22.06.2016 Recap of the 9th Session of COSP

The 9th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD took place from 14 to 16 June at the UN Headquarters in New York City. Colleagues in attendance from CBM included Diane Kingston (IAA), Maleni Chaitoo (IAA), Kathy Al Ju’beh (DID), Maegan Shanks (DID), and our partner Risna Utami from Indonesia.

This year’s overarching theme of COSP was “Implementing the 2030 development agenda for all persons with disabilities: Leaving no one behind.” Sub-themes include:

  • Eliminating poverty and inequality for all persons with disabilities
  • Promoting the rights of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities
  • Enhancing accessibility to information and technology and inclusive development
  • Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD

As CBM we co-sponsored the side event “Situations of Risk and Humanitarian Emergencies: Article 11 in Practice” on Tuesday, 14 June in which I presented a statement on CBM’s (Emergency Response Unit) work in this area. On Thursday, 16 June I gave a statement of support and commitment at the event on the “Outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit for Persons with Disabilities,” also on behalf of CBM and the Emergency Response Unit’s spectacular work. Thank you, Valerie Scherrer and Gordon Rattray for the support, work, and information on this. Also on Thursday, the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and OHCHR co-sponsored side event, which I helped to organize, “Bridging the Gap: 2030 Agenda and the CRPD,” took place to a packed room. The event highlighted the importance of working as a unified coalition for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the SDGs at all levels.

During the action-packed week, I also supported Colin Allen (World Federation of the Deaf President and incoming Chair of the International Disability Alliance) in his presentation at a High-Level Political Forum preparatory meeting with Member States. I have never experienced such a positive response to a civil society intervention from Member States at the UN! Member States from Norway, Palestine, and the Netherlands approached Colin afterward and expressed their congratulations on his intervention and that it was given in International Sign.

Maleni and Maegan were incredibly active at COSP, especially networking with the active Deaf cohort in attendance (16 countries were represented), as well as providing invaluable support to all the CBM colleagues. Thank you both!

A new IDDC Inclusive Education Task Group leaflet was launched on “Costing equity: How education financing falls short for learners with disabilities” during the side event “Fulfilling Sustainable Development Goals through inclusive budgeting.” The research will be published in a final report in September in time for the opening of the UN General Assembly. CBM is involved by working with IDDC members in supporting research on disability-inclusive financing. Click here for more details. Thank you, Sian Tesni for this work and information.

Following COSP, a two-day training on disability statistics took place organized by UNICEF, International Disability Alliance, and the Washington Group. Risna, Maleni, and I participated in this workshop in which we learned in-depth information on the Washington Group and disability statistics in general.

Some interesting facts about this year’s COSP:

  • Over 70 side events took place
  • There was a record number of presenters (90) for the general debate (Member States)
  • There were 623 civil society participants
  • The new Bureau includes: incoming President from Bulgaria with Vice-Presidents from Germany, Tunisia, Sri Lanka, and Ecuador (replacing the President from Republic of Korea and Vice-Presidents from Brazil, Italy, Poland, and United Republic of Tanzania).
  • The 10th COSP will take place at the UN HQ from 13-15 June, so get ready!

In closing, it was a real joy to connect and re-connect with so many colleagues, partners, and friends. Thank you to all of our partners and everyone who supported and helped make this a very successful COSP!