Category Archives: Advocacy
International Women’s Day is an annual opportunity to celebrate progress made towards equality for women. But it is also a reminder of how far we still are from this goal – particularly for women with disabilities who are experiencing violence around the world.
Violence against women and girls has been described as a ‘global pandemic.’ And it is easy to see why. 1 in 3 women has experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Women with disabilities are even more likely to face violence, experience it for a longer period and are less able to escape or access justice.
Globally, adults with disabilities are 1.5 times more likely to be victims of violence and for adults with mental health conditions this rises to a staggering 4 times more.
Men with disabilities are also at a much higher risk of experiencing violence and, although there is very little research, this violence is likely to be driven by many of the factors that cause violence against women. While the numbers are likely to be smaller than women, this is still a significant problem which is rarely discussed.
Why does violence happen?
Largely, women with disabilities are victims of violence for many of the same reasons as women without disabilities. Violence against women is often a result of gender relations and gender norms and the unequal power relations between men and women. This is amplified for women with disabilities who experience more discrimination and marginalisation and are much less likely to be viewed as equals – either in their households or communities. This increased level of discrimination means that their risk of experiencing violence is also amplified.
Having a disability also brings additional risk factors – such as living in an institution or being dependent (either for care, mobility or finance) on a family or a partner.
Low levels of reporting
The problem doesn’t just end with the high number of women with disabilities facing violence. Globally reporting of violence is low, especially when this violence is committed by a partner or family member. Women with disabilities are also less likely to report violence and even if they do they are less likely to be able to access justice.
Many of the reasons that women without disabilities don’t report violence or can’t access justice are the same as for other women. For example, they may be afraid of the consequences of reporting, may feel that nothing will be done or not know who to talk to. For women with disabilities the multiple discriminations that they face make them even less likely to report. Many more women with disabilities do not work and so they are more likely to be financially dependent on family or a partner – and so the consequences of reporting could be more severe.
Women often do not tell anyone because they feel that they won’t be believed – this is particularly an issue for women with intellectual disabilities or mental health issues who are less likely to be seen as credible witnesses. As one woman in our research in Cambodia put it “I have never told other people because they will not think it is true, and since my father-in-law is the vice chief, most people in the community respect him. They are afraid that they will not be invited to participate in the community or receive gifts.”
And so what can be done?
In recent years violence against women and girls has risen up the agenda as a development issue, including high level political commitment from the UK and inclusion in the new Sustainable Development Goals. If organisations are serious about tackling violence against women and girls – they must reach women with disabilities.
The Department for International Development commissioned a really interesting piece of research looking at ‘What works’ to tackle violence against women and girls – and we were really pleased to see that it included a paper on disability. Unfortunately there was so little out there documenting what works that the paper was hardly able to come to any conclusions.
It is vital for us to build more evidence on what work to tackle violence against women and girls with disabilities. Programmes addressing violence must make sure that they understand the specific barriers that women may face in accessing their programmes and look to overcome these. We need to make sure that data on violence against women and girls is being disaggregated by disability – otherwise we won’t know who is affected and who is being reached by prevention efforts.It is also important that wider work to tackle discrimination and stigma against women with disabilities continues, to reduce the underlying causes of violence.
The discrimination that women with disabilities face may in some cases make them harder to reach – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth reaching.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. This year we address a key issue facing people living with psychosocial disabilities (disabilities caused by mental illness): dignity.
The theme chosen for October 10, 2015 is “Dignity in mental health”. The word ‘dignity’ comes from the Latin word meaning worthiness. It is the idea that everyone has the right to be valued and respected. But taking it one step further, dignity is also about how people feel: treating someone in a way that they feel valued and feel respected. When people are living with dignity, they feel confident and they are able to make decisions for themselves.
Worldwide, high levels of stigma and discrimination strip people with psychosocial disabilities of dignity and prevent them from the experience of living as, and being treated as, equal members of society.
At CBM, we believe that all people with disabilities deserve to live in a world that treats them with dignity. Here are 3 ways that we believe can promote the dignity of people with psychosocial disabilities:
1) Creating accessible, people-centred care following a humanitarian emergency
Knowing that disasters can negatively influence the mental health of a population, CBM sees humanitarian emergencies as an opportunity to ‘build back better.’ In Sierra Leone, for example, the Ebola virus disease outbreak impacted the mental health of the country in many ways. Not one person was excluded from the experience of stress, fear and loss. CBM used this opportunity to mobilize resources and establish, with other partners, 14 mental health units across the country. Previous to the outbreak, mental health care was only available at the Psychiatric Hospital and in a couple of health units outside of the capital city. Similarly, in the Philippines, following Typhoon Haiyan, CBM used the opportunity to establish mental health units with trained staff who could visit and support people with psychosocial disabilities in their communities.
