The workshop on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) report writing, in-line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) began with a welcome message from Abebaw Abebe, African Disability Forum (ADF) Program Manager, and Amba Salelkar, IDA’s Bridge CRPD-SDGs Officer, on behalf of the organizers. This was followed by an introduction of the participants, including representatives from the Federation of Ethiopian Associations of Persons with Disabilities (FENAPD), the Ethiopian Women with Disabilities Network (EWDNA), as well as organizations representing the Deaf, people with Deafblindness and persons with psychosocial disabilities.

Overview of the CRPD - Day 1

The first substantive session sought to leverage participants’ experience with a ‘marketplace exercise’ where they reflected on the situation of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia with regard to various rights. A debrief in plenary reflected on the linkages with the CRPD.

The session was followed by a ‘Game of Life’ where participants were given new ‘identities’ in which they had to contemplate the impact of barriers that their characters would face during their ‘lives’, and the impact of intersecting forms of discrimination related to their various identities.

Then, a substantive session on the CRPD took participants through an in-depth discussion on the purpose of the CRPD, its General Principles and State Obligations, discussing concepts like progressive and immediate realization as well as the duties to respect, protect and fulfil. At the end of the day the “mood” of participants was very high.

Overview of the SDGs and linkages with the CRPD - Day 2

The workshop began with a recap of the previous day led by participants. Then, a detailed introduction to the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals was made, with highlights on the difference in approach and purpose of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly with regard to the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Then, participants were requested to link CRPD Articles with specific Goals and to highlight priorities for advocacy under a list of specific SDGs targets.

The day was concluded with participants being taken through some of the opportunities for advocacy coming up in Ethiopia, including the renewal of the National Action Plan for Persons with disabilities (2012-2021), the under-process Disability Act, and the CRPD Committee review of Ethiopia, which took place in 2017 and for which the Government is due to submit a follow up State report. The purpose of this session was to highlight the spaces where commitments to the CRPD and Agenda 2030 needed to be raised by OPDs and where full and effective participation across impairment groups was crucial.

SDG reporting process - Day 3

The last day of the workshop proceeded with a recap on the second day where participants explained their key takeaways; and was centered around a practical exercise of developing a “taste” for the parallel reporting process. Participants were encouraged to escalate their knowledge concerning the existing policies and understand what the government has done regarding the targets they prioritized from the previous day’s session.

Participants were instructed to use online resources, Government reports and the support of Ethiopian resource persons to discuss their areas of focus, and to draw up brief status reports. Participants presented their ‘reports’ to their peers, with all of them having utilized provisions of the Constitution, different national laws, Government reports, data of UN agencies, secondary sources of data and OPD experiences to analyze the inclusion of the diversity of persons with disabilities in their research. In debrief, the participants shared the challenges in the collation of data in their context, especially regarding a lack of resources, the complexity of the information and capacities of OPDs.

The last session introduced participants to the High-level Political Forum process and the role of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities. Ethiopia is due to file its second Voluntary National Review in 2022.

The workshop ended on an extremely positive note with participants highly appreciative of their own learning outcomes and eager to engage in the SDGs parallel reporting process.

One participant, Gizachew Zegeye, from FENAPD, shared that he had never had an opportunity to engage with the Convention in this manner, with an emphasis on the principles, and by the end of this workshop he was confident enough to take the learnings to others in his network.

Another participant, Sintayew Siyum, of EWDNA, appreciated the methodology of the workshop and emphasis on peer learning that helped her learn substantially with regard to the situation of the SDGs implementation in Ethiopia, and she was excited to work in her region of Amhara to understand how the rights were being implemented at the country-regional level.