Monthly Archives: September 2013


By Catherine

Sep 23rd 2013

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The outcome we were looking for?

Categories: Advocacy, CBM, CRPD

How can you talk about outcome, when the meeting starts in a few hours? Well, you can already see the accessible version of the outcome document (OD) of the HLM DD on-line. It is great to see it already available in accessible formats.

The OD begins by reaffirming the commitment of the international community to the rights of persons with disabilities. It reminds us of the need to include persons with disabilities in the MDGs and the post-2015 framework. It calls for urgent action to adopt disability inclusive development strategies, and to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

It goes on to list a few areas for particular attention, which are already outlined in the CRPD. Education, healthcare, social protection, employment and decent work, universal design, data and statistics, research, awareness raising, women and children with disabilities all get a mention. This is much in line with the already committed to CRPD. II (K) also urges member states and the UN to make humanitarian response and DRR inclusive, which is excellent and builds on article 11 and 32 of the CRPD. It will be wonderful if this is carried through to the post Hyogo framework.

International development banks and financial institutions are called on to take persons with disabilities into account in their development efforts and lending mechanisms. It will signify great progress when this happens: To see a world where all programmes supported by these institutions were fully inclusive of and accessible to person with disabilities. All infrastructure developed through loans could be accessible. All education progress funded through the World Bank could be fully inclusive of persons with disabilities. Poverty reduction and social protection programmes would assist person with disabilities and their families to access opportunities to come out of poverty. You can read more about LPHUs work to help to make this a reality here: World Bank Safeguards Campaign.

II (O) is the hardest paragraph of the OD to read, and to interpret. It includes many aspects of development. It begins with a call for resource mobilisation, and a variety of forms of international cooperation to mainstream disability in development programmes. In the same sentence there is reference to capacity building, transfer of technology, technical assistance and capacity building, assistive technology accessibility for persons with disabilities, and empowerment. The second sentence includes a range of concepts from the difficulty of developing countries to mobilise resources ‘to meet pressing needs in mainstreaming disability in development including rehabilitation, habilitation, equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities, health promotion and public health campaigns for the prevention of diseases and in addressing social, environmental and health risk factors through, inter alia, improving health care, maternal health, access to vaccination, access to clean water supply and sanitation and safe transport’. A proverbial shopping list, and not at all easy to interpret.

Since the OD relates to including persons with disabilities in development cooperation, as stated in the principles of the OD, this paragraph refers to access for persons with disabilities to all public health programmes available to the general population, in line with the CRPD. While the list of health actions in the OD might be considered useful, I think we should keep to the principle that persons with disabilities have the right to access comprehensive healthcare services on an equal basis with others, which goes beyond the list of public health actions mentioned here. This would be in the spirit of the the World Health Assembly resolution of May 2013 which called on the WHO to develop a disability action plan, focusing on healthcare and rehabilitation for persons with disabilities. WHO is conducting an online consultation, and regional consultations, right now, to develop this. The OD comes at a good time to reinforce member states efforts in accessible and inclusive healthcare.

What does the OD say about the future? How will this be followed up?

It calls for persons with disabilities to be included in the international development framework, and UN operational activities. This is a must and the HLM will be a springboard for stronger actions. The UN Secretary General is called to report back on success in implementation of the OD, which will also be welcome. Importantly the second last paragraph underlines the importance of consultation with DPOs.

Lastly, the UN General Assembly is called on to include in its final progress report on the MDGs, the steps take to implement the outcome document.

So, this day, and this outcome document brings us a step closer to the situation CBM would like to see: in every development policy, and in every international cooperation effort, persons with disabilities are included.

Later on today, when the HLM in underway, we will hear member states tell us what their key plans are. Watch this space.


By Catherine

Sep 22nd 2013

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Are you ready?

Categories: Advocacy, CBM, CRPD

Are you all ready for the High Level Meeting on disability and development?

This is a very exciting moment for CBM, as we approach this first ever UN High Level Meeting on Disability and Development, 23rd September 2013. It is also exciting, and a bit nerve wracking, because it is the first time we ever blog direct onto without the magic filter (Gordon).  So, we are reading me unedited, and jet-lagged. It might be good to put in a disclaimer here saying what you read is not (yet) CBM’s official position. Only I can be blamed!

I have been told to ‘be informal’ while writing this blog. So allow me another side track- the photo of me you see here on the blog, according to Gordon, ‘takes 10 years off me’. Thanks to Karin Klostermann in CBM Germanys press department for taking the photo. Thanks also to Gordon for taking me down a peg.

So tomorrow is the day of the HLM, and the world (at least the people in the world, like you, who care about the rights of persons with disabilities), will be watching. What will the UN Secretary General say? What commitments will our governments make? What progress will we see for women, men and children with disabilities everywhere, once this HLM is over?

In this blog, I will try to report on the main issue- what our governments are promising and signing up to. I will also give you an overview of many other events taking place around the HLM- which CBM colleagues and partners are also involved with.

The HLM can be watched online at: The meeting goes on for the full day, during the day you can be alerted of who is speaking if you follow us on twitter @catherinecbm, @cbmworldwide and @CBMuk, and here, but perhaps a bit less immediate.

I have just read the wonderful news that Rima Canawati from the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation will have the chance to speak at the HLM itself. She has been recommended by IDDC as a speaker on behalf of civil society with focus women with disabilities and situations of conflict.

Watch this space on the 23rd!

Greetings from New York,