II hosts side session on the Right to Decide at the UN Conference of States Parties

Inclusion International (II) held a side event on July 18 titled “The Right to Decide = Empowerment and Participation” The speakers included: Connie Laurin – Bowie, Inclusion International’s Executive Director; Nagase Osamu, Inclusion International’s Council Member, Japan; Vanessa Dos Santos, President, Down Syndrome International, South Africa; and, Klaus Lachwitz, President, Inclusion International.

The side session had good turn out with representation from nearly all regions. II used this opportunity to introduce II`s interpretation of Art. 12 CRPD (Equal Recognition before the Law) and our new global campaign on decision making (The Right to Decide )

II was also invited to present in two other side events as speakers. One of these events “Persons with Disabilities Role in developing Accessible Environments” organized by the Permanent Mission of Israel, where II President addressed the barriers faced by many persons with intellectual disabilities in receiving information in plain language and in having different forms of communication understood by others.  The other side event, Disabling Poverty/Enabling Citizenship: Income Security Reforms to advance Inclusion, organized by the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), focused on income support programmes.  II President highlighted how income support policies can have unintended consequences that result in increased economic vulnerability.

CONFERENCE OF STATES PARTIES

The UN Conference of States Parties (COP) is the annual UN event that brings together countries who have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to discuss issues and efforts related to CRPD implementation. This year it took place in New York City on July 17 – 19, 2013.

The COP is one of the few global meeting points where persons with disabilities and their representatives can meet government delegates at official and informal meetings.  The theme for the 2013 COP was “Expanding Social Protection and Reducing Poverty for Persons with Disabilities”.  During the three day conference the improvement of living standards and employment opportunities were discussed in several round tables with an interesting selection of speakers representing global and regional DPOs and the UN and its agencies.  While a significant amount of the formal COP is dedicated to reports delivered by States Parties, numerous side sessions are held that enable a more dynamic and engaging discussion.

CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM

In advance of the COP, a Civil Society Forum (CSF), led by IDA, was held on July 16, 2013.  The CSF is an IDA-led initiative founded in 2010, designed to provide a forum for civil society stakeholders (disability organizations, NGOs, partners) to come together to talk about our issues and efforts related to CRPD implementation.  This year, the CSF held four sessions co-sponsored by UN DESA, Australia, Bulgaria, Mexico and New Zealand and the main subject was the post 2015 agenda, which has become the single most relevant advocacy goal for the disability community worldwide.