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Community-based rehabilitation in the Agenda of Latin America countries

The IV CBR Continental Congress had signs interpretation during every session

The IV Continental CBR Congress was held from November 20 – 22 in Quito – Ecuador with an attendance of more than 400 persons from more than 35 countries in the Region and the world.

Regine Polynice, Regional Director (i) for LAR gave an introduction on the work CBM has carried on in the Region for more than 30 years
The opening session had the participation of María Alejandra Vicuña, Vice-president of Ecuador; Irina Cabezas, Technical Secretary for the “Plan Toda Una Vida” (A Lifetime Plan), Xavier Torres, President of the National Counsil for the Equality of Disabilities, CONADIS; Saadia Sánchez, Director of the UNESCO Office for Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela; Rafael García, General Coordinator for the Spanish International Cooperation Agency in Ecuador; and Regine Polynice, Regional Director (i) of the Latin America and The Caribbean Regional Office of CBM.

Introduction by the President of Ecuador

In the background there is a projection of a man with the flag of Ecuador behind him. Meanwhile two men are interpreting in langague sign to an audition of many people, including persons using wheelchairs. ©CBM
Lenin Moreno, President of Ecuador adressed the participants during the opening session
The President of Ecuador, hosting country, Lenin Moreno, had a video presentation of welcoming to all participants and giving a glimpse of the background work on inclusion of persons with disability held in Ecuador and the Region.

Key people and topics

A nun in a wheelchair is talking with a microphone with information about CBR on the background ©CBM
Sister Ana Fisher talks about the CBR work in Panama
Among the key speakers was Alarcos Cieza, Chair of the Inter-Agency Support Group to the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the World Health Organization who highlighted the work in the Region and the challenges ahead within the 2030 Agenda. Steps taken in countries like Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Paraguay, to mainstream within national systems the CBR as a strategy were highlighted by many speakers.

Several topics were held, yet some of the main topics of the Congress were the link of the SDG and the inclusion of persons with disabilities, good practices in CBR and CBID (Community-based Inclusive Development) and the everyday life of persons with disabilities as part of the society. It is worthy to note the wide representation of CBM among the sessions with advisors and staff from partner organizations from different countries specially persons with disabilities. Partners from all the CBR projects across the Region were in attendances of such important event.

Another relevant feature was the participation of persons with different disabilities as speakers in various panels (sessions). On the challenges ahead, there is still the work on more involvement from governments to have CBR strategy as a cross cutting issue among planning for development and the mainstream of mental health and DRR as important topics of discussion.

CBR Continental Congresses history

A man in crouches is standing with a microphone ©CBM
Antigua and Barbuda will host the next Continental Congress
This is the fourth installment of the Congress, which previous congresses were held in Mexico, Chile, and Colombia chronologically, is the most important Latin American event related to Community Based Rehabilitation with the participation of various governmental and non-governmental organizations, DPOs and CBR networks. The Fifth Congress will be hosted by Antigua and Barbuda in four years.

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