RI Global Newsletter, January 2019

The 57th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CScocD57) takes place in February

The fifty-seventh session of the Commission for Social Development (CScoD 57) will take place from 11 to 21 February at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Commission is the advisory body responsible for the social development pillar of global development. It will hold high- level panel discussions on the priority theme “Addressing inequalities and challenges to social inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection policies”, on emerging issues “ The empowerment of people affected by natural and human-made disasters to reduce inequality: Addressing the differential impact on persons with disabilities, older persons with youth”, a ministerial forum on social protection and an interactive dialogue with the UN system.

One of the highlights of the CSocD57 is the high-level panel discussion on emerging issues “The empowerment of people affected by natural and human-made disasters to reduce inequality: Addressing the differential impact on persons with disabilities, older persons with youth”. It echoes the theme of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and acknowledges that the experience and lessons drawn from empowerment of persons with disabilities, older persons with youth could provide concrete examples to illustrate the differential impact of natural and human-made disasters on all socially vulnerable groups, and the need to address their specific needs, with the view to promote their inclusion, equality and empowerment, and examine the role of social policy to maximize opportunities in the endeavor of achieving the 2030 Agenda for all. The outcome of the panel discussion will be a unique contribution to the 2019 HLPF and the ECOSOC high-level segment. More specifically, the panel aims to 1) identify opportunities and key challenges facing Member States in empowering persons with disabilities, older persons and youth, who are often disproportionately affected and impacted in natural and human-made disasters; 2) exchange information, expertise and good practices at the national, regional and international levels, showcasing successful experience and promising solutions that help support development policy and practices to address the impact and concerns of affected social groups; and 3) explore how the Commission could continue and enhance its important role in empowering people, promoting inclusive disaster and humanitarian actions, and contributing to the building of more resilient societies and sustainable development for all.

The relevant UN plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups will also be reviewed, including Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. A report of the Secretary-General titled “Accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by, for and with persons with disabilities” (E/CN.5/2019/4) were released. The report reviews the international normative framework relating to the mainstreaming of disability in development, progress made by Member States, the UN system and civil society in promoting the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities and mainstreaming disability in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and other global development frameworks. The report also provides an overview of approaches to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda by, for and with persons with disabilities. More specifically, it calls for mainstreaming disability as an integral part of efforts to achieve the SDGs, promoting accessibility as an essential condition for inclusive and sustainable development for all, reducing disability data gaps, strengthening the global frameworks and mechanisms relating to disability, and linking global and regional actions. A number of recommendations were made in the report, including encouraging international development institutions and other stakeholders to proactively promote accessibility and increase relevant investment, applying “universal design”, for achieving sustainable urban and rural development for all; and to further promote international cooperation for advancing disability-inclusive development to further the sharing of information, experience, knowledge and best practices and to unlock greater resources in achieving the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities.

To learn more about the full programme of the CSocD57, please visit: https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/united-nations-commission-for-social-development-csocd-social-policy-and-development-division/csocd57.html

RI participates in Expert-level Meeting of UN Steering Committee on Accessibility

Rehabilitation International was invited as one of the civil society representatives in the Expert-level Meeting held on January 17, 2019, to discuss progress and way forward in the ongoing initiative of the United Nations to make UN premises inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. The Steering Committee on Accessibility (SCA) is co-chaired by the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Korea and Antigua and Barbuda, and joined by representatives of the Missions of Ecuador, Mexico, Hungary, China, New Zealand and the Republic of the Philippines. The creation of the SCA is a priority initiative of the current President of the General Assembly, Madam Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces of Ecuador, who assumed the post in September 2018.

A thorough UN system-wide review that was conducted recently resulted in 590 recommendations, including modifications required to make the UNHQ truly inclusive and accessible. Part of the tasks that the SCA intends to do is to come up with an estimate on what is needed, in terms of resource allocation, to make UN premises accessible following standards, guidelines and policies as they relate to persons with disabilities and in order to be compliant to the requirements of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities.

