- March 7, 2013

Geneva, 7 March 2013 - The side event, “Promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities: Where we are now and the way forward post-2015”, organized by Finland, Austria and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) with the support of Essl Foundation and World Future Council, was held today at the Palais de Nations in the Human Rights Council 22nd session.

The side event, whose purpose was to identify achievements, good practices and challenges as well as means of enhancing cooperation to implement the CRPD, and explore ways to enhance inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda, included the presence of the Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives to the U.N. H.E. Christian Strohal, Ambassador of Austria and H.E. Päivi Kairamo, Ambassador of Finland; Zero Project representatives Mr Michael Fembek, Programme Manager of Essl Foundation and Ms Ingrid Heindorf, Human Rights Officer of World Future Council; Mr Craig Mokhiber, Head of Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch, OHCHR, and Mr Yannis Vardakastanis, IDA´s Chair. The co-chairs underlined the timeliness of examining where we stand now, and that the post-2015 discussions needed to be sure to include and promote the rights of persons with disabilities.

Of the approximate 1 billion persons with disabilities in the world, 80 per cent live in developing countries and are overrepresented among those living in absolute poverty. While significant progress has been made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals so far, such progress has not well reached persons with disabilities, who have remained invisible in development programs and funds. The new framework to be established for the period post-MDGs beyond 2015 should play a key role in addressing the discrimination and exclusion faced by persons with disabilities in international development efforts, highlighted the participants in the event.

The representatives of the Zero Project presented their recent report on employment, highlighting some innovative practices. Craig Mokhiber stressed that the new framework should be firmly based in human rights and nondiscrimination. During his intervention, Mr Yannis Vardakastanis gave some recommendations to be considered and discussed during the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development, which will take place on 23 September 2013. “International cooperation should include persons with disabilities on two fronts: first, through projects specific to disability rights, and second, by ensuring that all projects financed by bilateral and multilateral agencies are inclusive of persons with disabilities” stressed IDA Chair, during the event “To that end, the post-MDG framework must include persons with disabilities in all relevant global partnerships, while at the same time having one or more disability-targeted partnerships”. A representative of ILO flagged the ILO recommendation 202 on the Social Protection Floor and how it already contained similar important elements that could be a good basis for an equality and nondiscrimination based post-2015 framework and could have a significant impact to reduce poverty and exclusion. Remote captioning was sponsored by Thailand.

Contact: Ellen Walker at ewalker [at]
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