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UN High Level report - Leave no one behind

 two women watch a child playing
© CBM/Kingston
From left: Diane Mulligan (CBM International), Bui Thanh Le (CBM Vietnam) and Thuy Tlen at an MDG consultation in Vietnam in January 2013. Thuy Tlen attends a mainstream school with her friends and her aspiration is to learn to write and type with her feet.

The UN High Level Panel report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda released on 30 May 2013 calls on the world to ‘leave no one behind’, a critical landmark in CBM and partners' campaign to see the world’s new development framework inclusive of persons with disabilities.

The Report outlines the importance of ‘leaving no one behind’, and in particular calls for all monitoring of progress in development to specifically measure the impact that progress has on persons with disabilities. CBM welcomes the report and reinforces it's commitment to work towards an inclusive post-MDG agenda.

Post 2015 Development framework includes disability

On 30 May 2013, the report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda was released by the High Level Panel (HLP) appointed by Secretary General of the UN. Based on a series of High Level meetings in different regions of the world, some of which we reported on this website, the Report highlights advice for what the new development framework should look like once the current framework runs out. Throughout this process CBM has worked with partners International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and International Disability Alliance (IDA) to advocate at every level for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in this post MDG framework - Read our joint position paper (DOC, ~ 89.0kB).

No person to be denied human rights

From the perspective of disability there are a number of welcome references. First and foremost, a key theme running through the report is to 'Leave no one behind'. The report importantly highlights that there is still work to be done with the current goals, however after 2015 there should be a move from reducing poverty to ending extreme poverty in all its forms. To achieve this, it states that that we should work to ensure that ‘no person – regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race or other status – is denied universal human rights and basic economic opportunities’.

The report also recognises the importance of partnerships and advises that new global partnerships should be formed based on a common understanding of humanity and one which underpins mutual respect and mutual benefit in a shrinking world. It states that this partnership should involve governments but must also include others: people living in poverty, those with disabilities, women, civil society and indigenous and local communities, traditionally marginalised groups, multilateral institutions, local and national government, the business community, academia and private philanthropy.

An end to discrimination

A key message the consultations heard was that persons with disabilities asked for an end to discrimination. They called for equal opportunity and for guarantees of minimum basic living standards. One of the main criticisms about the original MDGs was that disability was not visible in the goals or the targets and indicators. The HLP advises that the post 2015 agenda 'includes a plan for measuring progress that compares how people with different income levels, gender, disability and age, and those living in different localities, are faring – and that this information be easily available to all.'

Ambition for 2030 to reach all the neediest and most vulnerable

In terms of the next set of goals or targets, the HLP makes a number of recommendations (these are referenced in the annex of the report and also discussed in Chapter 3/4). In broad terms they state ‘the next development agenda must ensure that in the future neither income nor gender, nor ethnicity, nor disability, nor geography, will determine whether people live or die, whether a mother can give birth safely, or whether her child has a fair chance in life. This is a positive statement as it places disability visibly within the development agenda.

They also state that 'the post-2015 goals, while keeping those living in extreme poverty, and the promises made to them, at the heart of the agenda, should raise the level of ambition for 2030 to reach all the neediest and most vulnerable. They should call for improving the quality of services. They should capture the priorities for sustainable development. And they should connect to one another in an integrated way'. This again is a welcome statement with regard to persons with disabilities; as evidence has shown that persons with disabilities are more likely to find themselves in situations of vulnerability and in many cases do not have access to the most basic of services.

The HLP places on emphasis on cross-cutting issues in chapter 3, and within this chapter reference disability as part of inequality as a cross-cutting issue (see pg. 16). They also place a strong emphasis on data (given the new technological world that we live in). They recommend that data must also enable us to reach the neediest, and find out whether they are receiving essential services. This they state means that data gathered will need to be disaggregated by gender, geography, income, disability, and other categories, to make sure that no group is being left behind. Of significance also is the recommendation for stronger monitoring and evaluation at all levels, and in all processes of development (from planning to implementation) will help guide decision making, update priorities and ensure accountability. This will require substantial investments in building capacity in advance of 2015. A regularly updated registry of commitments is one idea to ensure accountability and monitor delivery gaps. They recommend that ‘metrics should be put in place to track progress on equal access and opportunity across age, gender, ethnicity, disability, geography, and income’

Civil society organisations can play vital role

Finally of particular interest to CBM and our civil society partners, the HLP report recognises that civil society organisations can play a vital role in giving a voice to people living in poverty, who include disproportionate numbers of women, children, people with disabilities, indigenous and local communities and members of other marginalised groups. This is a welcome statement for disability organisations creating positive opportunities to engage with the UN in implementing the new framework once adopted.

Mary Keogh, Board member from CBM International welcomes the report: "The inclusion of persons with disabilities in the HLP report is a critical landmark. Disability is no longer invisible - it is part of a process which will lead to the post MDG framework. It is absolutely crucial that we continue to work together with our partners to ensure that every aspect of the next development framework includes persons with disabilities."

CBM advocacy letters and position papers

CBM has worked with IDDC and IDA to advocate at every level for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in this post-MDG framework. Read our joint response to the HLP report, our joint Post-MDG position paper and our joint letter here. 

At the same time,  CBM and the International Civil Society Centre advocated to the UN Secretary General on the post MDG process, with a particular emphasis on a rights based, sustainable development agenda.

More reading

CBM’s engagement in advocacy

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


Critical landmark

Mary Keogh


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