CBM launched its publication on Disability and Sustainable Development at the European Parliament on 13 October 2015 in the presence of Members of the European Parliament, different EU institutions, Civil Society and UN Organisations.
Launch of Publication
On 13 October, CBM launched the publication “Dialogues on Sustainable Development: A Disability-Inclusive Perspective” in the European Parliament(EP), with the support of the Disability Intergroup of the EP. The event was hosted by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Brian Hayes and Enrique Guerrero Salom and gathered representatives from different EU institutions, Civil Society and UN Organisations.
The launch of this publication comes with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). The European Union (EU), as the largest donor on International Cooperation and the first regional body on signing and ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(UN CRPD), has a key role for inclusion of persons with disabilities in developing countries.
Sustainable Development by mainstreaming disability
Lars Bosselmann, Acting Director of the International Advocacy and Alliances of CBM, opened the discussion by welcoming this publication, which will promote a discussion on how to implement the 2030 Agenda and the DRR framework according to the Concluding Observations of the review on the EU implementation of the UN CRPD. MEP Brian Hayes highlighted the need of including persons with disabilities in EU Development Cooperation. In addition, he stated that the EP “has to make sure that development is a key part of the Committees work”.
The publication “Dialogues on Sustainable Development: A Disability-Inclusive Perspective” was presented by Charlotte Axelsson, CBM consultant on Social Inclusion and Development. This publication is structured around the three basic elements of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental sustainability. Only by the inclusion of persons with disabilities in these three areas, inclusive sustainable development will be achieved. To support this objective, the CBM report also includes recommendation about how to mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities in these three areas.
MEP Adam Kosa opened the debate by focusing on education as one of the most important topics of the publication. He remembered that in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development education has a stand-alone goal on “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. He also mentioned the need of quality education for deaf children and welcomed the good practices from CBM experience that were included in the publication. Mr. Kosa stated that “school facilities need to be inclusive. We must follow an inclusive philosophy, in order to build an effective learning environment”.
Humanitarian emergencies and Disaster Risk Reduction was one of the main topics discussed during the launch. Biljana Zuber, Thomas De Lannoy and Anne-Francoise Moffroid, from the Directorate General of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO) of the European Commission (EC), provided information about inclusive policies and actions taken by the EC. Also, DG ECHO Representatives underlined the importance of the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities and for the implementation of the Sendai Framework of DRR.
Catherine Naughton, Director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), raised the Concluding Observations as guidelines for the EU to further work on External Actions, especially regarding Article 11 on Situations of Risk and Humanitarian Emergencies and Article 32 on International Cooperation. “The EU received positive feedback from the UN CRPD Committee Members, and also received further recommendations for the EU to take the lead in the implementation of the disability inclusive sustainability development goals” she said.
Stefanie Dannenmann- Di Palma, from the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), mentioned the need to include disability as one of the indicators for the implementation of the DRR framework as a concrete next step the international community should take. She mentioned that “we are coordinating the words into action, establishing guidelines for governments, stakeholders and practical steps to implement them.”
Other MEPs demonstrated their support by participating in the debate. MEP Richard Howitt mentioned the refugee crisis, which is one of the most important topics for the EU currently, stating that "many of us have made the position clear over many years that disabled people are the people excluded in refugee situations". MEP Marian Harkin, member of the Disability Intergroup, supported the launch of the event and linked it to the EU review on the implementation of the UN CRPD.
A publication which opens a debate
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai framework for Disaster Risk Reduction have, for the first time, explicit references to persons with disabilities. The EU, as the largest donor and committed to the rights of persons with disabilities, must show a leadership on a disability-inclusive implementation of these frameworks.
“Dialogues on Sustainable Development: A Disability – Inclusive Perspective” has opened the path for the discussion. CBM encourages the international community to mainstream disability in all areas of development cooperation and humanitarian aid; CBM also calls on the international community to ensure the indicators of the 2030 agenda and Sendai frameworks are inclusive, in particular those related to data collection: data should be disaggregated by age, sex and disability. CBM, in partnership with others, will continue its work to promote the rights of persons with disability in development cooperation and humanitarian aid.