Creating accessible mental health care following an emergency seeks to reduce the long term psychological impacts of a disaster. However, it also brings care closer to people with psychosocial disabilities, allowing them to rebuild their lives with dignity: close to their homes and families with trained staff who treat them with respect.
2) Supporting opportunities for voices to be heard
An important part of dignity is providing people with the opportunity to make choices and to have control in their lives. It is not enough to speak on behalf of people with psychosocial disabilities. Instead, what is needed is environments that offer support and build confidence, so that people with psychosocial disabilities can find and use their voices.
Maya Angelou put it best when she defined dignity: “Dignity. It means a belief in oneself, that one is worthy of the best. It means that what I have to say is important, and I will say it when it’s important for me to say it. Dignity really means that I deserve the best treatment I can receive. And that I have the responsibility to give the best treatment I can to other people.”
Since 2008, CBM has supported the Presbyterian Community Based Rehabilitation (PCBR) programme based in Northern Ghana, to establish self-help groups (SHGs) with the aim of providing mutual support, and enabling people to re-enter the community, both socially and economically. Now, with over 23 SHGs throughout the upper east region, the groups provide an important source of support to people with psychosocial disabilities and their families. Through the groups, members have been able to challenge discrimination, share support and advice, and attain financial security in a resource poor setting.
3) Advocating for change in global priorities
While local developments, such as the establishment of services and self-help groups, are necessary to promote dignity, progress on a global level is equally important.
In September, 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and clearly state the priorities for governments and development agencies over the next 15 years. During the drafting process, FundaMentalSDG was formed: an alliance of organizations who believe in a common vision of seeing the SDGs consider the needs of people with psychosocial disabilities.
When the UN adopted the SDGs in September this year, we saw the exciting inclusion of mental health and well-being in the document. This success is in part due to the work of FundaMentalSDG, of which CBM is a founding member.
Mental health was not mentioned in the MDGs. Therefore, the inclusion of mental health and well-being in the SDGs indicates an increased respect for people with psychosocial disabilities on a global level. Equally important, we anticipate a greater investment in interventions that will lead to less human rights abuses against people with psychosocial disabilities.
On World Mental Health Day 2015, we are promoting the value and worth of people living with psychosocial disabilities. Whether we invest in improving access to care, the establishment of self-help groups or changing global priorities …it should all be done in the name of dignity.
“Things have a price and can be for sale but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things.” – Pope Francis
The ability to read and write is hugely powerful. Women who can read have fewer children later in life, and the children they do have are much more likely to survive. Being literate helps people to find jobs, access information and make decisions about their lives.
Today, on International Literacy Day (8th September), we think about the 781 million adults who cannot read, write or count, and about what needs to be done to make sure that they have the opportunities to gain these valuable skills.
While the data is poor, we know that people with disabilities often have lower levels of literacy than people without disabilities. This is hardly surprising when you consider that in developing countries, as many as 9 out of 10 children with disabilities do not go to school.
In the last 15 years there has been a huge global effort to get more children enrolled in primary school. This has led to a drop in the number of children out of school from 100 million in 2000 to 57 million today. While this progress is huge, many children with disabilities have been left behind. In many low and middle income countries, having a disability more than doubles the chance of a child not going to school. In Nepal for example, 85% of children out of school have a disability.
If they do attend school, children living with disabilities are often more likely to drop out and leave school early. They are also less likely to be able to learn – because schools are not correctly equipped, teachers are not trained or because they are discriminated against. Often getting children in to school and making sure they have the opportunity to learn vital skills such as reading and writing involves small changes; in teaching methods, in physical accessibility or even just in attitude.
Illiteracy among adults with disabilities is even more prevalent than among children, because those who are adults today were less likely to attend school that today’s children. To address this, adult literacy programmes need to be inclusive of people with disabilities. More broadly, we need to make sure that information is provided in alternative formats so that those who are unable to read can still access it.
