide children and youth with a nurturing environment for the full realization of their rights and capabilities, including through supportive families, schools and stronger communities.

Sustainable Development Goals and targets

There are seven references to persons with disabilities:

Goal 4: education = 2

Goal 8: employment = 1

Goal 10: reduce inequality = 1

Goal 11: inclusive cities = 2

Goal 17: Means of implementation, data = 1

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all

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

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

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

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

10.2 by 2030 empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

11.2 by 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons

11.7 by 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Systemic issues; Data, monitoring and accountability

17.18 by 2020, enhance capacity building support to developing countries, including for LDCs and SIDS, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts

Follow-up and Review

Para 57 (f)

Follow-up and review processes shall be guided by the following principles:

  1. They will be rigorous and based on evidence, informed by data which is timely, reliable and disaggregated by characteristics relevant in national contexts including income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability and geographic location, for which capacity building support to developing countries will be

Annex 3: Introduction of the Open Working Group Proposal for Sustainable development goals and targets

Para 4

People are at the centre of sustainable development and, in this regard, in the outcome document, the promise was made to strive for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive and the commitment was made to work together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection and thereby to benefit all, in particular the children of the world, youth and future generations of the world, without distinction of any kind such as age, sex, disability, culture, race, ethnicity, origin, migratory status, religion, economic or other status.

Para 17

To monitor the implementation of the sustainable development goals, it will be important to improve the availability of and access to data and statistics disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts. There is a need to take urgent steps to improve the quality, coverage and availability of disaggregated data to ensure that no one is left behind.



Sixth round of post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations

The sixth round of the post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations took place during 22-25 at the UN Headquarters. Member states discussed the Zero draft of the outcome document for the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Click here for the IDA-IDDC response to the outcome document.

The Zero Draft will have the following components:

  1. The follow-up and review aspect will be comprehensive.
  2. It will support countries making informed policy choices and mobilizing means of implementation and partnerships.
  3. It will be open and inclusive for all stakeholders.
  4. It will build on existing platforms and evolve over time and minimize the reporting burden.
  5. It will be rigorous and evidence based with a focus on disaggregated data, which is linked to leave no one behind.

Key points from the negotiations

  • A “final zero draft” will be produced within the next couple of weeks prior the final intergovernmental session during 27-31 July.
  • The co-facilitators foresee the post-2015 negotiations being completed by 31 July 2015 as planned.
  • The post-2015 process is different from other processes, such as the Financing for Development (FfD) negotiations and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in that the post-2015 development agenda is not a legally binding instrument, but a declaration that will state Member States’ intentions.
  • The global South called for including the report of the OWG in its entirety in the text, including the chapeau.
  • The Financing for Development outcome document is still being negotiated (tentatively to continue next Tuesday)
  • The zero draft recognizes the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) as the Apex of the follow-up and review process.

Persons with disabilities

Leave no one behind

  • Mexico called for the inclusion of all groups, especially the most marginalized and excluded in the post-2015 outcome document.
  • The United States stated that “leave no one behind” must be a core aspect of the agenda with a commitment to the most vulnerable.
  • Sweden supported the concept of leave no one behind and supported adding age throughout the document.
  • Nigeria called for the outcome document to address the overarching challenge of poverty eradication.
  • Pakistan called for the participation of civil society and other stakeholders.
  • The Netherlands would like to concretize the notion of leaving no one behind.

Responses to the zero draft

  • Member States were largely receptive to the zero draft and that it provides a good basis for the negotiations.
  • There is strong interest to change the title of the document.
  • Member States largely called to reinforce the economic aspect of the zero draft.
  • Not all Member States emphasized participation.
  • Member States would like to see an increase in the relationship between FfD and post-2015 outcome documents.
  • On the preamble and declaration, there was consensus that the Declaration should be short and accessible and highlight the transformative nature of the agenda.

Civil Society

  • Twenty-eight representatives of Major Groups and Other Stakeholders delivered statements on Wednesday including specific comments on and amendments to the zero draft.
  • A common theme expressed was that Major Groups and Other Stakeholders are not just beneficiaries of the post-2015 agenda, but also important agents of change, their participation being necessary to implement the agenda.
Alt="A lovely group of Other Stakeholders at the UN Headquarters"

A lovely group of Other Stakeholders at the UN Headquarters

Follow-up and review

  • Many Member States expressed that the follow-up and review is too prescriptive and there needs to be clarity on the interlinkages between national, regional and global follow-up and review processes.
  • There was support for a process that is voluntary, country-led, multi-level, transparent, inclusive and evidence-based.
  • There was overwhelming support for stakeholder participation in national-level follow-up and review.
  • While support was voiced for the HLPF on sustainable development as the apex of the review framework, there were different interpretations of what the global-level review would look like and the nature of the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR).
  • There was also concern about the UN developing guidelines for national reports and review processes, as opposed to leaving this to governments.

Next Steps and Upcoming Events

Alt="A day at the UN with Victor Baute (RIADIS) and Orsolya Bartha (IDA)"

A day at the UN with Victor Baute (RIADIS) and Orsolya Bartha (IDA)









Overcoming barriers to live independently in the community

Article 19 of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) refers to the right to living independently and being included in the community. Today’s side-event at the Conference of State Parties (COSP) of the CRPD was a lively discussion between representatives of various State Parties and other civil society organisations on the right of persons with disabilities to equality and inclusion within their communities and the society.

