17.03.2016

UN Committee member starts her marathon

The Geneva marathon – week one

As the Committee member from the United Kingdom, I’ve done my preparation, and now I have a 5-week marathon in Geneva of back-to- back examinations, side events and briefings, all in the company of my 17 outstanding colleagues.  The countdown has begun with only just over a week to go before the opening of the 15th session of the UN CRPD Committee.

I will be regularly updating you on events, activities and outcomes in this blog, so watch this space!

On the start line on Monday 21st March is the 5th pre-sessional working group, made up of six members who are preparing for the CRPD Committee’s 16th Session, which will take place between 15th August and 2nd September 2016.  The preparation involves adopting the ‘List of Issues’ or further questions in relation State’s initial state report, which is sent to the country and they have three months to reply to the questions ahead of the constructive dialogue (exam) on how they have implemented the CRPD in their country.

During the week of the 21st March Country Rapporteurs meet with organisations of persons with disabilities and NGOs from countries who are coming up for examination in the 16thSession.  The countries are Ethiopia (with Rapporteur Martin Babu from Uganda), Italy (with me as Rapporteur from the UK), Uruguay (with Rapporteur Carlos Parra Dussan from Colombia), the United Arab Emirates (with Rapporteur Mohammed Al-Tarawneh from Jordan), Guatemala (with Rapporteur Ana Pelaez from Spain) Bolivia and Colombia (with Rapporteur Silvia Quan from Guatemala) and Moldova (with Rapporteur Jonas Ruskus from Lithuania).

Most organisations of persons with disabilities are supported by the  International Disability Alliance (IDA) to meet Country Rapporteurs either face-to-face, or have a video conference with us.  Two countries, Guatemala and Bolivia will have their ‘List of Issues’ or further questions in relation to their initial state report, discussed and adopted in a closed session of the main Committee, which begins on the 29th March.

I’ll have the opportunity to engage with organisations of persons with disabilities from Italy, which is vital in the lead up to the constructive dialogue.  Chiara Anselmo from CBM Italy will also brief the Country Rapporteurs at the pre-sessional meeting on their work in relation to situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies (article 11) and international cooperation (article 32).  Chiara and I will also meet the Ambassador for Italy based in Geneva to build our alliances.

Then we have the Easter break before the main marathon begins…