Tag Archives: UN

The HLPF is over, now what?

The High-level Political Forum took place from 9-18 July and focused on transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under review included 6, 7, 11, 12, 15, and 17. During the second week, 46 countries presented their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) on SDG implementation. During these VNR presentations, persons with disabilities were included 36 times largely stemming from advocacy from various stakeholders at the global, regional, and national levels via the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities.

Alt="Our DPO partner, Mohammed Loutfy, speaking about persons with disabilities in Lebanon to Ghasan Hasbani Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health of Lebanon at the HLPF"

Our DPO partner, Mohammed Loutfy, speaking about persons with disabilities to Ghasan Hasbani Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health of Lebanon at the HLPF

 

The 36 references include references to persons with disabilities in VNR presentations, civil society presentations with questions to the government, and/or government responses to other government or civil society questions. The countries in bold are where CBM was directly or indirectly involved in advocacy. Thank you to everyone who helped in this process!

 

 

 

Andorra, Australia, Bahamas, Benin, Cabo Verde, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Ireland, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Namibia, Niger, Palestine, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

Now that the HLPF has concluded, it is important for DPOs and advocates to follow up with their government to assess outcomes and build partnerships at the national level. Not all countries have HLPF follow-up mechanisms in place, but it is important to remind political leaders that this is not a one-time obligation, but rather that this needs to be an ongoing permanent dialogue. The national follow-up mechanism should be a constructive approach to address issues raised in the global-level review process, or issues that have been left out. The following are some key points on how to initiate and participate in a follow-up process after the HLPF at the national level:

  • Watch your country’s voluntary national review on UN Web TV and in addition analyze the submissions (short and long) written reports (in some cases the reports differ from the presentations). On the basis of the analysis, prepare an advocacy paper highlighting issues that were addressed and also those left out.
  • Find out if there is a follow-up mechanism on the HLPF planned by your government.
  • (Re)connect with mainstream civil society coalitions to collaborate and propose to the government to establish a follow-up mechanism.
  • Contact and arrange meetings with the Ministry/Minister who presented at the HLPF with your advocacy paper prepared (refer above).
  • Advocate to establish synergies with other existing national follow-up or review mechanisms, such as national consultations on the SDG implementation plan, national development plan (often linked to the SDGs), and national human rights review mechanisms.
  • Propose a partnership to your government and consider engaging with the International Disability Alliance and International Disability and Development Consortium Partnership on SDGs.

These suggestions are from the CBM and International Disability Alliance Toolkit for DPOs on the Voluntary National Reviews.

Additional Information:

Resilient societies, the SDGs, and leaving no one behind

Resilient societies, the SDGs, and leaving no one behind

The High-level Political Forum took place from 9-18 July at the UN in New York with the theme of “transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.” The Goals under review included 6, 7, 11, 12, 15, and 17. The first week of the Forum included numerous panels and round tables focused on the theme and the SDGs under review and the second week provided the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).

On a very positive note for persons with disabilities and accessibility, Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, the UN’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility presented in the opening of the Forum. Her presentation focused on different areas, including accessibility. For example, she stated that if technology is not accessible, it will become one more barrier for millions of people throughout the world, such as, persons with disabilities, older persons and other sectors. In addition, persons with disabilities made up a large group at the Forum with 31 participants with disabilities and advocates from around the world as part of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities.

Alt="Participants of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities at HLPF 2018"

Participants of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities at HLPF 2018

CBM co-sponsored a side event the first week with the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities and others on Goal 11: Inclusion of persons with disabilities in societies. The event was very well attended with 70 attendees and had an interactive and lively dialogue.

During the second week, 46 countries presented their national reviews of SDG implementation. During these three Ministerial days of VNR presentations, persons with disabilities were included 36 times. In addition, some national videos included captions, one video (from Ireland) included a deaf child signing, and Namibia included a Namibian Sign Language interpreter on the screen for its entire video!

Also, six persons with disabilities presented official statements with questions to countries during their VNRs, including to Greece, Lebanon, Malta, Namibia, Niger, and Switzerland. One of our participants from the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities presented questions to Namibia in International Sign, which was the first time this was done during a VNR at the UN.

Alt="Our DPO partner from Vietnam, Lan Anh, presented various times during the Forum"

Our DPO partner from Vietnam, Lan Anh, presented various times during the Forum

 

 

On 18 July, the 2018 HLPF Ministerial Declaration was adopted with three references to persons with disabilities: on disaggregated data (para 18), commitment to leave no one behind (para 11), and in WASH (para 23).

