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Reisverslag Civil Society Forum at COSP
16 juli 2013
Civil Society Forum at COSP
The big Conference of State Parties will start tomorrow. Then there will be a lot of government officials. Today the room was filled with representatives of civil society organizations (CSO’s), non governmental organizations (NGO’s) and disabled peoples organizations (DPO’s).
I wasn’t sure at what time the CSF would start, so I decided to be at the UN building at 9 AM. The CSF appeared to start at 10, and after the registration queue I still had time to get myself a coffee. At the UN cafeteria I met Jagannath Lamichhane (WNUSP-board member from Nepal) and a little bit later we found Moosa Salie (WNUSP co-chair) and Branka Meic too.
During the morning sessions we mainly listened.
In the opening some key challenges were addressed, such as:
- the issue of poverty and the relation to participation of the Global South in consultation processes,
- the need for sustainable development, which is a key goal of the UN
- and the need to include the rights of persons with disabilities on all levels and themes
The first session was about the main conclusions from the post-2015 process so far: have we been successful?
The session was co-chaired by Jim McLay of the Permanent Representative of the Mission of New Zealand. Jim McLay spoke about using ‘the vehicle of an informal network of friends’ , which in this context is comprising an initiative with several states and delegates, UNDESA and DPO’s.
An interesting sidenote here: gathering a network of friends to offer support is the spirit of Family Group Conferencing, which originally comes from New Zealand, and tomorrow I will give a presentation on using Family Group Conferencing (FGC) as an alternative to forced interventions in mental health care – It is really interesting to notice this ‘evidence’ of the often heard rumour that FGC is embedded in the system in New Zealand, so I liked this point)
The first speaker: Setareki S. Macanawai, CEO of the Pacific Disability Forum, spoke about development in the Pacific region, with many small-sized islands and little resources. For example professional sign language interpreters are often not available. Maybe DPO’s can help with their expertise on sign language for example. How to ensure that all the needs for inclusion are met, and to make sure no one gets left behind again? Smart and innovative ways are needed to move forward.
Risna Utami spoke about the Indonesian situation of engaging with the disability movement and the lessons learned. Already over 100 countries ratified the UN CRPD, and the question is now: how to change the policies and the programmes to ensure inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities? It is important to emphasize the universality of inclusiveness as a principle, and to connect with civil society organizations to bridge the gap on knowledge, and to implement human rights into the development agenda, since the UN Millennium Development Goals did not include issues like equality, freedom or violence. These issues should be addressed in the post-2015 agenda.
Then Amina Mohammed, the Special Advisor of the Secretary General on post-2015 planning, presented the status and way forward on the post-2015 development agenda planning. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were like a ‘prescription’, and the substance wasn’t easily understood. For example the right to education is not automatically: the right to inclusive education. The next development agenda should envision a sustainable and social transformation. There is no sustainability without inclusion. In the post-2015 development, youth is a key theme, because that is the future.
During the Questions a striking remark was made by a Colombian representative of DPI: “How to make these actions real? These are all nice words in paper plans, but how to ensure that the lives of persons with disabilities will really change?”
As a response it was said that the CRPD and the MDG’s are closely related as a set of rights and a toolbox. To ensure a correct post-2015 approach, DPO’s should identify priority issues. The governments have a task to consult with DPO’s. It’s recommended to be proactive and create an own action plan and to push for that. The UN stresses that the voices of persons with disabilities can no longer be excluded, We need to be heard.
The second session was titled: What do we know about next steps in the negotiation process and how can we influence these?
Chantal Line Carpentier, Sustainable Development officer at UN DESA secretariat supporting Major Groups, spoke about the open working group on sustainable development. The working group consults stakeholders on thematic areas and what sustainable development goals should look like. It is an open working group, so persons can offer their expertise and the group will select expertise. Find more information at www.sustainabledevelopment.un.org
Then Jeffrey Huffines explained on consultation processes in the High Level Political Forum, which comprises many groups which aim to create the necessary political will to establish inclusion and participation. The High Level Political Forum has a role in stimulating the implementation processes.
