COSP2016: Inclusion of persons with disabilities in the global development agenda

27 June 2016
Opening of COSP (meeting room and participants)

Every year, all countries in the world that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) meet at the Conference of State Parties (COSP) to discuss matters related to the implementation of the CRPD. The meeting also includes organisations of persons with disabilities, National human rights insitatuates and a range of other interested individuals and organisations. This year, the 9th Conference of State Parties focused on: ‘Implementing the 2030 development agenda for all persons with disabilities: Leaving no one behind’. The sub-themes were:

  • Eliminating poverty and inequality for all persons with disabilities
  • Promoting the rights of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities
  • Enhancing accessibility to information and technology and inclusive development
  • Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UN CRPD

Speaking during the COSP, EDF President and member of the European Economic and Social committee, Yannis Vardakastanis, emphasized that the Sustainable Development Agenda needs to be driven and guided by the CRPD: “The CRPD needs to be mainstream and we need a new partnership not only between the Member States and the Civil Society but also with society as a whole, because the Sustainable Development Agenda affects society as a whole”. With regard to this, he proposed to dedicate the next session of the Conference of State Parties next year to revitalize the partnership and the role of organisations of persons with disabilities in the COSP and the CRPD: “We need to examine the “Nothing about us without us” because we say it in the same way but we do not understand it the same way”.

EDF, together with a whole range of global, regional and national organisations of persons with disabilities, human rights organisations and non governmental organisations, foundations and UN agencies took part in the COSP which included a range of side events and meetings to promote progress on the CRPD.

On 14 June, EDF, the European Union and the Permanent Mission of France to the UN organised an event on ‘Accessibility: Putting the UN CRPD Article 9 into practice at the regional and national level’.

On 15 June, the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN in cooperation with the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, EDF, the Swedish Disability Federation and the European Union, organised an event on ‘Right to Participation: Accessible online meetings’. During the discussion, the need to increase accessibility of online participation in order to include and engage more people with disabilities from different parts of the world was underlined.

Later that day, an event on ‘ICT supporting Education for All’ was organised by the Permanent Mission of Austria to the UN in cooperation with Essl Foundation, the International Disability Alliance and G3ICT, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs. Speaking at the event, EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, in his capacity as a Board Member of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), emphasized that ICT was a tool to support inclusive education, but that “there are still barriers to quality inclusive education and inclusive education policies should be created to tackle these barriers”.

Also on the same day, there was an event on ‘Reporting obligations under the UN CRPD: Sharing best practices on follow-up to the recommendations of the CRPD Committee’ organised by the European Union and the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the UN in cooperation with EDF and the Permanent Missions of Qatar and Mexico. The event was very well attended and presented the approaches of governments and organisations of persons with disabilities on the CRPD Committee’s recommendations to the EU. The importance of involvement of persons with disabilities, through their representative organisations was highlighted; EDF director, Catherine Naughton, asked all governments to provide adequate support to organisations of persons with disabilities in order to participate fully in the process of follow-up to the CRPD Committee’s recommendations.

On 16 June, EDF participated in the event on ‘The promotion of supported decision making mechanisms: how to implement article 12 of the UN CRPD’ organised by the European Union in cooperation with the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities. EDF Executive Committee member, Klaus Lachwitz, spoke at this event. EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, was also a speaker at this event representing the European Economic and Social Committee, whose he is a member. The importance of Article 12 on legal capacity, as a fundamental article in the implementation of all rights in the CRPD was emphasised.


The COSP started with the election of 9 new members of the CRPD Committee. The newly elected members are: Mr Martin Babu Mwesigwa (Uganda), Mr Monthian Buntan (Thailand), Mr Laszlo Gabor Lovaszy (Hungary), Mr Ahmad Alsaif (Saudi Arabia), Mr Imed Eddine Chaker (Tunisia), Mr Jun Ishikawa (Japan), Mr Samuel Njuguna Kabue (Kenya), Mr Robert George Martin (New Zealand) and Mr Valery Nikitich Rukhledev (Russia).

For the first time, a person with intellectual disability, Mr Robert Martin from New Zealand, and a Deaf sign language user, Mr Valery Nikitich Rukhledev from Russia, were elected as members of the CRPD Committee.

The new members will start their four year term in January 2017. They will join the other 9 current members of the CRPD Committee whose term expires in December 2018: Ms Theresia Degener (Germany), Mr Danlami Basharu (Nigeria), Mr Carlos Parra Dussan (Colombia), Mr Jonas Ruskus (Lithuania), Mr Damjan Tatic (Serbia), Mr Hyung Shik Kim (Korea), Mr Stig Langvad (Denmark), Mr Coomaravel Pyaneandee (Mauritius) and Mr Liang Young (China).

EDF congratulates the new members, but regrets that no women were elected in the CRPD Committee. As of January 2017, there will be only 1 woman among the 18 members of the CRPD Committee making it the treaty body with the fewest number of women. In his speech during the COSP, EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, expressed the need to have better gender balance in the CRPD Committee.


Statement of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium

Statement of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL)

IDA's summary of the COSP

Check the discussion on the COSP and its side events on twitter: #COSP9


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