CRPD Anniversary Highlights SDGs’ Support for Disability Rights
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The UN marked the tenth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with events in New York, US, highlighting the need for further action to bring schooling, jobs and public facilities within reach of everyone.

The UNGA held a half-day, high-level panel meeting to review the impact of the CRPD’s first ten years and discuss ways to advance the rights of persons with disabilities and increase ratification.

3 December 2016: The UN marked the tenth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), highlighting the need for further action to bring schooling, jobs and public facilities within reach of everyone. The CRPD is one of the most quickly and widely ratified UN Conventions.

On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, events coordinated by UN-Enable took place from 2-3 December 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on the theme of ‘Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want.’ Musician Stevie Wonder, UN Messenger of Peace, addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA), reminding everyone of the contributions that persons with disabilities, such as himself, can bring to the world if given the opportunity, and he called for achieving “what is right and just for all.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Member States that persons with disabilities “continue to face grave disadvantages” at school, in public and in the workplace. He noted that in addition to the CRPD, several other international instruments and frameworks address disability, including: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the New Urban Agenda adopted in October 2016 at the HABITAT III conference in Quito, Ecuador; and the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which was featured at the UN Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2016. Ban called for turning these commitments into action.

The SDGs call for data to be disaggregated by disability where relevant, and include 11 indicators referring explicitly to disability.

A half-day, high-level panel meeting of the UNGA reviewed the impact of the CRPD’s first ten years and discussed ways to increase its ratification and advance the rights of persons with disabilities. UNGA President Peter Thomson convened the meeting with the aim of promoting the universalization of the Convention. Lenni Montiel, UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), drew attention to the 2030 Agenda’s “explicit accounting” on disabilities, noting that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for data to be disaggregated by disability where relevant, and include 11 indicators referring explicitly to disability. He highlighted that DESA has strengthened its disability statistics programme and created a Tool Kit on Disability that is designed to support countries to create, monitor and evaluate relevant policies and action plans in line with the CRPD.

Two events took place on ‘Accessible Cities,’ in which mayors from around the world showcased their progress in developing inclusive and accessible cities. DESA and the government of the state of São Paulo, Brazil, held an award ceremony to recognize good practices in the employment of persons with disabilities.

In a blog post marking the CRPD’s tenth anniversary, Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Development Programme (UNDP), anticipated that the CRPD’s second decade will be amplified by the framework of the SDGs. He noted that 15% of the world’s population live with a disability, and that in the developing world, women make up three-quarters of all persons with disabilities. He called for: ensuring that persons with disabilities are active participants in policy making at the global and national levels; data gathering and analysis to measure progress; and development programmes that will promote the rights of persons with disabilities and partner with disabled persons’ organizations.

The Convention was adopted on 13 December 2006, and currently has 169 Parties. [UNGA Meeting Summary] [UN Press Release] [International Day Webpage] [Remarks of UN Secretary-General] [Letter on High-Level Panel] [Lenni Montiel’s Remarks] [Magdy Martínez-Solimán’s Blog Post]

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