Richard Morgan, senior advisor to the executive director of UNICEF, stressed that the focus of development needs to be on people, and with a foundation in human rights. Development is about people, not economy. Economists should use their skills to enable the services that are needed. There is a clear ask for DPO’s to identify goals, targets, indicators, expressions, statement of principles, in order to establish the development agenda with an explicit inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Then Corinne Woods, director of the UN Millennium Campaign spoke about consultation and participation, and the challenge to reach out to the poorest of the poor. These important voices cannot be lost. The online consultation called “My World - Survey” has reached only about 70.000 respondents, which is disappointing. The participation of the Global South is a challenge. In the next phase the Working Group will make a briefing paper with the key issues. It is important that the existing details are not lost in the more general, broader approach. So for DPO’s it is important to say what we want and to keep pressure to the issues.
At the Question session Jeremiah Bach of Mad Pride Toronto (who was sitting next to me) made a very nice contribution by asking: How can you “include the voice of persons with disabilities” when there are so many voices. This is about diversity, not about single individual voices. It is important not to hurry consultation and to first identify: what are our issues on a local, national and regional level, and then decide what needs to be done globally.
In response was said that: diversity of voices is key. What is needed is clarity on the substance of these diverse voices (maybe a wiki survey or google docs can be useful to identify the substance of diversity on a certain topic – because people can react to each others positions). However, there is a deadline on the post-2015 agenda, and it needs to go on. In the CRPD some things were left unclear or unsaid, which can be moved forward by the post-2015 agenda. It is important to understand that consultation should be a permanent process, as a principle for human rights, which needs to be built in. Maybe consultation should better be called (ongoing) conversation.
Once again: Economists need to find the resources. The resources exist, but they just aren’t in the right places.
Then it was lunch time. I was glad to escape the very cold air conditioning in the conference room. It was still melting hot outside and most people were underdressed for the temperature in the room. It was quite an extreme difference.
Even during lunch break there was a session, but since we could not bring food or drinks into the room, we could only join the last bit of that session.
Then at 15.00 the 3rd official session started. It was called: Refreshing our key demands for the post-2015 agenda.
First Olga Montufar Contreras spoke about the rights of indigenous people with disabilities, and that this should be included in all areas of policy as well. This led to some debate on whether every intersectional group should be mentioned separately at all aspects – that wouldn’t be doable…
Then Daniel Mont, independent expert, shared information on disability-disaggregated data and disability sensitive targets and indicators for monitoring progress and development. His presentation was rather statistic-research-oriented (not really about people) and he explained various approaches (environment based or impairment based) which will lead to various outcomes. The key question is: What needs to be monitored – which indicators? If the goal is to measure environmental barriers, it should be about environmental factors – but without a specification on the type of disability, this may not be concretely useful information (the outcome may be: yes there are still barriers – but then the question remains: who are facing these barriers, is it people in wheelchairs or people with intellectual diabilities). So when designing a monitoring tool, the main goals and scope of what gets measured must be absolutely clear, in order to establish the right set of indicators, which can form a suitable monitoring tool. This might mean that an impairment based approach is the most useful tool.
(maybe needless to say that this caused discussion)
The next speaker was Jagannath Lamichhane, WNUSP Board Member from Nepal. Jagannath brought up the definition of sustainability:“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." For persons with psychosocial disabilities, basically, the current systems all over the world do not even meet our needs, and the development for future generations does not exist either. Millions of children and adults are chained and detained for having a psychosocial disability. The social stigma creates exclusion, and if this is not addressed, it will not stop. The development agenda should not exclude us again. Themes like justice and human rights should be incorporated. Development should be sustainable for all, and there should be no label to justify exclusion. This is not a demand. These are our rights.
