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What is the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2006. The CRPD is a legally-binding agreement between Member States who have signed the Convention to uphold, promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities as defined in the treaty. Read the CRPD.

Article 40 of the CRPD stipulates that States Parties (signatories to the Convention) shall meet regularly in a Conference of States Parties (COSP) to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the Convention. Since 2008, the COSP has been held annually at the UN headquarters in New York, covering a range of themes and issues in round-tables, interactive dialogues and side-events.

IDA Members are actively engaged in all aspects of the Conference and play an active coordination role in supporting broader civil society engagement through the Civil Society Coordination Mechanism. 

What is the Role of Civil Society in the Conference?
Throughout the negotiation process and adoption of the CRPD, persons with disabilities and their representative organizations have maintained the call of “Nothing About Us, Without Us”. This is articulated in Article 4.3 of the Convention, which states that: In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations”.

A Conference of States Parties to the CRPD must include the voices of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in order to meet the standard and commitments laid out in the CRPD.

Civil Society Coordination Mechanism
In 2016, through the leadership of the International Disability Alliance, civil society established a coordination mechanism to promote the active participation and meaningful engagement of all persons with disabilities in the Conference of States Parties through a unified voice.

The Civil Society Coordination Mechanism (CSCM) is a self-organizing, voluntary group of persons with disabilities, their representative organizations, non-governmental organizations and other relevant civil society stakeholders who share a commitment to ensuring the implementation of CRPD Article 4.3 in the COSP.

The CSCM is led by a Steering Committee (comprising up to 20 individuals). Read the Terms of Reference for the Civil Society Coordination Mechanism. The Steering Committee is responsible for: 

  1. Advocating for the meaningful inclusion of persons with disabilities in all stages of the Conference
  2. Selecting, through an open and transparent voting process, speakers/civil society representatives in the Conference
  3. Developing common messaging for speakers representing the Mechanism
  4. Organizing the Civil Society CRPD Forum

How to engage in the COSP
There are many ways to engage in the Conference of States Parties!  A Civil Society CRPD Forum is held annually, the Monday before the Conference of States Parties. This year, the Forum will be held on Monday 11 June, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm in Conference Room 4 of the UN Headquarters in New York. More on this coming soon! 

Please note: the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) CRPD Secretariat is responsible for civil society registration and side events.