By Elizabeth Lockwood and Jose Viera, CEO, World Blind Union
The fourth Financing for Development (FfD) Forum took place from 15 to 18 April 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The event brings together ministers, high-level officials from ministries of finance, foreign affairs and development cooperation, Executive Directors of the World Bank and IMF, as well as senior officials from the UN system, including the other stakeholders, such as the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities. Click here for details on the programme.
CBM’s long-time partner, Mr. Jose Viera, permanent representative of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities and CEO of World Blind Union was a lead discussant on domestic public resources in the context of persons with disabilities on 17 April. Very positively, this was the first time that a person with a disability was an official presenter at a Financing for Development Forum. You can read the statement here.
The annual FfD Forum results in inter-governmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations that are fed into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. This year the agreed conclusions and recommendations were adopted on 18 April. For the first time in an FfD Forum, persons with disabilities have five explicit references as well as three inexplicit references. Explicit references are included in areas of inclusive infrastructure, disability-led businesses, access to markets at all levels, underrepresentation in STEM education and jobs, and disaggregation of disability data to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Inexplicit references include: accessible, ensuring no country or person is left behind, and inclusive and equitable quality education (read below for details). In addition, the EU in its closing statement strongly supported the inclusion of women, civil society, and persons with disabilities in this year’s outcome document.
This increased inclusion and engagement means that Member States recognize and acknowledge persons with disabilities in the financing for development dialogue. In addition, this is particularly powerful since this year’s agreed conclusions and recommendations will feed into the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development on 26 September, which will be turned into actionable figures. We particularly would like to thank Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, and Russia Federation for their support for including persons with disabilities into their statements and/or into the inter-governmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations.
With growing partnerships, inclusion and recognition as key players in financing for development, we are getting closer to achieving the SDGs by reaching the furthest behind, including persons with disabilities.
Inter-governmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations 2019: persons with disabilities
We encourage the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development to continue to develop its methodology and work on integrated national financing frameworks, in line with national plans and priorities, including through the further elaboration of policy toolkits that are most useful, accessible and implementable for different types of countries and sectors, and report on lessons learned from early efforts to develop such frameworks. We invite the international community and all relevant stakeholders to support these endeavours. (para 4)
We reaffirm our strong political commitment to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources in the spirit of global partnership and solidarity, and ensuring no country or person is left behind. (para 7)
We recognize that investments and innovation in the social sector, in particular education and health, contribute to the alleviation of poverty and reduction of inequalities, as well as enhance human resource development, and we encourage further efforts to scale up investments in these areas, through inclusive and equitable quality education and universal health coverage, among others. (para 9)
We stress that investing in quality, accessible, affordable, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including transport, energy, water and sanitation for all, is vital for achieving many of our goals. We further emphasize that infrastructure must be inclusive, in particular gender-responsive and accessible for persons with disabilities. (para 10)
Domestic and international private business and finance
We note with concern the gap in access to capital for micro, small and medium enterprises, particularly businesses led by women, young entrepreneurs and persons with disabilities, and recognize that financial markets can be a powerful vehicle for economic growth and poverty alleviation when they support businesses that have sustainable development impact, and when access to credit is inclusive across all segments of an economy. (para 14)
International trade as an engine for development
We also encourage capacity building initiatives and actions aimed at allowing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to better tap into trade opportunities, including e-commerce, and at providing opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women, youth, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities to access local, regional and international markets. (para 18)
Science, technology, innovation and capacity-building
We further recognize that women, girls, persons with disabilities, and indigenous peoples are already significantly under-represented in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education and jobs. (para 23)
Data, monitoring and follow-up
We will further strengthen traditional data sources, such as surveys and administrative records, while also embracing new sources, and continuing to strengthen our efforts to collect, analyse and disseminate relevant and reliable data, disaggregated by sex, age, disability and other characteristics relevant in national contexts, for better monitoring and policymaking to achieve the 2030 Agenda. (para 25)
Here is a link to the news in International Sign Language on Twitter:
— Elizabeth Lockwood (@LockwoodEM) April 18, 2019