27.08.2015

The EU Constructive Dialogue on the implementation of the CRPD

The 14th session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(UN CRPD) started on 17 August and will end on 4 September. This week, and following the schedule detailed by Diane Kingston previously, the Constructive Dialogue between the European Union (EU) and the Committee Members of the UN CRPD took place.

A delegation of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), of which I had the pleasure to be part, was there in order to follow up the activities that IDDC started once the EU launched its initial report on the implementation of the UN CRPD. On Wednesday 26, IDDC organised a side event on “Persons with disabilities in EU External Action: from policy to practice”. The aim of this event was to provide further information on the EU implementation of Article 11 (Humanitarian Aid) and Article 32 (International Cooperation) of the UN CRPD.

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Priscille Geiser, chair of IDDC, presented the main results of the IDDC response to the EU List of Issues. She highlighted the lack of participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the EU decision making, as well as the lack of mainstreaming disabilities in EU development policies and programmes.

Hellen Grace Asamo, Member of the Parliament of Uganda, shared with Committee Members her experience with EU Delegations. Lack of accessibility and participation for persons with disabilities were some of the obstacles raised by Mrs. Asamo. She also mentioned the lack of knowledge of EU Staff on CRPD principles and how to make those principles a reality for persons with disabilities in developing countries. I want to take advantage of this post to thank Mrs. Asamo for her availability and her strong commitment to IDDC, her powerful speech was appreciated by Committee Members, but also by IDDC delegation.

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Catherine Naughton, director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), supported the IDDC side event. She offered her expertise on EU International Cooperation by providing information on EU competencies. The EU is the first regional body on signing and ratifying the UN CRPD. The competencies between the EU and its Member States are complex regarding the implementation of several articles of the UN CRPD. However, and as Catherine raised during the IDDC side event, the EU has its own competences on Article 11 and 32.

After these presentations, Committee Members raised their questions, mostly focused on knowing IDDC priorities, concrete information of participation of DPOs in the EU Delegations and the IDDC knowledge on quality monitoring system of EU development policies and programmes.

Thx to @MyEDF @iddcconsortium @IDA_CRPD_Forum & #Ugandan MP for briefing #CRPD14 today before #EU review pic.twitter.com/FPTAMxlYXH

— Diane Kingston (@Diane_CBM) August 26, 2015

IDDC also participated in the side event of EDF, which took place on 27 August. The aim of this side event was to offer information to Committee Members before the Constructive Dialogue, in such a way that Committee Member would have all the needed information to asking EU Delegation about the main obstacles on the implementation of the CRPD.

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The Constructive Dialogue started on 27 and finished today. Committee Members raised several questions to the EU Delegation on Article 11 and 32. Most of them were related to the EU leadership on the implementation of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the coming framework on Sustainable Development Goals. There was also a concern about the participation of persons with disabilities and their representatives organisations in EU Delegations.

I would like to thank to Committee Members of the UN CRPD for the work they have done on the EU review on the implementation of the CRPD, and especially for supporting the advocacy work of IDDC regarding Humanitarian Aid and International Cooperation. The EU is the largest donor on Official Development Assistance, and the proper implementation of the CRPD by the EU will benefit persons with disabilities around the world. We are looking forward to having the Concluding Observations, and to working for equal opportunities for all people wherever they live.