RI Global Working Commissions
With offices less than three city blocks from the entrance of the United Nations, Rehabilitation International has become an important presence there, especially with the fight for complete ratification of the CRPD in the past 10 years.
Within the structure of RI Global there exist seven Commissions of specialists and experts on issues in disability, which assist in developing and expanding programming and activities in accordance with RI Global’s strategic goals. These Commissions meet throughout the year to examine the most pressing topics for people with disabilities around the world and devise an agenda of action. The years 2015-2016 proved both engaging and demanding engrossing for the Commissions, as the Post-2015 agenda put new goals on the table and previous objectives, such as Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR) and Return to Work (RtW).
Commission on Work and Employment
RI Global’s Commission on Work and Employment promotes the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) to participate in labour, trade unions and other integrated settings, thereby empowering them to be productive members of society. The Commission carries out its mission by actively:
- Implementing Article 27 of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in collaboration with public and private entities, NGOs and trade unions.
- Developing an online Resource Network of Experts to advise on issues of disability employment.
- Conducting scientific meetings in collaboration with Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network (GLADNET), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations.
- Removing all employment barriers by providing education and training, as well as fostering employment for PwDs in developing countries.
- Providing technical assistance in developing academic and professional opportunities for rehabilitation and placement personnel in local colleges and universities.
- Offering technical assistance to member nations in collaborative research projects designed to identify evidence-based practices capable of enhancing employment outcomes and quality of life for PwDs.
- Sponsoring the International Abilympics, a competition in which disabled people compete in a wide spectrum of work skill activities, which lend support to policies advocating for employment.
Commission on Education
RI Global’s Commission on Education advises on the creation and promotion of educational opportunities for children and youth with disabilities. The Commission also facilitates the provision of integrated services and inclusive quality education for the participation of disabled people. The work broadly comprises:
- Fostering the implementation of the UN CRPD with a with special focus on Article 24: Education.
- Advocating the provision of facilities and services for inclusive education in different regions by Regional Chairpersons of Education Commission.
- Sharing the successful experiences of other countries in inclusive education with a view to replicate the same in respective countries/regions with appropriate modifications.
- Conducting scientific meetings on education related issues at Regional RI Global Assemblies.
- Initiating and following up on distance and e-learning facilities for youth with disabilities.
Commission on Technology and Accessibility
RI Global’s International Commission on Technology and Accessibility (ICTA) broadly focuses on the promotion of accessibly built and virtual environments, including assistive technology, as well as the creation of a forum that facilitates the exchange of ideas and good practices, notably in the areas of housing, public transportation, communications, technical aids and universal design. ICTA also works to sensitize decision makers in the public and private sectors regarding the obstacles faced by persons with disabilities and offer possible solutions through technologies. The members of the various ICTA sub-commissions constitute a voluntary network of experts in the area of technology and accessibility, notably specialists in the integration and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, developers of technological aides, human resources specialists, experts in the design of accessible environments and representatives of civil society.
Commission Health and Function
RI Global’s Commission on Health and Function promotes the well-being of persons with disabilities, supports the prevention of disability and strengthens gender sensitive rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities. The Commission, through its regular work and meetings around the world, has a mission to:
- Work closely on health issues with the WHO/UNICEF/UN agencies and international or national organizations.
- Provide technical support in health/rehab/assistive technology programmes for persons with disabilities.
- Enable training programmes for medical and paramedical professionals for the welfare of persons with disabilities.
- Encourage Community-based Rehabilitation principles through a primary health care approach.
- Hold technical meetings and general conferences on health related issues in disability.
- Advocate principles of barrier free/right-based inclusive societies for persons with disabilities.
- Promote global disability leadership.
Commission on Policy and Service
RI Global’s Commission on Policy and Service identifies new policies and programs in each of the world’s geographic regions and analyses the ways in which these developments align with the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Once per year, the Commission also organizes outreach at the National Rehabilitation Conference in Helsinki, one of the most important training and networking events for rehabilitation practitioners, decision and policy makers, leaders and administrators in the field of rehabilitation from across the European Union. When not in session, Commission members compare rehabilitation program development between different countries and examine those programs at the UN level. In 2014 the conference focused on rehabilitation among children and young adults and their transition to work, with papers presented on challenges for disabled young people; in 2015, plenary sessions concentrated on return to work practices in various European countries.
RI Global’s Social Commission advances knowledge- and evidence-based practice to support the psychosocial functioning of people with disabilities in order to achieve maximum richness in their participation in society as citizens. It also engages in the capacity building of groups and communities in various situations to promote and implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons of Disabilities (CRPD), as well as disability inclusiveness throughout all sectors of society. The Social Commission upholds the principles set forth by CRPD, and emphasizes that:
- Society should be designed to enable full participation by all citizens; if not it is the failure of society not people with disabilities.
- People with disabilities should be enabled to determine the goals of their rehabilitation and to exercise the same choice as others about their human relationships, the community and the environment in which they wish to live.
The Social Commission supports and promotes UN policy goals as proclaimed in various specialist UN systems, and high-level intergovernmental platforms, including: The Incheon Strategy of Asia and Pacific Region (2012); the World Health Organization (WHO) CBR Guidelines Guidelines (2010); the WHO and World Bank World Disability Report (2011); the Outcome document of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals; and the Way Forward, a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond (2013).
Commission on Leisure, Recreation and Physical Activity
RI Global’s Commission on Leisure, Recreation & Physical Activities promotes the right for an interactive lifestyle for people with disabilities in educational, physical, social and cultural activities. The primary aim of the commission is to develop and promote best rehabilitation practice and knowledge for all stakeholders to achieve accessibility for all people in the field of physical, social and cultural activities.
Generally, the Commission promotes the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities with a special emphasis on Article 30 by:
- Developing and disseminating best practice in the LRPA for persons living with disabilities and elderly people.
- Creating rehabilitation networks for all stakeholders with an interest in LRPA.
- Ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to sporting, recreational and tourism venues.
- Supporting people with disabilities finding the right activities to suit their potential.
- Encouraging the participation of persons with disabilities in mainstream sporting activities at all levels.
- Promoting an active lifestyle. The field of LRPA can provide an important contribution to health, participation and rehabilitation of people with disabilities.
- Promoting the benefits of sports in rehabilitation context.
- Developing cooperative relationships with international organizations.