- June 11, 2024

The 17th Conference of States Parties kicked off with the Civil Society Forum on Monday, June 11 at the UN Headquarters in New York. 

Hosted by the Civil Society Coordination Mechanism and the International Disability Alliance (IDA), this year's Forum adopted a People’s Assembly format, resembling a Town Hall meeting. It featured three sessions, each reflecting one of the key themes of the 17th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD. 

The Forum brought together 70 organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) from across the world, including self-advocates, persons with psychosocial disabilities, and other marginalized groups. Representatives presented their initiatives, projects, and concerns, sharing their experiences with implementing the CRPD. Civil society members highlighted examples of successful practices, ongoing challenges and the gaps that still need addressing in the CRPD's implementation. 

The first session, moderated by Mohammed Loutfy from G3ict, focused on taking stock of international cooperation to promote technology innovations and transfer for an inclusive future. During this discussion, speakers emphasized the persistent gaps in technology accessibility and need for inclusive design processes, especially for deaf and blind communities. Regional organizations discussed the slow progress in accessibility of technology innovations, particularly in Africa and Asia, stressing that societal barriers, rather than personal impairments, are the primary obstacles. 

The second session, led by Diane Bergeron of the World Blind Union, addressed the critical needs of persons with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies. and was divided into two parts. Speakers emphasized the importance of allocating resources for service providers and ensuring that humanitarian programs are inclusively designed from the beginning. There was a call for inclusive preparedness, and for humanitarian actors to incorporate disability inclusion in their standard operating procedures. 

The third session, moderated by Waqar Puri from Transforming Communities for Inclusion (TCI) Global, centered on promoting the rights of persons with disabilities to decent work and sustainable livelihoods. Linkages were also made between these rights and that of the right to legal capacity, disability inclusive social protection. What was also focused on is the need for a fundamental shift in mentality and narrative regarding the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workforce. 

Read the outcome document of the Forum here 

See more by