FEEDBACK – European Union towards disability-inclusive development

Posted by: on Dec 3, 2015 | No Comments

Today, 3rd December 2015, mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The theme that has been elected this year is “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment of people of all abilities”. Celebrations will take place all over the world to mark this day with one of them in Brussels, a conference on disability inclusive development at EU level.

 

Until recently, Theresia (six, who is affected by cerebral palsy) could not hold on to a cup of water and walking was very painful. Thanks to Handicap International mobile clinic, she received physiotherapy treatment and walking aids, paid by HI. 2015 is a year of success for persons with disabilities as a major step forward has been taken with the adoption of an inclusive Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] framework late September. Long forgotten by development efforts, persons with disabilities are now counted in and recognized as key actor for change.

2015 marked also the first revision of the EU on the only Human Right Convention the EU is part of: the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities [UNCRPD]. The UNCRPD Committee shared on September 4th its “Concluding observations on the initial report of the European Union which acknowledges positive initiatives but also formulates a series of recommendations for EU to be more inclusive.

2015 marked also the European Year for Development, now coming to an end and closing with a theme for December entitled “Human rights and Democracy”.

These occasions give us the opportunity to reflect on the promises made by the SDGs as well as on the way EU’s policies and actions could better be in line with the UNCRPD. Various stakeholders have thus decided to come together to organize a European conference on disability-inclusive development cooperation entitled “Leave No-One Behind: Tackling Inequalities of Persons with Disabilities in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

During this conference, participants will reflect on the stakes to ensure the 2030 Agenda and related mechanisms are truly disability-inclusive; they will analyze how EU entities such as the European External Action service can align their practices with the UNCRPD; they will discuss how data and indicators are crucial to monitor the implementation of the framework and finally reflect on the role of civil society and of persons with disabilities in the implementation of this framework.

This meeting should help EU stakeholders to understand how the recent SDGs agenda, the UNCRPD and the observations share by the Committee have an impact on EU as a whole and in particular on its international cooperation.

On this very special International Day of Persons with Disabilitiesand thanks to the participation of several key speakers from Disabled Persons Organizations to the event, they should also realize the role persons with disabilities and their representative organizations have to play in achieving an inclusive society.