RI Global Newsletter, December 2017: IDPD 2017, Building Inclusive Societies

RI Global Newsletter, December 2017
Removing barriers to progress – IDPD 2017
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Daniela Bas shakes hands with members of the American Indian Community from South Dakota at the start of the special event on “Building Future Societies for All” on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

RI Global December 2017 Newsletter
Building Inclusive Societies: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities

UN must help build inclusive societies ‘for, by and with persons with disabilities’
For the 2030 Agenda to live up to its promise, persons with disabilities – as both beneficiaries and agents of change – and their representative organizations must work as a team to remove all physical and cultural barriers to progress, the UN said on its annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities. With the theme of “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all,” Secretary-General António Guterres said that disability was recognized as a cross-cutting issue in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “yet, persons with disabilities remain too often excluded from the design, planning and implementation of policies and programmes that have an impact on their lives.” To overcome this challenge, the UN chief said, “we must build on the agency (of PwDs), working together to design, develop and implement affordable and innovative solutions to realize equality for all.”

Echoing the call, Audrey Azoulay the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that persons with disabilities are on the frontlines of societal transformation, making them especially vulnerable to the impacts of humanitarian crises and environmental challenges. “This cannot go on. We must integrate persons with disabilities into all decision-making and policies,” she emphasized, explaining that UNESCO would continue its across-the-board action. “This is about equal rights and dignity – this is about the better future we seek to build for all,” Azoulay added.

Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all – moderated by RI Global’s Secretary-General, Venus Ilagan – featured discussion regarding fast tracking inclusive and sustainable development. Various other panels were offset with performances by Korean musicians and a living installation by the Heidi Latsky Dance company. On the 25th anniversary of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) and 11 years since the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – ratified by 175 countries – “we know persons with disabilities are uniquely placed to define the best solutions for them,” said Daniela Bas, the Director of DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development, which is responsible for the annual event. “Unless we incorporate, we will not go very far. To be counted, we need to count persons with disabilities.”

The activities at the International Day of Persons with Disabilities were many and varied, from panels to performances.
RI GLOBAL at UN/Around the World
IDPD World Bank/GPE report: Children with disabilities are being left behind
Gaps between children with and without disabilities have increased dramatically in developing countries, according to new research from the World Bank and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) released on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The study, Disability Gaps in Educational Attainment and Literacy, found that primary school completion for children with disabilities in 19 developing countries is just 48 percent, and as many as three in ten children with disabilities have never been in school. Only six in ten children with disabilities can read and write, and only a third complete secondary school. “More than gender or socio-economic status, disability has an outsize impact on a child’s opportunities to learn,” said Quentin Wodon, the World Bank lead economist and co-author of the study. To help address the problem, H&M Foundation and UNICEF have launched a new partnership to support children with disabilities.The initiative aims to scale up existing UNICEF early childhood development programs in Bulgaria, Peru and Uganda to make them more accessible and tailored to the needs of children with disabilities and their families.
Members of the landmine clearing team for JASMAR (the Arabic acronym for “Sudanese Association for Combatting Landmines) Human Security Organization and the people they benefit. 
RI GLOBAL Member Profile: 
Human Security Organization (JASMAR) of Sudan
Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War have been a big problem in Sudan since World War II. They can be found in 235 locations in the country and have been responsible for the deaths or maiming of over 2,000 people since 2002 – around a quarter of whom were children. Founded just a year before active clearing began, JASMAR (the Arabic acronym for “Sudanese Association for Combatting Landmines) Human Security Organization was founded in part to assist the global campaign against landmines – in 2013 JASMAR’s manual demining team cleared over 379,000 square meters of land with support from the United Nations Mine Action Services.

But JASMAR’s domain of activities also includes helping those disabled by landmines, controlling HIV/AIDS and advocating for the marginalized. “The principal problem for landmine victims is the social gap and so it is important to develop socio-economic projects for them,” said Dr. Hussein Obeid, JASMAR’s General Manager. Complicating mine action in Sudan is the underestimated number of victims due to the lack of accuracy in the collection of data. That keeps JASMAR on its toes, as well as the occasional call from the UN to assist in emergency relief programs, such as response to severe flooding in Khartoum or economic development for thousands of demobilized soldiers.

The Zero Project Conference in February celebrates people across the world with disabilities and the efforts they have made to better their lives. 
RI GLOBAL Mark Your Calendar
UNESCAP High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the 
56th Commission for Social Development: The priority theme for the 2018 policy cycle is Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all, with a special discussion on disability and development. United Nations, 29 January to 7 February 2018

9th World Urban Forum:  The theme for WUF9 Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda, and places the Forum’s focus on the New Urban Agenda as a tool and accelerator for achieving Agenda 2030. Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 7-13 February.

Zero Project Conference 2018: The conference will gather 500 decision makers and opinion leaders worldwide, highlight more than 50 Innovative Policies and Innovative Practices, and involve leading experts from all over the world in the discussion of the most relevant solutions for the implementation of the UN CRPD.Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria, 21-23 February. 

International Paralympic Winter Games: The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will be held for 10 days in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, the Republic of Korea – the first Olympics held in Koreas since the Seoul Paralympic Games in 1988. Pyeong Chang, Republic of Korea, 9-18 March. 

11th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD: Since 2008, the States Parties to the CRPD have met at the UN in order to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the present Convention. The 11th session will feature, among other agenda items, an election of nine members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY 12-14 June 2018.

