3rd December is the whole Year

Lars Bosselmann, who leads CBM’s International Advocacy and Alliances team reflects back on 2015 and looks forward to key areas for advocacy in 2016.

Aim of International Day of Persons with Disabilities

A usual introduction to the collection of articles that we have gathered for International Disability Day would probably start, with, "Today is the 3rd of December, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. To mark this important day, which has as theme this year Inclusion matters, we are delighted to feature..." But an important question to ask ourselves is, ‘isn't there then the risk of December 3rd becoming part of our routine? Or just another International Day on which we "have to" publish something? The aim of International Disability Day is two-fold, firstly to promote an understanding of issues faced by persons with disabilities and secondly to increase awareness on the importance of inclusion for persons with disabilities across all areas of life. The day itself gives all of us who work in advocacy a focal point every year to get our messages out to decision makers and the wider public.

2015 was a year overloaded with international processes, summits and all the expectations coming with these kind of political gatherings. Looking back, 2015 meant a great number of successes and openings for the inclusion of persons with disabilities through those various political processes. The successes range from the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in March to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with 11 explicit references to persons with disabilities. We have been reporting about and celebrating these achievements in previous newsletters, publications and ongoing communication. 


In turning these political achievements, to which CBM contributed greatly, into reality for persons with disabilities living in poverty, as we move forward into 2016, three key elements seem to me indispensable -

  1. The real success of the various frameworks that became inclusive of persons with disabilities lies obviously in their implementation. It is key to ensure that all stakeholders who are implementing the various frameworks translate the high standards contained in the political texts into practical and measurable policies and budgets on the ground. This includes the critical question of indicators and data collection.
  2. Implementation linking better topics, institutions and geographical levels that were previously often separated from each other. This includes Civil Society getting better at seeing and working with the "big picture".
  3. In moving forward, it will be imperative to capitalise on the successesthat the disability movement has gained through the processes in 2015, in order to make the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) a reality. The 2030 Agenda and the Sendai Framework, amongst others, are important vehicles for bringing the rights of persons with disabilities to the mainstream, but they don't replace the much higher standards as set out by the CRPD.

With these few reflections, I thank you for following us and supporting our work in 2015 and the IAA team looks forward to taking these issues and others forward in 2016.