- July 11, 2016

Colin Allen at HLPF opening

Today was the first day of the 2016 High-level Political Forum (HLPF), the global platform for reviewing the progress on implementing the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Persons with disabilities were left out of the previous global development agenda - the Millennium Development Goals - and so were left behind by the last 15 years of progress in global development.

But today persons with disabilities are participating as key stakeholders in designing, implementing and reviewing the progress of the new set of Goals. The Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities will participate throughout the eight days of meetings, to ensure the framework for national implementation is participative and inclusive of persons with disabilities in every country of the world, so that this time we leave no one behind. 

The Official Opening Session of the High-level Political Forum included José Viera, of the World Blind Union, making one of the first interventions on behalf of civil society, calling for Member States to “let us participate - comprehensively, meaningfully and continuously - as equal contributors in realising this vision, of fully inclusive societies, leaving no one behind.” He also explained that "the most frequent barrier persons with disabilities and our representative organisations faced was a lack of opportunities to participate meaningfully in the processes for decision-making on implementation, follow-up and review.” He cautioned that "there is a real danger that without formal and sustained outreach and information sharing, civil society consultations will entrench and even exacerbate existing inequalities within civil society.”

Jose Viera at HLPF opening

Read the full speech here

The next session of the HLPF was a discussion on ‘Envisioning an inclusive world in 2030’ which included a speech from Ibrahim Abdullah, President of the Arab Organisation of Persons with Disabilities. He explained that "for us persons with disabilities the tool to do this already exists, it is the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (or ‘CRPD’) and other UN treaties and conventions that should be respected all along the making of strategies and programs related to the implementation of the SDGs. They must be utilized as a guiding framework to implement the SDGs. Only then will we be able to build a world by 2030 where exclusion and inequality are no longer created or perpetuated."

Ibrahim Abdullah speaking at the HLPF

File Click here to download the full speech

Both current IDA Chair Colin Allen, and former IDA Chair Diane Richler, took part in a side event discussion on ‘Inclusive and Equitable Education’. Colin Allen explored how “inclusive education is not simply placing students with disabilities in classrooms. It is about ensuring that the supports that are needed – for schools, teachers, students, parents – are effective and available. Access to education transforms lives and sets a lifelong expectation of inclusion. Moreover, inclusive schools foster and promote social inclusion of other marginalized groups.

Colin Allen presenting in inclusive education HLPF side event

Read IDA's position paper on inclusive education here

The third main session was to discuss ‘Lifting people out of poverty and addressing basic needs’. Anna MacQuarrie of Inclusion International made the following intervention:

"It is essential that the 2030 Agenda and the implementation of the SDGs are compliant with the CRPD. We need to ensure collaboration with mainstream partners and inclusive development to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind. How can we make governments and the public aware that the SDGs cannot be met unless persons with disabilities and other marginalized groups are prioritized?

The main sessions of the HLPF are broadcast live on the UN's WebTV with closed captioning, and will be made available again later

Follow us throughout the HLPF online here:

And by using #HLPF2016 #SDGs and #LeaveNoOneBehind