RI GLOBAL News to Use

Turkish Airlines issues Braille boarding passes
Turkish Airlines has introduced boarding passes written in Braille for visibly disabled passengers – one of the first airlines to do so. While not universally available, special check-in counters at Istanbul Ataturk Airport have started providing the boarding passes free of charge. Turkish Airlines’ has already included audio-described movie options and barrier-free safety information on in-flight entertainment systems for passengers who are blind or have low vision, and more than 100 flight attendants and ground staff have been trained in sign language. Visually impaired staff at Turkish Airlines were involved in the research and development of the new passes.
 Tommy Hilfiger launches clothing line for people with disabilities
Using magnets and Velcro in lieu of seams and buttons, Tommy Hilfiger has recently launched a new line of clothes for a segment of people the fashion industry often ignores: persons with disabilities. Featuring 37 different styles for men and 34 for women in an array shirts, pants, jackets, sweaters and dresses, the second Hilfiger line for PwDs also use magnetic zips and adjustable hems to accommodate leg braces and orthotics, as well as pull-on loops inside waistbands and cuffs require only one hand for fastening. In a statement, Tommy Hilfiger, the founder and CEO, said the latest collection would empower persons with disabilities to express themselves through fashion. Last year, in conjunction with Runway of Dreams, Hilfiger developed a line of clothes for children with disabilities, pushing adaptive clothing more toward mainstream.

New book explores the history of disability
The history of disability cuts across racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, gender and class lines – and throughout millennia. But until now, few people knew about blind asylums in nineteenth-century Scotland, Ottoman developments for disability people or the early 20th century disabled people in Belgian Congo. With the new book The Routledge History of Disability, they do. In addition to examining the shifting attitudes towards persons with disabilities from the age of antiquity to the twenty-first century, the wide-ranging collection highlights the commonalities and differences between the experiences of disabled persons in a global historical context. Arranged in four parts, covering the history of disability, national disability policies, education and the ways in which persons with disabilities have been treated, 28 chapters also feature illustrations and overviews of how various countries, cultures and societies have addressed disability over time.
The 2017 recipients of the Viscardi Awards, which honor exemplary leaders in the disability community who make significant changes in the quality of life of people with disabilities.
RI GLOBAL Opportunities and Awards 
Open Call for Participation: 21st ASEF Summer University
The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is now looking for youth participants to take part in the ASEF Summer University (ASEFSU), a two-week experiential learning journey and “Interdisciplinary Innovathon” designed to foster cross-cultural exchanges and networks on the subject “Youth with Disabilities”. The project offers 51 mixed-ability students and young professionals from all ASEM countries the unique opportunity to deepen their knowledge on contemporary issues and propose concrete solutions on this challenging topic. Accommodation, meals and a travel subsidy will be provided to all participants. Melbourne (Australia) and Christchurch (New Zealand), 27 January to 10 February 2018, https://goo.gl/ufWAHS.

Mental health, return to work and rehabilitation: an European perspective
Organized by Rehabilitation International Europe and National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Belgium), this symposium will explore the return to work of people with mental disabilities and chronic disease in the EU, as well as UK and Scandinavian perspectives on mental health and work. Brussels, Belgium, 15 March 2018. Details to come!

CSW61 Handbook Cover Contest
Calling All Designers! The UN is gearing up for the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12-23 March 2018. Thousands of representatives from governments, NGOs and women’s organizations working to advance human rights for women and girls will attend. Have your artwork prominently featured on the program by incorporating the CSW62 theme: Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls. Submit to contest@ngocsw.org by 16 January 2018. Visit here for more information. 

Call for inputs: Accessibility Survey
The UN Inter-Departmental Task Force on Accessibility (IDTFA) is conducting a survey to collect information about barriers in terms of accessibility at the United Nations. If you have encountered – or if you have witnessed/heard others experience – any barriers to full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in activities at the UN Headquarters, you are asked to participate in the survey. The information gathered will assist in enhancing accessibilities of facilities and services at the UN Headquarters.

GAATES launches International Certification of Accessibility Consultants 
The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), recognized as an international leader in the field of accessibility, announces the launch of the International Certification of Accessibility Consultants – Built Environment (ICAC-BE) program, the first ever international-level certification program for built environment accessibility experts. The program accredits hose professionals who are actively developing universally designed, accessible, and inclusive built environments for everyone, including persons with disabilities and older persons. Please visit website the GAATES website or contact  certification@gaates.org.

The GAATES Country Representative Program
GAATES works to promote the implementation and monitoring of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the sustainable development of the built and virtual environments based on the principles of Universal Design. GAATES Country Representatives are volunteers whose roles include representing GAATES at local, national and international accessibility meetings, events and conferences; generating content for the GAN; identifying projects working in collaboration with GAATES; and providing mentoring and feedback in the accessibility field. Currently, GAATES is working to expand this program with calls open throughout South and Central America, in Thailand, in Japan, and in Europe.  For more information contact Federico Batista Poitier,federico.poitier@gaates.org

2017 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards Announced
The Viscardi Center — a non-profit organization providing a lifespan of services that educate, employ, and empower people with disabilities — announced nine recipients of the 2017 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards at a special ceremony held on 4 December in New York City. First bestowed in 2013, the awards honor exemplary leaders in the disability community who, through the example of their professional accomplishments and advocacy efforts, are reshaping societal perceptions and making significant changes in the quality of life of people with disabilities.
The 2017 Award Recipients:
Vashkar Bhattacharjee, Access to Information (a2i) Program, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister’s Office
Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Ministry of Social Development, South Africa
Justin Constantine, The Constantine Group, New York, NY
Col. Gregory D. Gadson, U.S Army Veteran/Patriot Strategies, Alexandria, VA
Matt King, Facebook, Menlo Park, CA
Dr. Satendra Singh, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India
Yuval Wagner, Access Israel, Israel
Thomas J. Wlodkowski, Comcast, Philadelphia, PA
Asim Zafar, Saaya Association/Community Based Inclusive Development Network, Pakistan

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