30.09.2019 Visibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities at the UN

Mr. Jose Viera presents at the podium of the SDG Summit
Mr. Jose Viera, Chief Executive Officer, World Blind Union and Permanent Representative of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities presents at the SDG Summit as part of the 74th Session of the General Assembly. ©UN Web TV
©UN Web TV

CBM, as one of the key coordinators of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities, participated in the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74) at the UN in New York to engage in the world’s most pressing global issues, from universal health coverage to climate change and progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Persons with disabilities were strongly represented throughout the week as highlighted below.

On 24 September, UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly. In his speech he included persons with disabilities stating that “we must also secure the rights of vulnerable and marginalised people. This year I launched the first United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy.”

The 2019 HLPF Political Declaration was adopted at the opening of the SDG Summit also on 24 September. Persons with disabilities are included in the paragraph (para 27, a) in which Member States commit to leaving no one behind by focusing on “the poorest and most vulnerable in…policies and actions" and “will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.” Later the same day, our partners, Mr. Jose Viera and Mr. Mohammed Loutfy, presented on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities at the SDG Summit CSO Forum.

The following day, Mr. Viera, Chief Executive Officer, World Blind Union and Permanent Representative of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities officially presented following Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN-Women. Mr. Viera was only one of six civil society speakers invited to address the SDG Summit among Heads of State and Governments. He presented on human rights, data disaggregation, accessibility, climate change, and multilateralism. Click here to read his full speech and watch here (at time 1:48:38).

UNICEF and the International Disability Alliance hosted a reception on disability rights and inclusion that celebrated the launch of the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) and the Global Disability Summit one-year progress report. It was an opportunity for partners of the UN community to reiterate their commitment towards disability rights and inclusive development. UNDIS launched their new website that includes accessible versions in various languages and in easy-to-read format.

Additionally, we attended events on data, the high-level meeting on financing for development, and connected with various stakeholders, UN agencies, and Governments. Moreover, as CBM we led on the accessibility for the SDG Summit with many positive outcomes. Real-time captioning was provided during the SDG Summit and the high-level meeting on Financing for Development and the SDG Summit videos that were shown throughout the UN from all UN agencies all provided captions indicating a more inclusive UN. Very positively, security was briefed on accessibility for visitors with disabilities and did a stellar job at ensuring an inclusive and positive experience for participants. Thank you!

Additional information:

Official statements by stakeholders

SDG Summit

GLAD blog on UNICEF and IDA reception