On Friday, 16 January persons with disabilities had a strong presence at the UN Stakeholder Preparatory Forum for the Post-2015 Development Agenda Negotiations. This session was especially important because both civil society and Member States were in attendance in preparation for next week’s first round of intergovernmental negotiations to be held on 19-21 January. These negotiations are extremely important because they will pave the way for the final post-2015 outcomes in September 2015.
Maryanne Diamond, Chair of The International Disability Alliance (IDA) was one of the civil society panellists on the session covering the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report. Ms. Diamond provided a powerful and concise presentation reflecting persons with disabilities and the Synthesis Report to a full house.
Specific recommendations for persons with disabilities included:
- The Declaration should have an explicit reference to the UN CRPD guiding the post-2015 process
- Terminology such as “inclusion for all,” “accessibility,” “participation,” and “reduce and increase” should equally be used for all social and economic groups
- Poverty reduction should be explicitly inclusive of persons with disabilities
- No goal or targets should be met if not able to be met for all, which can only be achieved by disaggregation of data by disability status and other marginalized groups
- Targets need to be measurable and inclusive and indicators must be specific to persons with disabilities
- Indicators need to be broadly disaggregated across all goals and targets
- Progress must be measured in ways that persons with disabilities are not left behind in each goal and target
One of the lead discussants, H.E. Ambassador Peter Wilson, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN, used Ms. Diamond’s language from her speech and even named her to emphasize the importance of her points. Thank you, Ambassador Wilson and the United Kingdom for your support!
In addition to Ms. Diamond’s presentation, Mosharraf Hossain from ADD International gave an important and powerful intervention highlighting the issue of persons with disabilities in the global South and how they must not be left behind in the new development agenda.
Immediately following this session, the President of General Assembly (PGA) held an interactive hearing regarding civil society participation in the upcoming parallel PGA events in which we will advocate to ensure persons with disabilities are included. The upcoming PGA events include:
- High-Level thematic debate on Means of Implementation for a Transformative Post-2015 development agenda, 9-10 February
- High-Level thematic debate on Advancing Gender equality and empowerment of Women in the Post-2015 development agenda, March 6
- High-Level Thematic Debate on Strengthening Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations, May 15
- High-Level Event on Climate Change, 29 June (I find this particularly important since persons with disabilities must be included in climate change debates, discussions and processes since this population is particularly affected by climate change and its effects, such as natural disasters.)
This year – 2015 – is an incredibly important year for global and sustainable development and the post-2015 negotiations and processes must include persons with disabilities to create an inclusive global society for all. Stay tuned for regular updates on the post-2015 processes and outcomes.