I will address two key factors that contribute to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society.
Working in partnerships is a key aspect toward inclusion.
Article 32 of the CRPD on international cooperation recognizes the importance of partnership between states parties and civil society, in particular organizations of persons with disabilities. It calls for States to ensure that international cooperation, including international development programs, are inclusive of and accessible to persons with Disabilities.
Additionally, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) transformed the traditional vision of partnerships and highlights the significant role of stakeholders, including persons with disabilities and their representative organizations. Building on the 2030 Agenda’s principle of leave no one behind, multi-stakeholder partnerships can ensure that different communities from all over the world have representation at the global level and consequently the challenges faced by all people are accounted for and met in the implementation of the SDGs.
Additionally, multi-stakeholder partnerships can provide a valuable space for dialogue among government officials, policymakers, UN entities, and other stakeholders showcasing the work of multi-stakeholder partnerships in supporting the achievement of the SDGs, by focusing efforts where the challenges are greatest, and ensuring the inclusion and participation of those who are furthest behind.
A key aspect of partnerships is ensuring that representative organizations of persons with disabilities have a leading role at the table in all phases of initiatives since persons with disabilities and their representative organizations are the experts on issues affecting them.
Using evidence-based advocacy can lead to inclusion and it is also key that data on the experiences with disabilities are collected and used to learn about barriers in society. Some recommendations to carry this out include the following:
- Involve persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in planning, implementation, and monitoring of the CRPD, SDGs;
- Invest in data for disability-inclusive development and to build capacity in stakeholders, including training for enumerators, and especially OPDs, to be better prepared to survey their communities, especially during future emergencies;
- Support communities to gather citizen-driven data to complement traditional data sources;
- Encourage official statistical bodies to collect and disaggregate data by disability using the Washington Group short set of questions and the Washington Group and UNICEF Child Functioning Module; and
- Bring together statisticians, policymakers, organizations of persons with disabilities, and other stakeholders to exchange information, learn from one another, and create evidence-based policies to create sustainable change.