Goal 4 in the new Sustainable Development Goals recognises the importance of inclusive education and promotes learning for all, including lifelong learning. This is a huge step forward and an important opportunity to ensure that people with disabilities have the same chance to become literate as their non-disabled peers. CBM is advocating that in the indicators that measure the new goals school enrolment is broken down by disability. Because only when we have good data about how many children with disabilities are not in school will we really be able to reach them all. We are also advocating for an indicator on the number of trained teachers to teach children with special educational needs; because getting children into school is not enough.
We often talk about the cycle of poverty and disability, the fact that disability causes poverty, and poverty causes disability. Literacy is one way of breaking this cycle – because when people learn to read and write they are more able to participate in society and have the power to change their own lives.
Krishna Gautam is a Past-President of the Mid-Western Chapter of ‘National Federation of the Disabled Nepal’ (NFDN) and founder member of ‘Centre for Independent Living’ (CIL) in Kathmandu. Presently, he works with the CIL as the General Secretary. He lives with his wife and two children in Kathmandu.
In this interview with CBM’s Ashok Shah, Krishna Gautam talks about his experience during the earthquake on 25th April and the work CIL plans to do in the aftermath for the rights of people with disabilities.
When did you start CIL? What’s the idea behind starting this organization?
“We started CIL in Kathmandu in 2006. We were a group of ten people with disabilities who believed it’s important to work with rights-based approach in disability sector. Earlier, whatever we did mostly centred around charity based approach… What CIL wants is that the disability movement must be led by people with severe and profound disabilities; and their issues must be addressed and resolved by persons with severe disabilities themselves. That’s the reason we started CIL.”
Where were you during the 25th April earthquake? What did you experience on that fateful day?
“I was in Nepalgunj [a town about 500km west of Kathmandu]… I was invited at a friend’s place for lunch. At the entrance, two persons carried my wheelchair and helped me get inside the house. After lunch, we were just watching TV and talking to each other when the ground began to shake, making such a terrible noise. Before I could make sense of what was happening, the hosts had left the house and reached the garden outside…
The ground continued to shake and I thought I’ll fall off the wheelchair. Later, the hosts came back and helped me get out of the house. The earth was shaking even when we reached outside. It was such a horrifying experience. Luckily, it was a single-storey house…”
When did you return to Kathmandu? How difficult was it to reach the capital after the quake?
“Actually, I was to take a flight back to capital that Saturday evening. But due to the earthquake, all flights were cancelled. Even telephone connections were down. An hour later, I could finally speak to my family in Kathmandu and got to know that my daughter was slightly injured… Later, I somehow boarded an overnight bus from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu to be with my family. On 26 th April, I could finally meet my wife and children. But a few hours later there was another massive aftershock. I was so worried about my family…”
What are you doing for fellow persons with disabilities who are affected by the earthquake?
“For the first few days, we were so scared that we could not leave our families. The aftershocks kept coming and we couldn’t do anything at all. Meanwhile, we have been calling our Disabled Person’s Organisations (DPOs) in the affected districts to know about the damage caused to persons with disabilities. Also, we have set up some tents in an open ground in Jawalakhel as temporary shelter for people with severe disabilities whose shelters have collapsed and have nowhere to go. At the moment there are about 15 persons in the tents here, most of them wheelchair user and severe spinal conditions. We are expecting some more persons with severe disabilities from worst hit districts like Kavre and Sindhupalchowk. They can stay here up to 3 months, or till the time they have no other alternative… In the coming days, we’re also trying to provide peer counseling and assistive devices in this shelter.”
Tomorrow, you’re going to attend the Protection cluster meeting. How do you plan to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities?
“I believe, persons with disabilities are the first casualties during the earthquake. They are also most likely to be left behind and forgotten during the immediate rescue and relief work. So, we’re planning to organize as many persons with disabilities and attend the cluster meeting tomorrow. We’ll put forward that access to relief supplies and temporary shelter must be inclusive of persons with disabilities. For that I think we need to organize, make our presence felt in such meetings, only then our voices will be heard. Most importantly, we’re going to advocate that the earthquake will result in many more people with injuries and disabilities who will need to be looked at seriously. The government needs to look into the issues of their recovery and rehabilitation, and later the issue of employment as well.”
Why do you think disability issues needs to be advocated in such cluster meetings? Why is disability forgotten?
I think that’s because we haven’t been able to raise our issues effectively, or mainstream our issues at the national level. The reasons for this could be that we aren’t yet organized among ourselves, we lack coordination and we’re yet to demonstrate our strength and impact as a group and community. We are still inside our houses. Time has come that we leave our houses and fight for our rights.”
