Type

Report

Year

2016

Short Report on the HLPF 2016 and the Participation of Persons with Disabilities

“Inclusiveness means that all people can participate as partners, rights-holders and full citizens, not as subjects or mere beneficiaries. Relevant international instruments often exist, such as the Convention on the Rights of Peoples with Disabilities, but are not always respected.”

-HLPF Official Summary, H.E. Oh Joon, President of ECOSOC and HLPF

HLPF in Numbers

The HLPF 2016 was attended by 22 representatives of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities consisting of 12 persons with disabilities and 10 advocates.

An official position paper by the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities titled “Ensuring that no one was left behind” was submitted to the HLPF and endorsed by over 370 organizations.

Two representatives from the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities were invited to be official presenters at the HLPF.

Representatives of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities gave 17 interventions during the official sessions of the HLPF.

Out of the 22 Voluntary National Reviews, 17 submissions and 8 oral presentations of Member States explicitly elaborated on the situation of persons with disabilities in their national context.

The Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities co-organized and hosted six side events. Representatives from the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities presented at 10 HLPF side events.

Summary

The High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development is the United Nations central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities took full advantage of the rights granted to them by Member States[4] to participate and contribute in the HLPF 2016. Prior to the HLPF the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities submitted an official position paper on the annual theme “Ensuring that No One is Left Behind” supported by over 370 organizations globally. Persons with Disabilities were invited as official panelists at the opening, as well as the first session of the HLPF. Panelists were requested to address the vital role that persons with disabilities play as contributors in the implementation of the SDGs and to make recommendations to governments on how to ensure that all development processes are inclusive. In addition, the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities made 17 interventions during thematic discussions, the voluntary national reviews and the General Debate. Moreover, the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities co-organized and participated in several side events. In eight of these side events, persons with disabilities presented in a variety of topics such as, inclusive education, data disaggregation by disability, tackling inequalities, and ending violence against children. Further, the Stakeholders of Persons with Disabilities organized a side event during the ministerial week on how effective collaboration between organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and governments can be realized in implementing the SDGs. The Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities that represented the regions of Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, shared their particular achievements and challenges from the national and grassroots levels.

The rights and participation of persons with disabilities were prominently recognized by UN Members States, UN agencies and other actors. The Stakeholder Group of Persons with disabilities contributed to discussions throughout the HLPF in a meaningful way resulting in the heightened visibility of persons with disabilities within the SDG implementation process. Out of the 22 Voluntary National Reviews, 16 submissions and 8 oral presentations of Member States explicitly elaborated on the situation of persons with disabilities in their national context.

IDA and IDDC developed surveys on the participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in the voluntary national reviews for the HLPF 2016. The findings indicated that the lack of inclusive participation in the consultations of the national reviews was the most commonly raised issue. Many respondents asked for increased dialogue and engagement opportunities between Governments and DPOs with the prerequisite for full participation with non-discrimination compliance and provision of reasonable accommodations. Quite concerning was that in some cases, DPO engagement was substituted by government agencies. The lack of information at the national level was raised as an important issue and DPOs’ knowledge of the SDGs and the value in its engagement varied considerably. The role and active engagement of UN agencies at the national level was highlighted as critical in some countries, but also criticized as UN agencies are inconsistent in capacity. Language barriers, lack of access to information, and the lack of provision of the SDGs in a comprehensible way to the grassroots level are of real concern. Finally, many respondents asked for an exchange on good practices on how DPOs in other countries engage in the SDG implementation process.

While participation took place, on the whole persons with disabilities were largely left out of the national-level consultations. DPOs are looking for opportunities to work with governments, and many are being turned away. Public consultations often exclude persons with disabilities and their representative organizations. Even when wider civil society is invited to participate, meetings and documents are not accessible for many persons with disabilities, thus excluding them from democratic processes.

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IDA