I can say his presentation was one of the most moving contributions I have heard today. And he was the only one who made a concrete, practical link between the sustainability agenda and the development of human rights of persons with disabilities.
Then Facundo Chavez, disability focal point in OHCHR, repeated the need to re-think on development indicators. It is needed to show commitment to the CRPD and to promote the development agenda (CRPD art 32). Facundo suggested that an anti-discrimination/ equality approach might be a good indicator. Development is not about binary codes of 1 and 0 (yes or no). It is about individual needs and environmental barriers. The human rights approach, and the disability approach strike at both sides.
Facundo also mentioned that we do not have all the answers yet on how to implement all aspects of the CRPD, and we have to keep on trying to figure it out.
Anne Hawker, co-chair of the session, and immediate past president of RI, stressed once more: We are not “the disabled community”, we are people first. And all people need to be included.
Peter Versegi, the other co-chair of the session, and Minister Counsellor of the Mission of Australia, repeated that people with psychosocial disabilities should not be excluded again by ignoring the aspects that are raised. The challenge is to keep the human rights flavour: how to include persons in a broad agenda without losing specificity. So we are asked to think about: What sustainable development would look like ideally, what goals and indicators are relevant? There are about 8 months lefts, until February roughly, to provide input to the post-2015 agenda.
After a short break, the 4th session started at 16.30. This was also the last session of the day. The theme was: How to ensure disability-inclusive post-2015 development.
First Mohammed Ali Loutfy, World Bank Disability Safeguards Campaign coordinator, emphasized the need to do no harm with the next development agenda. And harm would be: to exclude people.
Then Dagnachew B. Wakene of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities spoke about the African situation, where there is a huge gap in the form of lack of knowledge and awareness on the grassroot level, about the work of the UN, including the post-2015 agenda. This is a wake up call! In African communities there is no real notion of equality and participation. The web consultations do not reach these communities. There is a huge gap. There are hardly any provisions for inclusion. The African Decade of Persons with Disabilities is now working on minimum standard rules of accessibility, including reasonable accommodation and universal inclusive design.
Debra Jones, Save the Children spoke about “rights on paper versus rights in reality”. Children should be included at all themes at all levels. Children with disabilities are facing many barriers, but the MDG’s did not address children with disabilities. It is important to leave no one behind.
Then Ingar During, Social protection Section of Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH Germany, spoke about the various levels of German practices of Inclusion of persons with disabilities, which is comprising national development, development in partner countries and global development. They are trying to come up with unified language in sample documents to emphasize the coherence between the various UN treaties. Traditionally persons with disabilities were never consulted, but they should be consulted in all phases of design, planning, implementation and monitoring. And it should not be like: “I managed to come” but there should be serious efforts for inclusion.
After a long exhausting day it was time for the closing session of the day. Initially it seemed like a rather common word of thanks by the 3 representatives of the organizing organizations, but then something weird happened. Collin Allen, the second vice chair of IDA was speaking in sign language, but for 2/3 of the time the video showed the translator on the big screen!! This was a very terrible mistake by the technical team, and they only recovered it after Facundo Chavez had mentioned it to the video man. I think everybody was shocked by this unforeseen exclusion. The technical team excluded this man while he was on stage, only because he was speaking in sign language. It was absolutely terrible. I hope the technical staff deeply apologized to mr. Collin Allen for this shocking turn in the event.
But nevertheless, it was a good event, which has provided a lot of information to consider.
Afterwards I went to my hotel. My appetite isn’t very well with this heat, but I need to eat, so it took me a while before I could find something tasty. And I had many nice conversations on the streets. But now it’s about 4 in the night. It’s very late, which is not what I had planned. Tomorrow is my presentation, so I will finish here, and get some rest. I need to be fresh tomorrow.
17 juli 2013 23:24 | Door: je moeder
Een interessante dag! veel succes morgen/vandaag.