RI Global From the Field: CoSP9 Civil Society Forum — PwDs Need Viewing as “Equal Partners” in SDG Action

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RI Global: Office of Communications

Contact: Adrian Brune, +1 347-759-9501

Last September, the United Nations posed a directive to the world and international NGOs: 13 Sustainable Development Goals to improve life for billions of people. Yesterday, a group of disability activists, strategists and leaders, including RI Global, sat together to figure out the “how” of implementing them.

At the annual Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Civil Society Forum, participants focused on the ways in which persons with disabilities and their representative organizations should be involved in the ensuring the SDGs are met by 2030. Out of the 169 targets across the 17 goals, seven have explicit reference to persons with disabilities.


“We have the what, but now we need the how,” said Priscille Geiser of the International Disability and Development Consortium. “We need to build the critical mass in the regions, learn from the gender movements, and bridge disabilities form all constituencies.

“The disability movement has been lacking an overarching theme; sometimes there’s a feeling that we don’t connect the dots.”

Among other things, the panel of speakers recommended learning from other global campaigns, such as UN Women, as well as viewing people with disabilities as equal partners at the UN table — both as beneficiaries and enablers — to move the agenda forward. Speakers also encouraged the active recruiting of youth, who have benefitted from technological knowledge, and looking at various “intersectionalities” to create alliances.

“The opportunities are now here; we have reshaped the space and now we need to figure out how to take up the space and meaningfully participate,” said Setareki Macanawai of the Pacific Disability Forum, a RI Global International Member Organization. “We come to the table as an equal partner; we need to see ourselves as equal partner in a partnership.

“We need to see ourselves beyond the disability state.”

RI Global President Jan Monsbakken and Treasurer Susan Parker both attended the event and delivered statements to the Civil Society Forum. Monsbakken questioned the panel on best protecting women with disabilities, while Parker asked for practical suggestions on bridging activism further than the five regions of the CRPD’s original focus.

J. Mons Panel 2

The panel opened with addresses from H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly and H.E. Oh Joon, Chair, Conference of States Parties Bureau and President of ECOSOC. Oh and Lykketoft concurred that bringing persons with disabilities explicitly into mainstream development discourse would not only benefit the UN, but also enable the world to realize that there is immense untapped potential to transform the world into a better place.

S. Parker Screen

The COSP officially opened today, 14 June with a high-level forum on the CRPD. Updates to follow.

As a commemoration of its 23rd World Congress and ninety-fourth anniversary, Monsbakken will present a Presidential Plaque to Ambassador Oh of the Permanent Representative of the Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, in appreciation of his exemplary dedication to disability and rehabilitation. The award ceremony will take place at the Trustee Council Chamber of the United Nations at 6pm on 14 October.


RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network promoting the rights and inclusions of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world in which all people can enjoy full human rights.

Join us at the 2016 RI Global World Congress: riworldcongress.com