Success! Persons with disabilities are included in the EU's new external action budget 2021-2027

Success! Persons with disabilities are included in the EU's new external action budget 2021-2027

The European Disability Forum (EDF) welcomes the final adoption of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – ‘Global Europe’ where persons with disabilities have been fully included! With this funding instrument, the EU dedicates €79.5 billion in current prices to foster global recovery over the next seven years. It is a formidable outcome which will help us to advocate for financing for disability-inclusive development in the EU work around the globe.

In fact, the NDICI funding will be used for international partnerships on sustainable development, climate change, democracy, governance, human rights, peace and security in our neighbouring countries of the EU and beyond. Persons with disabilities, including the UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities are mentioned six times in the final document.

EDF led a two year campaign to ensure its budget will be inclusive of persons with disabilities in the work of the EU inside and outside Europe. Earlier this year, EDF and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) reminded the EU to ensure that women and men, girls and boys with disabilities will not left behind in the ‘Global Europe’ current programming of the budget. All funding towards policies, programmes and activities must be inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.

In the final NDICI, we welcome in particular the recognition that:

  • civil society organisations and local authorities, are duly consulted and have timely access to relevant information allowing them to be adequately involved and play a meaningful role in the design, implementation and associated monitoring processes of programmes” (Article 8- general principles, p. 71).

We recommend for these consultation processes to be organised in an accessible way and to allow for the participation of all persons with disabilities and their representative organisations (DPOs / OPDs). Persons with disabilities and DPOs should be involved at all stages of the NDICI programming, and at all levels (regional and country).

  • “the NDICI instrument shall apply a rights-based approach encompassing all human rights to support the right holders in claiming their rights, with a focus on poorer, marginalised and vulnerable people and groups, including persons with disabilities” (Article 8, p. 69).

We urge for the implementation of the NDICI to be guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as mentioned in the NDICI preamble (p. 9). Persons with disabilities should also be budgeted for in the geographic programming, as mentioned in the Annex II (p. 2 of the Annex II).

We ask for the CRPD and persons with disabilities to be mentioned in all documentation related to the NDICI including key programming documents such as the geographic (country and regional) and the thematic multi annual action plans (MAAPs), the multi-annual indicative programmes (MIPs) and subsequent action plans.

  • “to promote gender equality, women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment and non-discrimination on any grounds, through targeted and mainstreamed actions”.

We expect that this twin-tack approach will also be applied for disability-inclusion in development and international cooperation which consists of (a) mainstreaming the rights of persons with disabilities of all ages, and (b) initiatives targeting persons with disabilities.

The success of the NDICI does not stop there! EDF will continue advocating to:

  • Ensure that the ongoing Team Europe global response to COVID-19, as well as all future Team Europe initiatives, and joint programming, implementation and vaccination plans, leave no one behind and include persons with disabilities.
  • Ensure coherence between the NDICI programming (both geographic and thematic pillars) and the next European Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2030.
  • Use an intersectional analysis to support the design and implementation of programmes, ensure the systematic collection of data disaggregated by at least gender, age and disability, and invest in support to European Union Delegations and partner countries to disaggregate data.

Link to the full NDICI on the European Union’s website.


For more information, please contact An-Sofie Leenknecht, EDF Human Rights Coordinator

Photo credit: EU Commission