 

 

 

As the focal point on accessibility for the HLPF, long-term collaboration with the UN produced positive outcomes during the Forum, including:

  • Wheelchair users had access CR 4 on the ground floor and Trusteeship Council Chamber on the second floor for access to the presentations;
  • CART services were provided in person, online, and on webcast for all eight days of the HLPF;
  • Seating was reserved for persons with disabilities in all rooms being used;
  • The UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform was accessible;
  • Persons with disabilities and their personal assistants were able to register and obtain passes easily and personal assistants were not considered participants (when there was a maximum number permitted);
  • International Sign was provided for three days at the Ministerial Segment;
  • Documents and presentations were shared prior to events for CART providers and sign language interpreters;
  • The HLPF agenda and other documents were provided in Braille;
  • The UN set up an accessibility walk-through in advance of the HLPF;
  • The UN staff positively collaborated with us in various areas (room, technology, accessibility services, and interpretation).

A very big thanks to the UN for this work and positive collaboration that we hope continues and also continues to improve to ensure no one is left behind.

Persons with disabilities included in financing for development outcome document

The 2018 Financing for Development (FfD) Forum is currently taking place this week (23-26 April) at the UN Headquarters in New York focusing on the financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Forum is structured with a ministerial session on the first two days and an expert session during the final two days.

Unlike former Forums, persons with disabilities have been strongly included in this year’s Forum as a result of long-term advocacy. The first presentation in the opening session of the Forum, the President of the Economic and Social Council, Marie Chatardová said that financing for development needs to be accessible and to leave no one behind, including for persons with disabilities.

Additionally, the Forum’s inter-governmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations are inclusive with three explicit references to persons with disabilities – for the first time! This outcome document is important as it feeds 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 references are found in paragraphs 15, 27, and 30 highlighting gaps in financial inclusion; the need to strengthen education, employment, and social protection policies; and efforts to collect, analyse and disseminate disaggregated data for persons with disabilities. Exact language is below.

“We recognize recent progress in financial inclusion, but note that gaps still remain for women, people in rural and remote areas, elderly people, youth, migrants, forcibly displaced persons and people with disabilities, as well as for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and businesses and enterprises in the social and solidarity economy operating in both formal and informal sectors” (para 15).

Science, technology, innovation and capacity-building: “We will support lifelong learning and skill acquisition for all, including entrepreneurial skills, adapt and strengthen employment, decent work and social protection policies and measures for all, as appropriate, and make efforts to address continued gender disparities and enhance inclusion of people in vulnerable situations, including for young people and persons with disabilities” (para 27).

Data, monitoring and follow-up: “We will strengthen our efforts to collect, analyse and disseminate data, disaggregated by sex, age, disability and other characteristics relevant in national contexts, including at the national, subnational and local levels, and gender statistics to improve policy design and implementation with regards to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” (para 30).

It is very positive that persons with disabilities are included in the FfD outcome document, although the document lacks solutions on how to address these gaps. As a way forward, we need to focus on practical solutions on addressing these gaps, particularly at the national level, focusing on a full, participatory, and human rights approach.

 

Data and technology and persons with disabilities

Last week I posted a blog over the update on the Financing for Development (FfD) process for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Since then the draft Inter-Agency Task Force on FfD (IATF) full report and key messages and recommendations were released and include references to persons with disabilities. References are found in the sections on data and technology, and positively the references are included in the more concise key messages and recommendations document that is more user friendly. Continue reading for details on the references and other points of interest.

Technology

In technology: “Women and girls, people with disabilities, older persons, indigenous peoples and people living in rural areas may face additional barriers in accessing and using technology” (p. 28 / p. 186). In new and emerging technologies and the SDGs “assistive technologies for people with disabilities” is listed as a crucial emerging technology for the SDGs until 2030 (p. 188)

In the related recommendations, marginalized groups are highlighted, which includes persons with disabilities:

  • “…the significant increase in self-employment and new forms of employment calls for adapted and strengthened employment and social protection policies. To address continued gender disparities and enhance inclusion of marginalized groups, such policies should emphasize the equitable participation of women and all social groups in decent jobs” (p. 186).
  • “There are also ethical, socio-economic and human rights questions that have to be carefully considered in the context of new technologies…More diversity in computer science, and greater priority for girls and marginalized groups in STEM education, can help address these concerns” (p. 189).

Data Disaggregation

In data disaggregation: “The range and depth of data demands to fully implement the monitoring frameworks for the SDGs and financing for development outcomes are unprecedented. The framework requires data disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability, geographic location, and other nationally relevant characteristics to cover all population groups and leave no one uncounted” (p. 29 / p. 204).

Additionally, disability is indirectly included under the section on data, monitoring and follow-up in the following areas:

  • The Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data is included (p. 205), which includes disability statistics.
  • The section over the SDG Indicator Framework emphasizes that the “indicator framework is fully implemented so that all goals and targets are appropriately reviewed and no individual or group are left behind” (p. 206).

The IATF report in part feeds into the Financing for Development Forum outcome document, thus is important to influence. Assessing the first informal meeting among Member States engaging in the FfD Forum negotiations (2 March), it is clear that most Member States consider the IATF report as an integral part of the FfD Forum process. Moreover, it is evident that data and technology are key areas for persons with disabilities in the FfD process.

Be sure to stay tuned for more updates as we continue to get into the swing of the FfD.

Additional information:

2018 FfD Forum