Ana Lucía Arellano, Chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA), visited Brussels from the 31st of May to the 4th of June. The objective of her visit was to strengthen IDA’s cooperation with EDF and its members, and engage in various bilateral meetings.
On the 31st of May, Ms Arellano learnt more about EDF’s work during its executive committee meeting where internal matters were discussed. A very fruitful exchange took place during a lunch meeting with EDF Executive Committee and the EDF Secretariat. Ms Arellano later had a bilateral meeting with EDF president Yannis Vardakastanis.
Ms Arellano was invited as a speaker to the opening of the EDF’s Annual General Assembly meeting on the 1st of June, which included a conference on ‘Smart Travel-Partnership and technology making European travel more accessible’. Ms Arellano had the opportunity to meet and discuss with EDF members. Ms Arellano chaired the session on ‘International Cooperation’. She presented IDA’s work and learnt more about EDF’s new international cooperation strategy. In the afternoon, Ms Arellano attended our seminar on ‘The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)’, chaired by EDF Vice President and member of the CEDAW Committee, Ana Peláez.
On Monday 3rd of June, Ms Arellano participated briefly in EDF’s workshop on the role of DPOs in international cooperation, where different DPOs and organisation representatives shared their experience in the field and brainstormed on good and bad practices. Ms Arellano also met with representatives of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and its EU task group. Moreover, a lunch was shared with the EDF secretariat and an Indian delegation, comprised of 6 members, who take part in a project on the SDGs, between Sightsavers and EDF, and funded by the EU. IDA’s chair learnt more about the work of Sightsavers in advancing capacity building of DPO members, especially women members through projects and programmes, such as self-defence courses, employment schemes, and workshops on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Ms Arellano met with Camilla Hagstrom, acting head of unit of B3 (Employment, Social inclusion, Migration) in DG Development and Cooperation at the European Commission. They discussed the EU new budget for international cooperation (possibly 90 billion of Euros for 2021-2027), the EU in the GLAD network, the work of the EU delegations around the world and the disability marker in the EU programmes. A second bilateral meeting was held with Jean Pierre Bou, deputy head of Division for South America in the EEAS office. Ms Arellano, who is also the President of the Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons With Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS), raised the importance for EU projects to reach out to persons with disabilities.