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Next Steps and Processes: Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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the current Millennium Development Goals.

CBM and its partners have intensified their advocacy since 2011 to ensure that the next development framework is inclusive of, and accessible to, persons with disabilities.

Throughout the various post-2015 consultation processes organised by the UN, CBM has actively contributed to online and thematic consultations, supported the participation of persons with disabilities in national and regional consultations and High-Level Panel meetings, worked closely to build the IDA IDDC alliance and form common positions, and developed tools to support everyone in engaging in the process. See the CBM and MDGs publication (PDF, ~ 5.0MB).

CBM continues with these processes, in particular pushing for disability inclusion in the discussions held by the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to produce positive results similar to High-Level Panel Report and the Report of the Secretary-General 'A life of Dignity for All'.

Open Working Group on SDGs Background

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the 'Earth Summit' was held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992. From this conference nine Major Groups were established to act as models on how to include civil society in discussion on the sustainable development agenda and persons with disabilities were not included in these Major Groups.

But in 2012, persons with disabilities were well recognised in the Rio+20 Outcome Document 'The Future We Want' from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development as 'other stakeholders'. Consequently, this opened doors for the disability community, affording persons with disabilities the ability to work more closely with Major Groups on the SDG agenda. Also, countries agreed to establish an intergovernmental process to develop a set of 'action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate' sustainable development goals to help drive the implementation of sustainable development and called for the goals to be coherent with the UN's development agenda beyond 2015.

In January 2013, an Open Working Group (OWG) was convened with the objective of creating a new set of SDGs. A majority of the Working Group’s 30 seats are shared between several countries, with the permanent representatives of Hungary and Kenya acting as co-chairs. The OWG is tasked with preparing a proposal on the SDGs. The Group has established eight sessions that cover areas that could be included as SDGs. Major Groups and other stakeholders can contribute to the debate by participating in the OWG meetings and/or in the Morning Hearings with the Co-Chairs of the OWG.

Making progress

CBM efforts are being accomplished in a number of ways. First, as part of IDDC we are working with IDA to prepare a proposal for disability-sensitive targets and indicators for the OWG that stresses the importance of data disaggregation by disability. Through an in-depth literature review, we have found data to support the need for disability inclusion in the post-2015 development agenda.

Second, IDA and IDDC have written a joint statement 'Include Persons with Disabilities in the Sustainable Development Process'. This paper calls for a clear recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities in the Open Working Group process leading towards development of the Sustainable Development Goals. We will be circulating this to all key stakeholders, at national and regional levels.

Third, CBM is actively supporting with IDA in the lobbying of Member States on the OWG in New York with recommendations of the inclusion of people with disabilities and to encourage their support of these recommendations in the Group’s sessions. In particular this involves advocating for disability to be an explicit item on the agenda of the Open Working Group’s eighth session in February, which will include a one and a half day discussion of social equality. A key recommendation is improving data on people with disabilities at the national level and at the international level through cooperation with UN bodies, so commitments can be properly monitored.

We will be attending, with our partners, the remaining four OWG sessions in November, December, January, and February. The particularly relevant sessions for CBM include: December 12: Human Rights and February 5: Promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality, and women's empowerment.

Fifth, IDA and IDDC are planning a side event during the Eighth Session of the OWG on SDGs, specifically connecting disability inclusion to the theme of 'promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality, and women’s empowerment'.

Sixth, CBM and IDA will actively participate in three upcoming meetings connected to the OWG sessions, including:
  1. The Intersessional Meeting between Major Groups and other stakeholders and the Open Working Group on SDGs on November 22. This event will be an opportunity for stakeholders to put forward suggestions on how to address cross-cutting issues within the deliberations of the OWG on SDGs and for OWG Co-chairs, Member States, and practitioners to exchange practical approaches to some of the most complex questions of strategic nature that the OWG on SDGs has to address. Specifically, CBM and IDA have composed thematic papers over disability in relation to the cross-cutting issues of: (1) Practical approaches to rights-based SDGs that include the 3 dimensions of sustainable development and (2) SDGs designed to eradicate poverty, mitigate inequalities and lead to inclusiveness.
  2. An interactive multi-stakeholder dialogue during the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF) Session on December 5 at the UN. This interactive dialogue will be divided into two parts: (1) a briefing from the Co-chairs on the work of the Committee, followed by questions and answers from the floor and (2) presentations from a panel composed of four representatives from NGOs, business and industry sectors and other Major Groups engaged in the Rio+20 Conference and the Financing for Development process, followed by an open discussion with the audience.
  3. The open steering committee in the Morning Hearings with the Co-Chairs in December (Human Rights) and February (Promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality, and women's empowerment). This consists of conversations with civil society groups representing Major Groups and other stakeholders an hour prior to each OWG session organised around the specific themes of that day.

More reading

CBM’s engagement in advocacy

CBM is working with other organisations to advocate for a disability-inclusive society



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