As well as providing medical care and emergency support to people with disabilities and injuries in Nepal, CBM is working closely with Nepalese Disabled People’s Organisations to help ensure that all relief and reconstruction efforts are disability-inclusive.
On 9-11 February, I was part of a group in New York, USA, advocating for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development framework. Orsolya Bartha (The International Disability Alliance) and I were quite fortunate this week to collaborate with Andrew Griffiths from Sightsavers who is also an Executive Committee Co-Chair of Beyond 2015.
Beyond 2015 is a global civil society campaign, pushing for a strong and legitimate post-2015 development framework. In NY, we work closely with Beyond 2015 in our joint advocacy as civil society stakeholders at the United Nations. More than 1000 organisations participate in Beyond 2015 from more than 130 countries representing 41 countries in Africa, 29 countries in Asia and the Pacific, 35 countries in Europe, 2 countries in North America and 26 countries in Latin America. CBM International, CBM Australia, CBM Canada and CBM UK are all participating organisations in Beyond 2015.
We met with an array of Member States, including: Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, the People’s Republic of China, Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, and the United Kingdom. We received strong support for the inclusion of persons with disabilities from these meetings. In addition, once again we were told that persons with disabilities are a very strong advocacy group at the UN. Specifically, Brazil stated that persons with disabilities are the most organised of all advocacy groups at the UN. Thank you, Brazil!
We were particularly positive about meeting with the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN since it is the first time we had the opportunity to meet with this important Member State. The People’s Republic of China is very supportive of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development process, in particular in areas of poverty eradication, employment, health, and education. In our meeting we learnt that there are approximately 88 million persons with disabilities living in China and that the China Disabled Persons’ Federation is quite active and collaborates with the government. Specifically, Peng Liyuan, the wife of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, has called for a “more just, tolerant and sustainable environment for the development of disabled people.”
In addition to the afore-mentioned post-2015 events, the 53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development also took place in NY on 4-13 February. Member States that explicitly referenced persons with disabilities include: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, the EU, Finland, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Sweden, and Viet Nam. I had the lovely opportunity to speak with Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities who gave a fantastic presentation at the session. Watch the video of Ms. Devandas’ presentation. We greatly look forward to working with you in the coming months and years!
Elizabeth Lockwood is CBM’s UN Advocacy Officer based in New York. Elizabeth focuses on developing advocacy strategies to raise awareness, network, build capacity, and lobby for the rights of persons with disabilities at the UN level in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Inclusive Development. This post first appeared on the CBM International blog.
I’m in Bangkok this week taking part in the first CBM joint Disability Inclusive Development (DID) training – ensuring that people with disabilities are included and involved in all development activity. The workshop is aimed at sharing international experiences of disability inclusive development and discussing good practice.
The workshop started today with participants from all nine CBM regions, four member associations, and international office to share experiences, good practice, resources, expertise, but also challenges faced whilst working towards disability inclusion.
The first day’s main focus was learning from examples from six regions in sessions that were facilitated in a very lively and creative manner.
A common point of discussion was moving from a mere welfare approach to a rights based development approach along the empowerment framework, and from a bilateral cooperation between CBM and the organisations it supports towards a true partnership that promotes mutual learning between the organisations.
A key issue discussed was the alliance with Disabled People’s Organisations which, because of their expertise, have an important role in the promotion of inclusion. Different strategies and methodologies for their involvement were discussed, and it was remarked that CBM has to not only look inwards but also acknowledge the different roles of stakeholders to ensure we draw on their specific strengths.
CBM’s role was seen to facilitate the link between disability stakeholders, as well as with mainstream organisations, governments, technical and finance partners. It was acknowledged that in order to influence change, DPOs require capacity development to enhance their professionalism.
The benefits of involvement of DPOs on these different levels are:
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved academic, vocational and/or professional skills
- Improved socialisation
- Improved awareness of disability rights, participation and accessibility
- Increased understanding of structures and processes
- Improved leadership skills
- Increased understanding of relations on all levels, from grassroots to global
These will together lead to increased empowerment.
One of the important learnings of the day was the importance of gender sensitivity in our work, for example not just disaggregation of data by gender but also breaking down the data for people with disabilities by gender, keeping the gender lens during implementation, featuring men in our documentation and footage, and ensuring men are allies.
