08.07.2019 UN event on empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality

Group of people pose for a picture in front of a banner
The Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities at the HLPF


This year is particularly busy since two High-level Political Forums (HLPFs) will be taking place at the UN Headquarters in New York. The first is the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC (July 9-18) and the second is HLPF under the auspices of the UN General Assembly – also called the SDG Summit (September 24-25).

Tuesday, the first HLPF of 2019 kicks off. The theme for the HLPF in July is "Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality" and is especially relevant for persons with disabilities and for CBM’s work. Fittingly, approximately 100 representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and disability NGOs will be attending the HLPF this year under the umbrella of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities which we co-coordinate with the International Disability Alliance.

The set of Goals to be reviewed are quite relevant to persons with disabilities and the work in which we focus, including:

  • Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all;
  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all;
  • Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries;
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable; development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels; and
  • Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

For the 2019 HLPF, 51 countries are volunteering to give national reviews. Forty-one countries will report for the first time, including Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Eritrea, Eswatini, Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nauru, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, South Africa, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, UK, Tanzania, and Vanuatu. Additionally, 10 countries will report for a second or third time, including Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Indonesia, Philippines, Sierra Leone, and Turkey.

Photo of a big conference room in session with a large screen at the front

The UN at the HLPF


Why is the HLPF important?

The HLPF is the global platform for the follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It is the place the governments present on their implementation efforts and governments, UN Agencies and stakeholders convene and share ideas. Civil society has the right to ask governments questions and has a seat at the table. Persons with disabilities can be represented via the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities (the official mechanism for persons with disabilities at the UN in sustainable development processes.). The HLPF allows for persons with disabilities and their representative organizations to meet their government officials and pose questions in a way that is not always possible at the national level.

Core CBM countries reviewing their SDG implementation (VNRs) this year include: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Philippines and Member Association countries include: New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. We are funding DPO partners to carry out desk reviews of VNRs in countries reviewing for a second time: Indonesia and the Philippines. We will use these reports (in English and the local languages) to share with local DPOs, IDA, and as a publication to support advocacy efforts at the national, regional, and global levels. Stay tuned for these reports.

CBM involvement

Five CBMers will attend the HLPF and additionally we are funding two DPO partners to participate: Jose Viera, CEO, World Blind Union and Permanent Representative of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities and Sulayman Abdulmumuni Ujah, a BRIDGE graduate.

We are involved in and supporting a variety of events. Three key events are:

  • Side event with the International Civil Society Centre: “Towards a more inclusive SDG Delivery that leaves no one behind”

July 9th, 1:15-2:45pm, Church Center

  • Side Event: Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities: “Reducing inequalities: a look at persons with disabilities”

July 10th 1:15-2:30pm, Conference Room 5

  • Special event: “Participatory and Inclusive tools to build capacities in leaving no one behind” Maegan Shanks, Gallaudet University and Elizabeth Lockwood will present on the SDGs and Deaf Culture

July 11th 10:00am–1:00pm, Conference Room 5

On a final note, Elizabeth is the focal point on accessibility for the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities at the HLPF. She will coordinate all accessibility measures and handle issues that may occur.