Last update! UN Conference of State Parties: EDF reports live from New York

12 July 2013

On 13-19 July 2013, disability clocks are beating on New York time. The Sixth Session of the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD (the so called COP) is taking place at the UN Headquarters gathering the attention of the disability movement worldwide. Over the Conference of State Parties, there are lots of important meetings and side events, on which EDF will report regularly from the UN.

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  • 13-15/07 IDA Board Meeting

The first board meeting of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) after its legal incorporation on 7 June 2013 took place in New York on 13-15 July, prior to the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. One of the main issues of the agenda of the meeting was the elections to the different Executive Officer positions of its Board. EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, got elected as Chair of IDA. The rest of the positions in IDA Board were covered by: First Vice-Chair, Maryanne Diamond (Immediate Past President, World Blind Union); Second Vice-Chair, Colin Allen (Chair, World Federation of the Deaf); Third Vice-Chair, Nawaf Kabbara (President, Arab Organization of Disabled People); Treasurer, Ruth Warick (President, International Federation of Hard of Hearing People); General Secretary, Moosa Salie (Co-Chair, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry).

During the meeting, the IDA Board discussed issues relating to disability statistics, indigenous persons with disabilities, Community-based rehabilitation, older persons and the World Bank safeguards review process, while thorough discussions were also held on the post-2015 agenda and the High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD), which represent the most important advocacy activities for IDA at this time.

More information is available on IDA’s website

  • 16/07 Civil Society Forum

The Civil Society CRPD Forum (CSF) took place on 16 July, the day prior to the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It was coordinated by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and its member organisations and was open to all other DPOs and NGOs committed to the implementation of the CRPD.

This year, the CSF focused on the post-2015 agenda and included four thematic sessions. The first session looked at the process so far and the second session on the next steps. The third session looked at some of the key demands of the disability movement and the last session looked at inclusive development. Eight national DPO representatives spoke during the lunch break session on their experiences from the national level. Each of the thematic sessions was co-chaired by one of the co-organising civil society organisations and by the ambassadors of New Zealand, Bulgaria, as well as representatives from the missions of Australia and Mexico.

The opening session included the IDA Chair and EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, and the ambassador of Kenya to the UN, H.E. Macharia Kamau, Chair of the Bureau of the Conference of States Parties and co-chair of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals, who stated his support to the demands of the disability movement.

“Persons with disabilities were absent from the Millennium Declaration, and remained absent throughout the MDG processes. This cannot happen again. Now is the time to recognize the shortcomings of the MDGs, and ensure a positive shift towards mainstreaming disabilities in the new global partnership, beginning in 2015” stated Yannis Vardakastanis during his speech at the opening of the CSF.

  • 17/07 Side event on the economic empowerment of persons with disabilities

The Permanent Mission of Austria and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) together with the Permanent Missions of Finland, Thailand and New Zealand, organised a side-event entitled: ‘Economic empowerment of persons with disabilities: where we are now and the way forward post-2015'.

EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, spoke at the side-event in his capacity as Chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

More information is available here

  • 17-19/07 Conference of State Parties to the CRPD

The 6th Conference of States Parties (COP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) began on 17 July at the UN headquarters. A full room and a good number of side events confirm the relevance of what has become the most relevant annual gathering at international level on disability rights.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Ensuring adequate standard of living: empowerment and participation of persons with disabilities within the framework of the CRPD.” Taking place between 17 – 19 July—and in advance of the September Special Event on Millennium Development Goals and High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development—panels, consultations and discussions are focused on the mainstreaming of disability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Speaking at the opening of the conference on behalf of civil society and DPOs in particular, IDA Chair and EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis, highlighted the importance of mainstreaming disability in future global development goals, noting that this issue currently represents the most important advocacy activity for the disability community worldwide.

“The implementation of the CRPD and inclusion of disability rights in the Post-2015 Development Agenda should create the necessary preconditions for States Parties to the Convention, the UN system, disabled people’s organizations, the wider civil society and all actors of society to join forces to make rights enshrined in the CRPD accessible and enforceable for all persons with disabilities worldwide,” stressed Yannis Vardakastanis.

More information on the opening sesssion of the conference is available on IDA’s website

Watch the conference live at the UN web tv


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