- August 25, 2022

Technical paper by the International Disability Alliance

The bedrock of the disability rights movement has been the principle of ‘Nothing about us without us’. This has been reiterated in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), particularly Articles 4.3 and 33.3. In recent times, as the discourse on disability inclusion has moved from ‘why to include’ to ‘how to include’, there is growing attention to meaningful engagement of persons with disabilities and organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs). This is evident from General Comment 7 of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the recent Discussion Paper on OPD Participation developed for the 2022 Global Disability Summit. However, as the IDA Global Survey on OPD Participation reveals, while participation of persons with disabilities in development and humanitarian policies and programs have increased, it is still far from being meaningful.

There is therefore a disconnect between the understanding of what comprises meaningful engagement of persons with disabilities and how to translate it across the different stages of the project cycle. For the International Disability Alliance (IDA), meaningful OPD engagement seeks the highest levels of shared decision-making on all issues that concern persons with disabilities. To ensure such highest levels of shared decision-making and action in disability-inclusive development and humanitarian action, attention needs to be paid to participatory and inclusive processes. Inclusive programming thus covers processes aimed at ensuring meaningful engagement of OPDs across the programming cycle.

As a core partner of the Inclusive Futures consortium, IDA supported the consortium in implementing CRPD based inclusive programming as a central component of rights-based disability-inclusive practices. This paper is informed by this journey of OPDs progressively negotiating a more meaningful place at the decision-making table, and partners transforming their ways of working and the roles typically assigned to OPDs. It is complemented by learning and recommendations around meaningful OPD engagement that IDA and its allies engaged in during the past few years, in particular through the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) network and the 2022 Global Disability Summit.

This paper is addressed to development and humanitarian practitioners, international organizations, OPDs, and donors. It gives practical examples on how to operationalize CRPD based inclusive programming in the context of the project cycle.

In other news