Yesterday, 25 September was a historic day at the United Nations in New York and what a day it was! I was truly honored and privileged to be in the UN while His Holiness Pope Francis addressed the General Assembly, while the inspirational Malala Yousafzai spoke with 193 young people surrounding her, and while the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) was officially adopted by the General Assembly.
The 2030 Agenda brings a fundamental shift for all people and the planet and seeks to promote, protect and fulfill human rights for all. We as CBM are celebrating this historic moment as the 2030 Agenda is truly inclusive of persons with disabilities. This is particularly significant because the previous UN development goals – the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – excluded persons with disabilities. Click here to read CBM’s statement. Moreover, to coincide with the 2030 Agenda adoption, CBM is launching a publication Dialogues on Sustainable Development: A Disability-Inclusive Perspective to highlight the inclusion of persons with disabilities across all development themes.
The disability-inclusive 2030 Agenda includes 11 explicit references to persons with disabilities, of which you can read an analysis here. In addition, persons with disabilities were largely included throughout the opening Summit. Below are examples of the inclusion of persons with disabilities from 25 September:
- His Holiness Pope Francis included persons with disabilities in his address to the General Assembly (around the 16-minute mark).
- Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International was the civil society speaker in the opening plenary and included persons with disabilities; Watch his passionate presentation here.
- Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner of Human Rights, included children with disabilities in his statement.
- Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia and Co-Chair of the interactive dialogue on Tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behind mentioned disability in her opening statement.
- Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania included persons with disabilities in his statement.
- Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, President of Costa Rica included persons with disabilities in his statement.
- Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance presented on the rights of persons with disabilities in the interactive dialogue on Tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behind. Click here to read his full speech.
- Mosharraf Hossain, Director of Policy Influencing of ADD International presented on persons with disabilities in the interactive dialogue on Ending poverty and hunger. Click here to read his full speech.
In the evening, Sightsavers organized an IDA-IDDC reception of the powerful photographic exhibition “Framing Perceptions.” We were honored to have Michael Higgins, President of Ireland attend the event. It was a beautiful way to end an historic day.
We are celebrating a disability-inclusive agenda, yet it is important to note that gaps remain and the real work lies ahead. We must continue to advocate for the development of an inclusive indicator framework linked to the Goals and targets of Agenda 2030. Furthermore, we must carry out effective implementation at the national and regional levels with linkages to the global level.
The road to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda has truly been collaborative and thank you to all of those who have tirelessly worked for this outcome. I have to particularly thank my colleagues from the International Disability Alliance for their stellar teamwork. Let’s continue the momentum!
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