Ukrainians with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine. So, the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations organised this side event  on the margins of the Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to bring attention to the situation of Ukrainians with disabilities.

Since the onset of renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine in February 2022, children and adults with disabilities have been facing compounded protection threats. These have directly increased risk of abandonment, violence, injury, and death – whether at home, in institutions, or in displacement.

This new report presents the findings of the 2nd IDA Global Survey led by OPDs on their participation in decision making processes of governments, the UN system and funding agencies.

At the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD, the elections for the CRPD Committee took place to elect 9 of the 18 members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the period 2023 to 2026.

This year’s COSP, the fifteenth, was unlike any other. Never before have we gathered after years apart during a pandemic. After so much time spent seeing each other only through screens, it was a pleasure to see and be with colleagues old and new. We were not all able to be there in person; travel restrictions, visa appointments, and budgets wouldn’t allow.

It was smaller, with a virtual Civil Society Forum. And it was innovative in some ways. It had a hybrid in-person and virtual roundtable. It offered an Easy-Read Programme, checked by persons with intellectual disabilities. (This is required step to ensure documents meet standards of accessibility.) For the first time, a youth representative from civil society spoke in the opening session.

But some things remained the same: organizations of persons with disabilities and civil society participated in the General Debate in droves, with a list that exhausted the available time, for us and for the States Parties.

And of course, there were the side events! Nearly 100 of them. IDA co-sponsored an important discussion highlighting the importance of the rights of persons with disabilities in armed conflict, entitled Four Months in War. We marked the end of the important work to build more inclusive employment through the Inclusive Futures project.

The main meeting’s roundtable topics were particularly geared toward the future: state-party-chosen experts, members of civil society, and UN experts discussed climate action; innovation and technology; and entrepreneurship. Each of these background papers was also produced in an easy-to-read format, and they are available on the COSP15 website.

We are looking to the future, too. Next year, we hope to join a COSP with even more of us in person, new ideas to share, and new victories to celebrate!