Representatives of RI and International Disability Alliance have noted that the accessibility must not only be ensured at the UNHQ, it is equally important to undertake similar efforts at regional and national levels. The civil society representatives also stressed the need for countries to muster enough political will to deliver and make good the promise to be inclusive of persons with disabilities.

RI Global: Around the World

IFHOHYP AGM 2018 was held in Istanbul, Turkey

The International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People (IFHOHYP) AGM was held by their member IED (Association of Hard of Hearing People and Their Families) in Istanbul, Turkey from October 31 to November 4, 2018. The Meeting was attended by 31 hard of hearing young participants from 14 countries. It aimed to provide a forum for young hard of hearing (HoH) individuals to understand and share the issues of HoH rights and accessibility in their countries, and to promote their rights under the framework of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). To learn more about the AGM 2018, please visit: http://ifhohyp.org/blog/agm-2018-istanbul/

Young hard of hearing participants at the AGM workshops

HKIA-managed Website Awarded Gold Award in Web Accessibility Recognition Scheme 18/19

The website of the International Union of Architects (UIA)- Regional IV Work Programme on “Architecture for All” has been awarded Gold Award in the Web Accessibility Recognition Scheme (WARS) 18/19. Director of UIA Regional IV Work Programme, Vice-President of RI for Asia Pacific attended the Award Presentation Ceremony on 16 January 2019.

Since 2001, Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) has hosted the UIA Regional IV Work Programme on “Architecture for All” (AfA) , to promote the concept of AfA in architectural and urban design to professionals, students, policy makers and communities, to ensure that AfA is understood as an essential component of architectural quality, and to contribute to the inclusion and quality of life of all those impacted by an inaccessible built environment. To learn more about “Architecture for All”, please visit: http://uiawpafa.hkia.net

Mr. Joseph Kwan, Vice-President of RI for Asia Pacific awarded Australia China Alumni of the Year Award

The Australia China alumni Association and TOEFL – 2018 Australia China Alumni Awards Presentation Dinner was held in the Westin Beijing Chaoyang Hotel on 24th November, 2018. Over 200 guests attended to celebrate these Awards, including outstanding alumni, senior Australian government officials and university representatives, and representatives from the Australia-China corporate community. Mr. Joseph Kwan, Vice-President of RI for Asia Pacific was Awarded Australia China Alumni of the Year at the event for his outstanding contribution in promoting barrier-free design in architecture in Australia, the UK, France and Hong Kong.

From left: Professor Cunrui Huang, Mr Boo Boon Khoo, Ms Molly Li, Ms Wei Du, Ms Clara Wang, Mr Joseph Kwan, Mr Dan Tebbutt, Mr Rhett Miller, Mr Ian Tang, Mr Gary Li, Mr Tony Ip and Ms Meaghan Shaw

RI Global: News to Use

World leaders adopt first-ever Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in Marrakech

The International Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration concluded on 11 December, 2018 following the adoption of the Global Compact. “The Global Compact expresses our collective commitment to improving cooperation on international migration,” world leaders declared, acknowledging that migration affects countries, communities, migrants and their families in different and sometimes unpredictable ways. As migration experiences and challenges vary across the world, the Global Compact is a flexible instrument that can meet the needs of every country and stimulate joint cooperation at all levels. Noticeably, the Global Compact has made specific reference to the situation of persons with disabilities, and call for actions to establish comprehensive policies and develop partnerships that provide migrants with disabilities, and to develop innovative technological solutions for remittance transfer to underserved populations including persons with disabilities. To learn more about the Global Compact at: http://www.un.org/en/conf/migration/index.shtml

Is Africa ready for a paradigm shift from CBR to CBID

The Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Africa Network (CAN) recently released an editorial article exploring the transition from Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) to Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) in Africa.

According to the WHO, CBR has been adopted widely in the world in an effort to enhance the quality of life for persons with disabilities and their families, meet their basic needs and ensure their inclusion and participation since 1978. The strategy aims to increase access to rehabilitation services in resource-constrained settings later mutated into a multi-sectoral approach working to improve the equalization of opportunities and social inclusion of persons with disabilities while combating the perpetual cycle of poverty and disability. Community-Based Inclusive Development (CBID), on the other hand, brings about change in the lives of persons with disabilities at community level, working with and through local groups and institutions. It recognizes that building strong communities requires a focus on equal access to quality social services and civic participation that supports persons with disabilities, their families and organizations to fully participate in social, economic and political life of their communities.

