- June 28, 2017


  • Highlight from the COSP week
  • Lead-up to the Conference: the Civil Society Coordination Mechanism
  • Civil Society CRPD Forum, 12 June 2017
  • Conference of States Parties to the CRPD, 13-15 June 2017

1. Highlights from the Week

For the first time since the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), persons with disabilities and their representative organizations were meaningfully consulted and actively engaged in the preparation and formal proceedings of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the CRPD. The International Disability Alliance played a key role during the first six months of 2017 to ensure the participation of civil society, and congratulates the COSP Bureau on a successful Conference! Read below to learn more about the International Disability Alliance and our members’ participation in the the 10th Conference of States Parties to the CRPD! 
  • Meaningful engagement of civil society as round table co-chairs in all thematic sessions, and as speakers in the opening and closing sessions of the Conference
  • A dynamic Civil Society CRPD Forum
  • Participation of IDA and its members in 30 side events throughout the week
  • Growing support from Member States for the Washington Group Short Set of Questions and mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities across the UN system
  • Successful engagement of the Civil Society Coordination Mechanism in advance of the Conference

2. Lead-up to the Conference: the Civil Society Coordination Mechanism

In 2016, an open, self-organizing civil society coordination mechanism (CSCM) was established as a way for organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and other civil society stakeholders to advocate with a unified voice for the full inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in all elements of the Conference. IDA provides the technical support for this mechanism and liaises with the Bureau throughout the year.

From January – June 2017, the CSCM worked with the COSP Bureau and the UN system to ensure greater substantive engagement of civil society in the COSP and meet the intent of the disability movement’s slogan, “Nothing about us, without us!”. The CSCM supported civil society engagement in the following ways:
  • Substantive input to the background documents of the Conference round tables
    • Round Table One: Addressing the impact of multiple discrimination on persons with disabilities and promoting their participation and multi-stakeholder partnerships for achieving the SDGs in line with the CRPD (background paper)
    • Round Table Two: Inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action (background paper)
    • Round Table Three: Promoting inclusive urban development and implementation of the New Urban Agenda –  Habitat III (background paper
  • Running open and transparent procedures to select civil society representatives for the opening and closing sessions, and co-chairs for each thematic round table (see below)
  • Organization of the Civil Society CRPD Forum (see below)
For more information on the coordination mechanism, please see the CSCM Terms of Reference.

3. Civil Society CRPD Forum, 12 June 2017

More than 200 persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, broader civil society actors, donors, governments and UN agencies participated in the Civil Society CRPD Forum 2017. In the morning session, the Forum provided a space for civil society to share and reflect on experiences and lessons-learned from the first ten years of the CRPD. The afternoon sessions placed emphasis on the second decade of the CRPD and next steps towards full implementation of the Convention.
The Forum was moderated by IDA Chair, Colin Allen. President of the Conference, H.E. Georgi Panayotov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United Nations, Theresia Degener, CRPD Committee Chair and Catalina Devandas, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, addressed the Forum during the opening session.

A set of key recommendations arising from the Forum were shared in the closing session, as well as during the official round tables of the COSP:

  • The CRPD Committee should consider a General Comment on Article 4.3, to provide guidelines on the full and meaningful participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities.
  • Further emphasis must be placed on the rights of women and girls to inclusive education, to employment and to accessible health care, including their right to sexual reproductive health and rights.
  • Partnerships and collaboration must be fostered between the disability and humanitarian communities, to support a shift in perception of persons with disabilities solely as beneficiaries of humanitarian relief, to a recognition of their leadership and rich contributions that are essential to the development of inclusive policies and programming. 
  • Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and CRPD will only be achieved if persons with disabilities and their representative organizations are actively consulted and engaged at the national, regional and global levels.
In case you missed it!:

4. Conference of States Parties to the CRPD, 13 – 15 June 2017

Civil Society Representatives
Mia Farrah, nominated by the Civil Society Coordination Mechanism to speak on behalf of civil society, made a powerful speech during the Opening Session of the Conference. Watch the Opening Session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD (Mia Farrah begins at 1:03:45). The full text of her speech can be found on the IDA website.
Side Events
During the course of the Conference, IDA and its members organized, participated as speakers in, or co-sponsored over 30 side-events! Themes covered diverse topics including: gender and regional balance of the CRPD Committee, sexual and reproductive health and rights; the impact of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination on women and girls, children and youth; implementation of the SDGs for persons with disabilities; the rights of migrants and refugees with disabilities, and persons with disabilities in conflict; legal capacity; and living independently and being included in the community. You can find the full list of side events on the IDA website;  Pictures are also available on the IDA Facebook page.
Joint Statement by Member States
During the interactive dialogue with the UN system, 25 Member States presented a joint statement in support of: the Washington Group Short Set of Questions; the mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities across the UN system (particularly in strategic plans and reporting/indicators frameworks); and the continued meaningful participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Conference, in line with this year’s practice. Read the statement by 25 Member States OR or watch it online
List of Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Finland, Iceland, Jamaica, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia.

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