Quote of the day:
“It causes the partner problems if they learn that I am coming to visit them.” (from a CBM staff member using a wheelchair)
“Inclusion is not just about disability, inclusion is about everybody.” (from a CBM staff member)
Even in a ‘developed’ country like the UK, disabled people are more likely to be poor than the able-bodied. Government figures show that about 20% of British families with at least one disabled member live in relative poverty compared to only 15% of other families.
There are two key reasons for this. Firstly, disability is an expensive business. Most significantly disabled people face extra costs due to their impairment. They may need to buy specialist equipment, they may have to carry out more laundry, they may need to use taxis because of inaccessible public transport or they may require an extra room to accommodate a personal assistant.
Secondly, it can be hard for disabled people to find paid work. Although there has been some progress, disabled people are still more likely to be unemployed than their non-disabled counterparts. While more than three-quarters of the British working-age non-disabled population are in employment, less than 50% of working-age disabled people have a job. As a result, many disabled people have to rely on benefits and, not surprisingly, have difficulty making ends meet.
I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to obtain employment. After graduating, I spent six months out of work and had to apply for more than 40 jobs before I managed to persuade an employer to recruit me. This was despite having a degree from Cambridge University and a postgraduate diploma. Fifteen years later, I have a rewarding, well-paid job. Like millions of other people, I have to cope with the daily challenges of living with a disability. However, I’m one of the lucky ones. At least I don’t have to cope with poverty as well.
A research report from the International Centre on Evidence in Disability (ICED) formed the basis of a discussion today with the UN Committee of Experts on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
It was a pleasure for me to facilitate a dialogue between the Committee and Dr Hannah Kuper, co-director of the ICED at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on their recent research report ’The costs of exclusion and the gains of inclusion of persons with disabilities‘.
The first part of the research provides the evidence of the link between poverty and disability, described by Dr Kuper as ‘strong as the evidence between lung cancer and smoking’.
The second part of the research looks at three sectors, namely; health, education and employment, providing evidence from low and middle income countries on the costs of exclusion and the gains of inclusion of persons with disabilities…
Did you know that In Bangladesh, reductions in wage earnings attributed to lower levels of education among people with disabilities and their child caregivers were estimated to cost the economy US$54 million per year?
Or that the inclusion of people with sensory or physical impairments in schools in Nepal was estimated to generate wage returns of 20%?
Read more of this wonderful research, and disseminate it to the people who listen to economic arguments, but always ask for the evidence!
Below is a list of upcoming events at the UN Headquarters in NYC. I will be attending many of these events and will blog about them throughout the autumn. Click on the titles for additional information.
This one-day High-level Forum will take place on 9 September at the UN Headquarters. It will comprise of an opening segment and two multi-stakeholder interactive panels and a brief closing segment. The two panels will focus on: (1) the role and contributions of women and the young to the Culture of Peace; and (2) global citizenship as a pathway to the Culture of Peace.
In preparation for the negotiation phase of the post-2015 development agenda during the 69th session, the President of the General Assembly is convening a High-Level Stocktaking Event to reflect upon the various post-2015 development-related processes, which have occurred during the current session of the General Assembly. The purpose is to provide Member States and other stakeholders with an opportunity to identify possible inputs to the Secretary-General’s synthesis report, to the work of the 69th session of the General Assembly, and to the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda itself.
The first session of the Preparatory Committee of the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) will take place in NY. The deadline for registration/accreditation is 31 August 2014. Click here for registration details.
16 September-1 October: 69th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 69)
The 69th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 69) will convene at the UN Headquarters on Tuesday, 16 September and the General Debate will open on Wednesday, 24 September. The debate’s opening was postponed from Tuesday, 23 September to accommodate the Climate Summit (resolution A/RES/57/301 and decision 68/512).
Sam Kutesa, UN General Assembly (UNGA) president-elect (Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda), has announced that the theme for the 69th UNGA session will be “Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda.” UN Member States will be invited to comment on the theme during the 69th General Debate (beginning on 24 September 2014). Kutesa will be replacing the current UNGA President John Ashe.
Civil Society Participation in UNGA 69:
Because of the presence of high-level ministers and dignitaries at the UNGA69, civil society participation is very difficult. Civil society can attend the high-level meeting of the GA, which this year is: 22-23 September: The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
Unfortunately, to attend the UN Climate Summit meetings is by invitation only, but many climate-related events will take place throughout the week of 22-28 September. Supposedly there will be a mass protest for climate change somewhere in NYC, which I hope to attend.
Please keep tuned for additional information regarding these upcoming events, how they impact persons with disabilities around the globe, and CBM’s involvement.
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.