Our board meeting: accessibility policies, inclusive humanitarian action, ending forced treatment and coercion

Our board meeting: accessibility policies, inclusive humanitarian action, ending forced treatment and coercion

The Board meeting of EDF took place on the 8 and 9 November in Helsinki, Finland. Representatives of the European Disability movement also had the opportunity to meet with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne on Friday, 7 November.

132 delegates from the disability movement across Europe gathered in Helsinki during the Finnish Presidency of the EU.

The board meeting was preceded by the “Seminar on accessibility of transport and built environment for persons with disabilities”. The seminar concluded with a resolution which highlights important next steps to effectively promote accessibility in Europe.

The board:

  1. Welcomed 2 new associate members, Sightsavers and AGILE, the national umbrella organisation’s of persons with disabilities in Switzerland. We have now 100 members, representing more than 3000 organisations in Europe.
  2. Was informed on the achievements of EDF in 2019, including the approval of the Accessibility Act and the European Elections campaign;
  3. Approved the workplan for 2020
  4. Was updated on our work of the EU institutions, including efforts to re-establish the European Parliament’s Disability Intergroup and our first contacts with the incoming European Commission. The board was reminded to contact their national MEPs and ask them to support the Intergroup. An official decision on the new Intergroups will be taken by the European Parliament by the 12 December.
  5. Agreed our strategy to campaign for a comprehensive Disability Rights Agenda 2020- 2030
  6. Was updated on our work to end forced and coercive treatment of persons with disabilities and our battle to stop the adoption of the draft protocol to the Oviedo Convention. Joljin Santegoeds, from ENUSP informed the board about very recent abuses committed against persons with psychosocial disabilities in Ukraine and announced that ENUSP will share a statement with EDF. Alternatives to forced treatment were presented and discussed, including positive developments in Finland (presented by Timo Kallioaho, ENUSP Board member) and Mental Health Europe’s report
  7. Was updated on our work towards the CRPD Committee, especially our advocacy towards the nomination of a candidate by the EU itself.

During the board meeting, we welcomed Ms Pilvi Taipale, Deputy Director, Humanitarian Policy and Funding of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and Ms Rea Konttinen, Programme Coordinator,  Abilis Foundation for a discussion on our engagement in humanitarian action. The discussion concluded with the agreement that we will engage in promoting in Europe of the new Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. We will also follow-up with ECHO about their new “Operational Guidance: The Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in EU-funded Humanitarian Aid Operations”.

The board meeting was only possible due to the support of the Finnish Disability Forum, the Finnish Presidency to the EU, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Ministry of the Environment of Finland, Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland.