ENABLE DAILY BULLETIN FROM THE CONFERENCE
Fifth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 12-14 September 2012, UN Headquarters, New York
14 September: Interactive Dialogue: Implementation of the Convention by the UN system and Closing Session
Morning session (only): 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ambassador Marten Grunditz (Sweden) chaired the panel composed of Ms. Cecilia Martínez de la Macorra, Director of UN-Habitat; Ms. Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA); Akiko Ito, Chief of the Secretariat of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (DSPD/DESA); Mr. Craig Mokhiber, Chief of Development, and Economic and Social Issues Branch, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and Mr. SelimJahan, Director of Poverty and Practice, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Ms. Bas outlined some of DESA’s efforts to include disability in the global development agenda at various international fora, including the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. She also referred to DESA’s role in linking the normative work of the UN with the operational activities at the country level through technical cooperation that strengthened national capacity to implement the CRPD. Finally, Ms. Bas highlighted the need for data and statistics on disability and development, especially for vulnerable groups such as women, indigenous persons and youth, as well as the importance of a disability-inclusive post-2015 agenda.
Ms. Ito spoke on the promotion of internationally comparable data and statistics for the monitoring and evaluation of disability-inclusive development. She noted that disability statistics are crucial for making persons with disabilities more visible, as they are essential for informing legislation, policies and programmes. Ms Ito informed the meeting that, of the 119 countries for which data is now available, 82 countries (70 per cent) collected information on disability, compared with 54 per cent from the ten years earlier. The Report of the Secretary-General entitled “Strengthening disability data and statistics, analysis, monitoring and evaluation” provides more details and contains a recommendation to initiate a periodic United Nations global report on disability and development.
Mr. Craig Mokhiber of OHCHR spoke of his organization’s work to promote the ratification and implementation of the CRPD through its country offices, as well as the production of knowledge products, training tools and materials. Hen noted that OHCHR serves as the Secretariat for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. OHCHR also works on training civil society organizations to monitor progress of the implementation of the CRPD. Mr. Mokhiber highlighted the establishment of the multi-donor, multi-partner trust fund UNPRPD), launched in 2011. Mr. Mokhiber presented several studies and reports produced by OHCHR including the High Commissioner’s thematic study on participation of persons with disabilities in political and public life and a report on violence against women and girls with disabilities. Mr. Mokhiber also discussed the UN’s work on improving standards for accessibility, acknowledging that despite progress, much work has yet to be done for the UN to become fully accessible.
Ms. Martinez (UN-HABITAT) highlighted the issue of disability in the context of cities and the importance of urban planning, noting the call of the CRPD for a supportive environment for persons with disabilities. She stressed the role of advocacy and participation to ensure accessible spaces in cities, also underlining that accessible cities are better cities for everyone. Ms. Martinez emphasized the use of public spaces and inclusive design, calling for collaboration and partnerships at the local, national and international levels. Ms. Martinez underscored the role of data and its use for policy, as well as opportunities for disabled and non-disabled children to learn from each other.
Mr. Selim Jahan (UNDP) highlighted the moral and development implications of focusing on the issues of persons with disabilities. He outlined UNDP’s work at the analytical, programmatic and country levels, facilitating dialogue, supporting the ratification of the Convention and exploring models for delivery of legal services. UNDP is currently developing an internal guidance note on applying the CRPD in UNDP programming. Mr Jahan provided information about the UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD), which is a partnership between six UN entities (ILO, OHCHR, UNDP, UNICEF, DESA, WHO). The UNPRPD Fund is aimed at developing capacities of Governments, as well as organizations of persons with disabilities to effectively implement the CRPD.
Ambassador Grunditz then took questions and comments from the delegations of Mexico, Thailand, Sweden, South Africa, Nigeria, Qatar, Egypt, Kenya, the World Health Organization, Civil Society, and the Global Alliance of Accessible Technologies and Environments. Qatar, Egypt and Kenya asked the panel to further elaborate on specific aspects of their programmes and methods to translate policies into concrete actions; Thailand and South Africa expressed concerns over the accessibility of ICT, and numerous delegations requested additional coordination between the UN and State parties to increase the accessibility of UN facilities and all events. Panel members responded to delegates and provided additional resources for information, specifically for UNDP (www.mptf.undp.org) and DESA (www.un.org/disabilities).
There podium was reset for the second panel, consisting of Mr. Ibrahim Salama of OHCHR; Professor Ronald McCallum, Chair of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Mr. Shuaib Chalklen, UN Special Rapporteur on Disability; Ms. Akiko Ito of SCRPD.
Mr. Chalklen highlighted his commitment to vulnerable groups, especially women and children with disabilities. He then read a statement submitted to him by Women Enabled that underlined the importance of having women with disabilities participate in all UN committees and meetings. Mr. Chalklen called for a transparent high-level meeting in 2013 inclusive of of persons with disabilities.
Professor McCallum congratulated those elected to the Committee and highlighted the prominent role of persons with disabilities on the Committee, noting that 17 of its 18 members have a disability. Professor McCallum clarified that the rights of disabled refugees are covered under the CRPD. He stated that he would appeal for additional meeting time for sessions of the Committee at the forthcoming meeting of the Third Committee of the General Assembly.
Mr. Salama highlighted the importance of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, stressing in particular the need to provide the Committee with adequate support, while taking note of the fact that the UN treaty body system has doubled in size since 2004.
During the Q&A session, questions and comments were received from Israel, the Philippines and Panama. Israel confirmed its ratification of the CRPD this week, while the Philippines highlighted the importance of funding towards disability initiatives and requested that they be a priority in national budgets. Panama requested additional time in future meetings to the general debate.
The general debate was resumed where delegates of Turkey, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Peru, Syria and Japan and the ICC took the floor, discussing, interalia, their efforts to implement the CRPD. Summaries were then provided by the Rapporteurs of the sessions of the Conference.
The Chair presented his concluding remarks stating that it was a true privilege for him to chair two sessions of the Conference of States Parties. He thanked the Bureau for their work and Secretariat for their support and facilitation of the Conference.
He called for the universal ratification of the Convention and its Optional Protocol stating that it the Convention was a comprehensive and state-of-the-art instrument. He sated that a common task for the international disability community was to promote a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond, noting that the Convention and Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) would occupy center stage, as it was the magic formula behind the successes scored so far by the global disability movement.
He then closed the fifth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
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Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SCRPD), Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), 2 UN Plaza, DC2-1306, New York, NY 10017, USA.Website: http://www.un.org/disabilities