Technical cooperation and capacity-building in monitoring disability rights

6 October 2016
Panel of 6 speakers at the event

Together with the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and a range of partners, EDF was part of a side event at the Social Forum on 5 October on the topic of ‘Technical cooperation and capacity-building in monitoring the rights of persons with disabilities’. The event looked at the importance of technical cooperation and capacity building to implement and monitor the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (CRPD) from different points of view.

Conclusions which can be drawn from this event include:

  • The CRPD provides an excellent basis for technical cooperation and capacity building which can be considered in a range of dimensions. There is a need to invest in building the skills and knowledge on the CRPD within UN agencies and their country teams, so they are better equipped to provide guidance to governments. The CRPD has resulted in more demand being placed on the UN System. It also requires the UN Agencies to adopt their own work to be fully inclusive and accessible.

  • The CRPD concluding observations for each country can act as a stimulus to technical cooperation; if the State Party is recommended to take a specific action they can seek technical cooperation from UN agencies, the Special Rapporteur for the rights of persons with disabilities, other States, organisations of persons with disabilities and other specialised development partners. National Human Rights Institutes may also be in a position to provide technical advice.

  • 10 years on from the adoption of the CRPD, there is a still a strong need to build capacity of all stakeholders. The public administration and organisations of persons with disabilities can and should benefit through long terms support to implement and monitor the CRPD and a source of this support can be technical cooperation.

  • The UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a very useful source of accessing technical cooperation but its scale and scope is limited and is only a ‘drop in the ocean’.

  • There is a need to address technical cooperation and capacity building from a regional perspective. This means looking at regional integration organisations and supporting them to integrate the CRPD in their frameworks and also building advocacy capacity of DPOs working at the regional level.

  • Technical cooperation can target government programmes and policies, but also the development of a systems approach to mainstreaming the CRPD within the administration of all involved stakeholders.

  • With the 2030 agenda providing entry points for disability inclusive development, it is important that there are not only separate initiatives to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and to enhance support services for persons with disabilities. These are both very important. However, mainstream development, including technical cooperation is equipped to promote the CRPD agenda in all key areas which the goals target.

  • Reports from the Special Rapporteur can be used as guidance for States and all actors to approach policy making in a CRPD compliant way.

Moderated by EDF director, Catherine Naughton, there were opening remarks by Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Representative of the Thailand to the UN in Geneva. The Thai government has been a long term supporter of the HRC resolution on technical cooperation, so their presence and support in this event was very much appreciated. The ambassador highlighted a whole range of progress being made in Thailand and how technical cooperation was useful in progressing the rights of persons with disabilities.

A range of experienced and knowledgeable speakers included:

Catalina Devandas, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities gave an overview of the current priorities and challenges. In particular, she highlighted the fact that UN agencies and country teams at national level were not yet resourced and knowledgeable enough to provide the technical support to governments to implement the CRPD.

Lidia Pretorius, Chief Director of the Department of Social Development of South Africa presented the experience in South Africa-19 years after the adoption is its first disability rights legislation. She also highlighted their good experience in using the UN Partnership on Rights of Persons with Disabilities grant to access technical support, including using the International Disability Alliance as an expert resource.

Nelly Caleb, Co-Chair of the Pacific Disability Forum spoke about the work they have been doing in building capacity of their members, with the support of the Australian government aid programme and IDA. She mentioned examples of organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) in small island states who were now being asked by government for support technical cooperation in implementation CRPD compliant public policies.

Javier Guemes, Fundacion ONCE, described the programme of cooperation his organisation has with DPOs across Latin America. He emphasised the long terms cooperation approach to address the capacity needs of public administrations and DPOs.

Bailey Grey, IDDC Board Member spoke about the role of civil society organisations in technical cooperation - she gave examples of the work of IDDC members directly supporting DPOs and service providers in low and middle income countries.

Malena Pineda Ángeles, Chief of program persons with disabilities, National Human Rights Institution of Peru , described the action of her office in Peru, the office of the Ombudsman, in their monitoring of the rights of persons with disabilities. She highlighted the challenges to their work in Peru because of the pervasive negative attitudes and negative stereotypes towards persons with disabilities.

Giampiero Griffo, from the Italian Disability Forum and the EDF Board highlighted the need for innovation to ensure that new and impactful actions can be designed to make the implementation of the CRPD a reality.

The event was co-organised by African Disability Forum (ADF), Pacific Disability Forum (PDF), Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS), Arab Organization of Persons with Disabilities (AOPD) and European Disability Forum (EDF), co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Thailand and Peru, with support from the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC).

To read more about this event, visit IDA's website

More information about the Social Forum is also available on IDA's website here

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