Integrated Community-Based Rehabilitation Program in Eritrea

As CBR continues to evolve, a number of calls from African experts and development stakeholders are being made for the transition to CBID on the premise that it provides better solutions to the current development problems facing persons with disabilities globally, which echoed during the 6th Africa Conference took place in Lusaka, Zambia in 2018. Yet concerns were also raised as most African countries still struggle with high levels of discrimination, negative attitudes, high poverty levels, poor infrastructure, and poor policy formulation and implementation. As one CRR worker from Cameroon noted that whereas the paradigm shift could be good, but “for (African countries) the terrain is still bumpy, which cannot allow us embrace CBID fully. If we move at the same pace with them, we might end up losing out.” The observation calls for further deliberation and policy innovation to address this challenge in Africa, and more broadly in developing countries around the world. To learn more about the work of CBR Africa Network (CAN), please visit : http://afri-can.org/

Are you an SDG Changemaker? Share your good practices!

Three years into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, governments, UN entities and civil society organizations around the world are taking unprecedented steps to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build a better world for all. To help stakeholders working toward the SDGs, UN has launched a call for submissions of good practices, success stories and lessons learned in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Submissions can be made now through 28 February 2019 through UN’s web-based portal. All are encouraged to follow the template to the extent possible. Please find more information in all of the six UN languages here. Have a question? Please email DSDG@un.org.

RI Global: Mark Your Calendar

1 February 2019, New York, U.S.A., United Nations 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women Multi-Stakeholder Forum

The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) will be held from 11 to 22 March 2019. The Commission will address as its priority theme “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”. Prior to the current session, a multi-stakeholder forum will be held on 1 February 2019 at the UN Headquarters, with the participation from Member States, the UN system as well as representatives from civil society and women’s organizations to sharing a range of perspectives. It is expected to contribute to the preparation for CSW63 in March.

11-21 February 2019, New York, U.S.A., United Nations 57th Session of the Commission for Social Development

The fifty-seventh session of the Commission for Social Development (CScoD 57) will take place from 11 to 21 February at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The priority theme of the session is “Addressing inequalities and challenges to social inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection policies”.  For the programme of the CSocD57, please visit: https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/united-nations-commission-for-social-development-csocd-social-policy-and-development-division/csocd57.html

7 March 2019, Brussel, Belgium, European Conference for Socio Professional Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation International (RI), the European Platform for Rehabilitation (EPR) and the Belgian National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (NIHDI) will host the European Conference for Socio Professional Rehabilitation on 7 March 2019 in Brussel, Belgium.  The organizers of the Conference now welcome interested experts, scholars and persons with disabilities submit abstracts of their research by 1 February 2019.  For registration of the conference, please email to: secr-uitk-dirgen@riziv.fgov.be

26-28 June 2019, Macau, RI Asia and Pacific Regional Conference 2019

Under the theme  “ Together, leaving no one behind, in disability inclusive and rights-based progress” the 2018 RI Asia and Pacific Regional Conference will organize plenary sessions focused on key issues including disability inclusive disaster risk reduction and post disaster rehabilitation, gender and disabilities, education, work, employment and social enterprise, and accessibility as well as international frameworks such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Incheon Strategy adopted for  the Asia and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities and  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For registration , please submit at: https://www.rimacau2019.org/registration-request/ (Deadline for abstract submission is 28 February 2019).

7-11 October 2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, The 7th Africa Forum on Visual Impairment

“Achieving the SDGs through innovation, access, and lifelong learning”, the 7th Africa Forum will be held from 7-11 October 2019 in Addis Ababa. The Conference is open to individuals and agencies with an interest in blindness in Africa. The five-day programme will engage participants from diverse backgrounds across the globe to exchange ideas and products or the advancement of the well-beings of blind people in Africa. For registration of the Conference please visit: https://www.perkins.org/get-involved/events/africa-forum

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