Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum and ESAMEA was unanimously elected at the helm of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) on Thursday 16 December.
IDA is an umbrella organisation bringing together over 1,100 organisations of persons with disabilities and their families from eight global organisations and six regional organisations. It supports organizations of persons with disabilities to hold their governments accountable and advocate for change at local, national and international levels.
With member organizations around the world, IDA represents more than one billion persons with disabilities living across the globe. Among them are some of the largest and most marginalized groups in the world. With its unique composition, including leading international disability rights organisations, IDA is regarded by the UN as the most recognized organization representing persons with disabilities worldwide.
The cornerstone of IDA’s work is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). IDA promotes its effective implementation through coordinated action by representative organisations of persons with disabilities to ensure compliance at national, regional and international levels. The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals are also an integral part of IDA’s work to promote sustainable and inclusion development for persons with disabilities. It works with allies and partners to build the capacity of persons with disabilities and their organizations around the world to advocate for their collective rights and to participate in the design and implementation of the policies and practices needed to fulfill them.
Statement by Yannis Vardakastanis:
My participation in IDA representing the European Disability Forum since 2007 has been one of the most exciting periods of my public life. During this period, I served IDA as Vice President (2010-2012); in 2013 I was elected President and served in this position for one year. Since 2014 I have held the position of treasurer. My ambition as IDA President is to promote the full implementation of the UNCRPD in every corner of the world. More specifically, I would like to work to empower all member organizations and at the same time bring more unity with full respect for the diversity that member organizations bring. Our diversity is our strength.