Community Based Inclusion

Independent living, inclusion in the community and having access to services and facilities are a priority to all persons with disabilities. There are many organisations working very hard to act against the devastating isolation and loss of control of persons with disabilities over their own lives. Large scale mental institutions have created, maintained and perpetrated this devastating isolation. National governments and international human rights agencies must provide means and mechanisms to give persons with disabilities the opportunity to choose where they live and with whom, as well as full access and control over community services and facilities. This is known as ‘Community Based Inclusion’– a new concept introduced by the WHO, which will soon be replacing the term ‘Community Based Rehabilitation’. State governments along with civil society organisations, NGOs and other stakeholders must take the responsibility to implement Community Based Inclusion. Community Based Inclusion needs to target a range of domains of life- not just health, education and rehabilitation, but also aspects of acquiring livelihood through employment, social protection, securing personal assistance and hence creating full and fair participation in the community. Inclusion also means empowerment- empowering persons with disabilities to become active members of the society and reach their full potential.


Madhushree (in pink) is affected by autism. Under the Chamkol CBR programme in India, she and her mother are part of health, well-being, development and pre-school programmes.

Madhushree (in pink) is affected by autism. Under the Chamkol CBR programme in India, she and her mother are part of health, well-being, development and pre-school programmes.

Importance of collecting data

Given that there is a lack of disaggregated data on persons with disabilities (according to gender, age and disability), indicators need to be developed to monitor the impact of community based inclusion on the lives of persons with disabilities. It goes without saying that these indicators must be, in turn, in line with the indicators for the CRPD and those of the SDGs, which calls for collaboration and cooperation at all levels between different ministries and governments, UN agencies, the civil society and funding bodies.

What about support to families of persons with disabilities?

Research has shown that a vast majority of persons with disabilities live with their families, and neither the individual with the disability nor his/her family receives much support. Support is provided only when the person with the disability leaves home and checks into an institution. Poor persons with disabilities are often accused of double dipping and are penalized for receiving money both for being poor, as well as for having a disability. But most people tend to forget that there is a link between poverty and disability that creates a vicious never-ending cycle.

The costs of support to families are never recognised. When there is a person with a disability within the family, one family member stays at home to provide 24-7 care. There can be additional costs of childcare all throughout life. Special equipment and food might be needed, which can be very costly. Difficult choices have to be made- does the family income go towards supporting the family, or the person with a disability?

Hence financial assistance is required for support and services for the individual as well as the family. Building social capital and investing in the transformation of the community to make sure that community support is available are important steps to ensure inclusion and equality of persons with disabilities.

Human rights of independent living, autonomy, equality and inclusion are aspiration we all share, but action must follow aspiration.


Civil Society Global Forum – Realising an Inclusive Post-2015 Development Agenda

Yesterday I attended the annual Civil Society Global Forum 2015 (CSGF) that took place at the UN headquarters in New York. This forum is a space where Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) and other relevant stakeholders meet annually to discuss gaps, opportunities and challenges faced by persons with disabilities at a global level.

During the day-long forum particular emphasis was given to forging partnerships, most-at-risk groups such as women and girls with disabilities especially during humanitarian disasters, and youth with disabilities.

CBM presents on the Sendai Framework

Valerie Scherrer presenting at the CSGF

Valerie Scherrer presenting at the CSGF

Valerie Scherrer, Director of CBM’s Emergency Response Unit, spoke about successful multilateral partnerships that led to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). She highlighted 3 main elements of the framework-

  • Persons with disability are key stakeholders in development and humanitarian processes
  • Recognition of the importance of including universal design and accessibility in DRR and
  • Key contribution of persons with disabilities in all sectors of life in different countries

Emphasizing the positive nature of the Sendai framework especially for disaster and crisis, Valerie also said that such initiatives must become a model to inform policy and framework development.

Don’t let our voices drown!

Rachel Kachaje

Rachel Kachaje

One of my favorite speakers so far is Rachel Kachaje. The former Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs in Malawi, she is now a representative of Disabled Women in Africa.

Rachel’s impassioned speech focussed on women and girls with disabilities in Africa. She said, “In Africa, our voices are defined by the number of children we produce. As a disabled woman, you are not worthy of marriage. Exploitation, violence and abuse against women and girls with disabilities are on the rise, but no one is listening to our voices. We are not taken seriously. This is why education is a priority. When a girl child is educated, she is empowered; she can speak up and be heard. If children with disabilities remain uneducated, they become disempowered, trapped within poverty and disability and exposed to abuse and violence. When woman is educated, she can take leadership positions. “

Voice of the youth

It was heartening to see youth with disabilities from Palestine, India, Guyana, Kyrgystan and Panama share their personal experiences and hopes for the future. Main issues highlighted by them were unemployment, lack of meaningful education opportunities and financial assistance. I found Shatha Abu Srour’s personal trajectory quite moving. She is a young blind woman from Palestine and spoke about the difficult in accessing resources in the current political, economic and social scenario in the Arab world right now. She said it is almost impossible to talk about disability in the current context, when citizens are missing the basic needs as human beings and are unable to live in dignity and freedom. In such a situation disability is often completely forgotten.


The forum was a great space to discuss and promote dialogue between various stakeholders of the disability movement. It also laid the ground for the 8th session of the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD which began today (9 June 2015). More on that in the next post!